Thursday, May 01, 2008

Buying home during turbulent times (2): Ten mistakes to avoid



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Part 1: Buying home during turbulent times: Ten mistakes to avoid
Part 2: Buying home during turbulent times (2): Ten mistakes to avoid
Part 3: Buying home during turbulent times (3): Ten mistakes to avoid
Part 4: Buying home during turbulent times (4): Ten mistakes to avoid
Part 5: Buying home during turbulent times (5): Ten mistakes to avoid


Your position

2. Don't stretch to your financial limit

If your financial position is not strong, you are taking greater risk to buy a property during economy slowdown. By stretching to your limit of affordability, you left yourselves no buffer for unexpected adverse scenario, i.e. job loss, interest hike (until recently the central bank reaction to inflation pressure is to tighten monetary policy and increase interest rate) that lead to higher instalment.

We borrowed to our limit to buy our home in 1997. Asia financial crisis changed our view on risk for good. There is no solid ground in the stock market. Nothing is impossible, i.e. free fall of stock market index to 20% or less of original height. The company that I worked for was going through redundancy exercise. We lived through the period with financial fears knowing that just one of us losing our job we would have problem in repaying home loan. We learned, bit our teeth, went through the period safely and repaid the home loan in 7 years. I know I will never want to risk myself in such situation again.

3. Don't be a desperate buyer

Because if you are desperate buyer you cut yourselves from many money saving options, you can be "squeezed" by the seller, you left yourselves with little corner to turn away from a deal and get the best out of negotiation.

We were desperate buyer then because my wife refused to rent, I refused to move in to my in-laws house (lose face ;-) , and give her the power over me), and our earlier home purchase was delayed for about a year and was called off (not approved by local authorities due to developer own problem. Our deposit was refunded). The worst part is the seller agent knew our position.

This lead us to next section on negotiation.





Negotiation

4. Don't show it on your face.

If you like the property, don't show it on your face in front of the seller or his/her agent. If you are desperate to live at this place, don't show it on your face. Working in stock market industry, I used to think there is a fair market price blinking on the wall for anything. I thought mind game or pretensions is unnecessary for negotiation, as there must be a fair market price. I was wrong. The only fair market price in property is how desperate the seller want to sell and how desperate the buyer want this specific property.

We were naive, we wanted to let the seller know that we were genuine buyer and not just tires kicker. We revealed our "desperate" position. We discussed our true likeness or dis-likeness of specific property in front of her. When she brought us to a condominium, she saw the sparkles in our eyes. We did not hide our excitements. When negotiate, we could not reduce a single cent even in the midst of Asia financial crisis. Actually there was no reason for her to reduce the price. She knew how desperate we needed a place quickly, she knew how much we like the property.

We can always be friendly yet tightly guarding our position. Play your cards close to your chest.

Previous | Next

Part 1: Buying home during turbulent times: Ten mistakes to avoid
Part 2: Buying home during turbulent times (2): Ten mistakes to avoid
Part 3: Buying home during turbulent times (3): Ten mistakes to avoid
Part 4: Buying home during turbulent times (4): Ten mistakes to avoid
Part 5: Buying home during turbulent times (5): Ten mistakes to avoid