Homes are cracking !


Homes cracking

PENGERANG: Dozens of residents who were relocated due to the development of the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) expressed disappointment over the poor workmanship of their new homes in Taman Bayu Damai.

They are upset that their houses, which are less than a year old, have already started cracking, with some wide enough for fingers to go through.

They blamed this on soil movement.

“The foundation for many of the houses have started to slip, causing huge holes to appear below our single-storey bungalow,” said retiree Lukiman Sastaro.

The 67-year-old, who moved from Sg Kapal, said his house was among the worst hit.

“I got over RM300,000 in compensation and used RM105,000 to buy this house. The rest went into renovations,” he said, adding that he was now having sleepless nights.

“Even my driveway sank by several centimetres,” said Lukiman.

Another resident, Sia Pek Im, 61, said she was worried about the safety of her two grandchildren after huge cracks appeared in her kitchen.

“But I have nowhere else to go,” she said.

Another, Hamidon Ahmad, said he, too, suspected that there was soil movement and that the developer had not carried out proper mitigation works before building the houses.

“I decided to carry out repair works on my own as I am worried for my family’s safety,” said the 56-year-old.

“Even my relatives’ home next door is affected. The relevant agencies should check if the houses have met the safety criteria before the Certificate of Fitness is issued,” he said, adding that the site used to be a swamp.

Kota Tinggi district officer Mohd Noorazam Osman confirmed that it was a geological problem due to earth movement.

“We are working with the state Economic Planning Unit (Upen), which is in charge of the project to remedy this,” he said.

“Residents’ safety is our main concern and houses that are badly damaged will be demolished,” he said, adding that it was up to Upen to decide what action should be taken against the developer or contractor.

State Upen director A. Rahim Nin said the Johor government had appointed a private contractor under the design-and-build concept for the 631 houses in the area.

“So far, 555 units have been given to residents who were relocated from Kg Sungai Kapal, Kampung Langkah Baik and Kampung Teluk Empang,” he said.

“We have directed the contractor to repair the defects – as based on our agreement with them. The defect liability period is two years,” he said, adding that 67% of the complaints had been addressed so far.

By Nelson Benjamin The Star/Asia News Network



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 House buyers, learn your rights



Who is responsible: developer, contractor, local council or house-owner for the damages?


Slope management

Who is responsible for slope management? Does the responsibility come with the property bought by the purchaser?
IJM_BJ Cove Side_20141112_154129


THE collapse of a slope deep in the jungle does not concern house-owners, nor do landslides along our highways or roads. They just cause a bit of inconvenience to road users.

The Government deploys men, machinery and money to get the road cleared as quickly as possible so traffic can flow again.

It is different with the slope, which is (usually) at the back of a house. The house-owner did not build it. It came when he bought the house, designed by the developer with the approval of the local council. Because it is in his compound – or because he will be affected by it in the event of a collapse – the house-owner is responsible.

But in reality, is it as simple as that? It is more than a matter of money, it may also involve lives.

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in collaboration with the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry organised a seminar some months ago. Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, adviser to SlopeWatch, a community-based organisation, highlighted his personal and distressing experience with the slope in his house compound. He needed to have it repaired and he was driven from pillar to post by government officers, the contractor was dilatory and the cost was high.

But who is responsible?

House-purchaser dilemma

When a house-purchaser takes his house from the developer, the latter does not certify that the slope is safe in terms of design, and “as built”, except that it is understood to have been approved.

Victim: “It had been built at the bottom of a nearly-vertical slope formed by excising the toe of a hill. Though he had no need for it, the developer would not sell the house without a part of the bottom of the slope; not only did it add to the cost of the house, it made him responsible for the upkeep of the slope.

As expected the slope collapsed, not once but twice. You see the rubble-wall collapsed with the soil when the pressure became too strong. This time, a strong wall was built together with weep holes to remove rain water that seeped into the soil so that it did not become too heavy. It held up for us but the same slope running into the neighbour’s side, collapsed.

“Are they lucky compared with the buyers of houses built on top of Bukit Setiawangsa, while they were at the bottom of the slope? The developer had apparently removed the earth from it to form the bed of the highway, the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (Duke). With the entire slope removed, the houses are perched precariously at the top, as the cliché goes, like a disaster waiting to happen.

