While properties can make you a lot of money; they are often the source of many problems as well. Thousands of property investors have found this out the hard way. Instead of generating income, the property is generating them endless problems: tenants problems, vacancy problems, maintenance problems, broken promises by the developer and perhaps the worst problem of all, uncompleted and abandoned properties.
So yes, property investment is a tricky business. To be successful in it, there are numerous factors that one must consider. One obvious factor is the financial aspect: the price, down payment, financing, interest rate, etc.
Next, the physical factors: location, design, building materials, etc. The third factor involves the legal rights and obligations: titles, land status, caveats, etc. Now as if those are not enough, you must also take the non-financial aspects into consideration. This includes the neighborhood, nearby facilities, the direction of the property and even the feng shui of the property.
Now while some people may dismiss that last point as superstition or old wives tales, you should consider feng shui seriously if you want to make money from properties, particularly in Malaysia. Remember that while it may not be important to you, it is important to tens of thousands of other people — thanks to (or blame) Lilian Too and Joey Yap! And needless to say, you will be selling and renting the properties to other people.
So this month, I’d like to talk about feng shui and how it can help you make money from properties.
Feng shui can simply be translated as Wind-Water in English. It is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics that can be used to help improve life by receiving positive chi. Feng shui uses the laws of heaven (astronomy) and earth (geography).
While it has existed for thousands of years and practiced by the Chinese in Malaysia, feng shui was generally unknown to the rest of the population. The few who heard about it dismissed it as a Chinese custom or even superstition. However, the situation changed some 15 years ago when Lilian Too started publishing books on the subject.
The veil was lifted and, feng shui soon became a rage, even to non-Chinese.
Other feng shui masters, including Joey Yap, also started writing books on the subject while numerous feng shui shops opened to supply gadgets, trinkets and ornaments to a hungry public. So today, feng shui is mainstream.
How mainstream? Well for starters, I think every single developer in Malaysia today charges a premium for properties with good feng shui. These include those properties having the numbers 8 or 88 in their addresses.
Obviously I’m not an expert on feng shui (so please do not set an appointment to see me regarding the feng shui of your house!). However, I do know some of the basic things that people look for. Basically, you want to avoid properties that:
- Face a junction a Face a hill
- Near a hospital
- Near a rubbish dump (you don’t have to be a feng shui master to figure this one out).
- Near power lines
Now this is a very short list. If you want a more comprehensive list or accurate reading, hire a feng shui master. He should be able to advise you accordingly for a small (or large) fee. Alternatively, you can even do-it-yourself by referring to the many books on the subject.
Let me now share an interesting story that happened to me some years ago.
As my daughters were growing up, I needed a bigger place. So I went to view a few different housing projects around KL and Selangor. Finally, I found an interesting new place in Kota Damansara. The house design was good, the location was superb and the concept of it being a gated community made it better. I must admit that I was very interested in the project and actually chose a particular unit. The price of the house was RM750,000.
However, for some reason or another (I cannot remember why), I did not buy it immediately. A few weeks went by before I decided to buy it. So I went back to see the developer to buy the house. Unfortunately, the unit that I was eyeing was already taken up. Fortunately though, there was another unit available. In fact, it was the last unit left. So I decided to buy it. Now the design, lay out and size was exactly the same as the unit that I was eyeing earlier. In fact, everything was the same, except that this new unit was facing south.
The salesman told me the price of this unit was RM800,000.
`No sir, the price difference is not because of that.’
`Sir, this unit is facing south.’
`Ahh … this house is facing south. That means it is facing heaven — the source of warmth and all good things,’ he smiled warmly. ‘That’s why it’s priced higher.’
I leaned back slowly — half stunned in amazement. What can I say? In the end, I did end up buying the property though I must admit not being too happy about paying an extra RM50,000 for the same house. All because the house was facing south!
The story did end on a good note though. When the house was completed two years later, I received an offer for it. Though I bought it with the intention of staying there myself but as the offer was pretty good, I decided to accept it. So I sold the house for RM1.1 million and made a decent profit in the process.
So now I know the price of heaven — RM50,000!