So who is responsible? Is it the developer? Where will he be after six years or if available, will he argue that the purchaser bought the house fully aware of the risks? What are the rights of a subsequent owner? Does he has any recourse against the first owner? What about the local council and professionals who approved the slope – which to an untrained eye – seems to be an unsafe construction?”

House-owners are not only innocent victims of a developer’s recklessness or the developer’s appointed professionals, be it an architect or engineer.

They may also be liable through no fault of theirs because of the way developers have disturbed the lie of the land and left it in an unsafe state for the house–owner to take care of it.

The most enduring memory is the Highland Towers episode about 20 years ago, of which there is still no satisfactory closure. The disaster should have been a wake-up call on the process of approvals and accountability.

Only a draughtsman was convicted for the design of the drainage which caused water to flow un-channelled into the ground under the condominiums causing it to turn into mud which, of course, flowed against the piles causing them to move and knocking the building off its supports. The Ampang Municipal Council (MPAJ), which approved the diversion of the drainage, was excused because of the statutory immunity it enjoyed under the law.

So, should it be more careful and conscientious? Have we not learned the right lessons from it?

There are many questions for which there are no answers.

Slope management – overcoming challenges

The question with regard to slope management brings to mind a slope management seminar held earlier this year which attracted about 400 participants. The speakers held top posts in the Public Works Department, Urban WellBeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, SlopeWatch, head of hillslope development in MPAJ and geotechnical engineer Datuk Dr Gue See Sew. Participants attentively asked the panelists pertinent questions.

As we forge ahead, we ask ourselves, have we done enough? If not, what can we do more? What are some of the issues and challenges we are facing as residents, owners, consultants, planners, financiers and enforcers of the guidelines, managers of slopes and public safety?

And whose responsibility is it anyway? There were proposals, suggestions and recommendations for an action plan that will be adopted for its intended implementation. Some were for immediate application, while some were medium and long term in nature. Unanimous resolutions were made at the end of the seminar.

Resolutions

Some of the pertinent resolutions were:

> Improve and simplify the current guidelines on hill-site development with safety enhancement.

> Increase awareness of contractors on good slope construction practices

> Strengthen the enforcement of authorities to penalise errant slope owners

> Review the planning policies and determine the height and density of buildings to blend with the environment

> To immediately do an inventory and to gazette all remaining hill-slopes, including those that are still on state land under the Land Conservation Act, National Land Code and the Town and Country Planning Act.

> Review slope-related designs not only confined within the boundaries of the project, but within the surrounding areas.

> Make it compulsory under the law for a geotechnical accredited checker, as an independent checker, to check and verify that slope design and construction are safe and done to the best engineering practices.

> Major earthworks and slope strengthening need to be done first before construction of any buildings and structures in the development takes place

> Local authorities to collaborate with community monitoring groups (to be the eyes and ears)

> To make it compulsory for slope owners to appoint professional engineers to inspect slopes on a regular basis on high-risk slopes and to rectify any defects for slopes of certain categories

> New engineered slopes to have a maintenance schedule and manual, including drainage systems. Old slopes, in particular, should be under a maintenance programme by the local authorities

> Introduce a fund to cover long-term infrastructure maintenance of certain slopes that require high maintenance and are handed over to local authorities

But the most important of them is to set up a centralised body to support the 154 local authorities on new hillside developments. It should be modelled after the geotechnical engineering office in Hong Kong.

The Government and public will be hearing more of this proposed “centralised body” in due course from the Expert Standing Committee on Slope Safety initiated under CIDB.

HBA

By CHANG KIM LOONG – Buyers Beware The Star Nov 15 2014

Chang Kim Loong is the honorary secretary-general of the National House Buyers Association.

I RECENTLY moved into our new house in Sungai Ramal Dalam. I bought the property back in 2012 and we received the vacant possession in J…

Money, money, money … Love of money is the root of all evil !


Lets not use Money as an all-powerful weapon to buy people

ONE can safely assume that the subject of money would be of interest to almost all and sundry. ABBA, the Swedish group, sang about it. Hong Kong’s canto pop king, Samuel Hui made a killing singing about it. Donna Summers, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Rick James and quite a few more, all did their versions of it.

Is money all that matters? The ‘be all and end all’ of life?

This will certainly be a fiercely-debated subject by people from both sides of the divide; the haves and have nots.

Just last week, my 12-year-old asked if the proverb Money is the root of all evil is true. Naturally, like most kids of his generation, he would not have a clue as to how difficult it is for money to come about. Or why, when it does come about, it has the power to make and break a person. To a Gen-Z kid, the concept of having to ‘earn’ money is somewhat alien. Simply because everything he ever needs and beyond is ‘magically’ provided for.

Forget about teaching this generation to earn their keeps, just expecting them to pick up after themselves is a herculean ask. But we are not here to talk about that, instead, is money really the root of all evil? Perhaps, the proper answer would be ‘the love of money is’.

Let’s see what sort of evil comes with this love of money. Top of mind would be corruption, covetousness, cheating, even murder, just to name a few. These, of course, are of the extreme.

What about at the workplace? How does the love of money or rather the lure of money affect the employment market? Let me take on a profession closer to my heart, the advertising industry. Annually, our varsities and colleges churn out thousands of mass communication and advertising grads. Of these, only a handful would venture into the industry. Where have all the others gone?

A quick check with fellow agency heads reveals that many have opted to go into the financial sectors as the starting packages are somehow always miraculously higher than those offered by advertising agencies. A classic case of money at work. For those who have actually joined the ad industry, some get pinched after a while because of a better offer of … money, and more. (As if this is not bad enough, the “pinchers” are often not only from within the industry but are clients!)

The fact is there is absolutely nothing wrong in working towards being the top of one’s profession and getting appropriately remunerated for it. The problem starts when money is used as the all-powerful weapon to ‘buy’ people. Premium ringgit is often paid to acquire many of these hires, some of whom, unfortunately, are still a little wet behind the ears. Paying big bucks for talent is all right, as long as the money commensurate with the ability and experience of the person.

Case in point is if an individual is qualified only as a junior executive with his current employer, should he then be offered the job as a manager and paid twice the last drawn salary? All because some of us are just so short on resources.

Now, hypothetically, if this person was offered the managerial post anyway, would he be able to manage the portfolio and deliver what is expected of him? Would he, for instance, ask what he needs to bring to the table? After all, he has suddenly become the client service director and draws a salary of RM20k a month. Does he actually need to bring more new businesses, or what? We can call ourselves all sorts of fancy titles but the point is we have got to earn it. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Having served on the advertising association council for the past nine years and presiding over it the last two, it concerns me greatly to see the how money is affecting and somewhat thinning the line of qualified successors to the present heads.

The lack of new talents coming into the ad business is increasingly worrisome. Though it may look a seemingly distant issue to most clients, they must now take heed. The agencies are business partners and if there is going to be a dearth of talents it will surely affect the clients’ business in the near future. So rather than pinching the rare good ones from the agencies, would it then not be in the clients’ best interest to instead remunerate the agencies so to secure better and higher standards of expertise? Food for thought, eh?

Pardon me for being old school. I am a firm advocate of the saying that one should not chase money. First learn to be at the top of your trade and money will chase you. Then again, we are now dealing with and learning how to manage the present generation. A generation of young, smart, fearless, and somewhat impatient lot who may not be as loyal as their predecessors. A generation that loves life and crave excitement. Adventure is in their blood and ‘conforming’ is a bad word. And money, lots of it, makes the world go faster for them.

As elders, we need to look hard and deep into how to inculcate the right value of money in this new generation. These are our children. They are the future. If we make no attempt to set this right and instead keep on condoning the practice of over-remunerating them, we will be in trouble. The fact that Malaysia will soon have to compete in the free-trade region further allows money to flex its muscles more. I shudder to think what would happen to our young ones if we keep on mollycoddling them with the wrong idea that they ought to be highly paid just for breathing.

Folks, my sincere apologies if I have inadvertently touched some tender nerves but a wake-up call this has to be. For our dear clients, think about the proposition to review your agency’s remunerations – upwards I mean. This, over taking people from the industry, will save you more in the long run.

For those of us in the agencies, let us keep polishing up our skills and not let money be the sole motivator. If you are good, others will take notice. Work hard, the rewards will come. Just exercise some patience.

I leave you with a saying that one Mr Jaspal Singh said to me when I was a rookie advertising sales rep with The Star eons ago: “Man make money, money does NOT make a man”. (Or woman, of course.)

Till the next time, a very Happy Deepavali to all.

God bless!

By Datuk Johnny Mun, who has been an advertising practitioner for over 30 years, is president of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents. He is also CEO of Krakatua ICOM, a local ad agency.

Burglar-proof your home


House_Burglar-proof
Fending off thieves need not be expensive

PROTECTING a home from break-ins is high up on everyone’s priority list.

But fending off burglars and thieves doesn’t always require one to buy expensive security systems, or plonking down cash to turn houses into impenetrable forts.

The following are some simple, inexpensive ways to burglar or theft-proof your house against unwanted intruders.

Reinforce the doors and locks

According to the The Telegraph’s “How to burglar-proof your home – tips from an ex-thief,” a shabby-looking door is an open invitation for thieves.

“If your front door looks tatty, or if it only has one cylinder lock instead of a cylinder lock plus deadlock, it will catch a thief’s eye.

Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate points out that thieves generally prefer to use the front door.

“Creeping out a window is hard, and it’s far more difficult when carting out a load of loot. Thieves typically test a house by first ringing the bell to ensure no one’s home, then trying the door handle and perhaps putting a shoulder to the door to see how solid and how firmly attached it is.

“To enter, the usual tool is a pry bar or a strong kick of the boot. Sadly, many doors fly open easily.”

Reinforcing your front entrance with a steel gate is a popular and common option to protect your front door.

Secure the perimeter

According to the Malaysian Department of Statistics, the bulk of burglaries tend to take place in the night rather than in the day. According to its Crime Index for the year 2009, a total of 27,060 burglaries took place in the night compared with 11,396 burglaries in the day.

This clearly justifies the need to reinforce the security around your home.

“Replacing porch lights and other outdoor lights with motion-sensor lights is cheap and easy,” writes Lewis.

With the bulk of burglaries taking place in the night, it makes sense to “light up the house,” says ABCNews.

“Scare off those burglars with motion-sensor lights. Look for ones with adjustable sensitivity to avoid getting a false alarm from things like tree branches rustling. And keep the outside of your home illuminated an all sides using energy-efficient compact fluorescent,” it says.

Buying a good alarm system is also a viable option – provided it doesn’t cost you a bomb. Lewis says many people spend thousands of dollars buying, leasing and installing electronic alarms, and then sign contracts requiring them to shell out thousands more to a company that monitors the alarm.

“A 30-second alarm blast should scare away intruders. Also, newer alarms can be programmed to do what monitoring companies do first anyway: phone you (or text you) when the alarm has been tripped.”

Make the house seem “lived in

Even if you’re not home (be it out at work or away on vacation), don’t give the impression that there’s no one at home.

“Make sure you don’t give obvious clues that you’re not home. Turn down the telephone ringer, so burglars won’t hear you aren’t there. Make the house seem like someone is home with lamps or a radio on a timer,” says ABCNews. “(Also) don’t leave mail piled up in the mailbox if you’re away. Again, you’re telling the thieves what’s going on, that you’re not home,” it says, adding that if you do go away on vacation, “don’t blab on Facebook when you’re leaving town.”

If you have newspapers delivered to your home, inform the vendor that you’ll be away, or get your neighbour to remove them from your doorstep.

Says Lewis: “When you’re gone, don’t let stuff like newspapers, real-estate cards and pizza fliers accumulate in front of your door.

“Leave a vehicle in your carport or in front of the house if possible. Ask a neighbour or friend to help you out by parking there. Get friends to pick up newspapers, cut the grass, water plants, feed pets and open and close curtains, varying their routine to add a note of unpredictability if possible.”

 Get a dog

Owning a dog is an inexpensive and effective way to keep robbers at bay.

House_Burglar-proof_dog

ABCNews, in its article “5 Ways to Avoid a Break-In: Confessions of an Ex-Burglar,” speaks to a former convict that actually confirms this fact: “No burglar wants to deal with a dog and so won’t take the chance and probably will avoid the neighbors’ houses, too.”

Lewis, meanwhile, notes that while owning a dog may not make your property impregnable, it can, however, make the home less approachable.

“You don’t want a pooch? That’s okay. Post a “beware of dog” sign anyway.”Lewis cites Chris McGoey, a security expert and consultant who doesn’t have a dog, but owns a sign and makes a point of asking service people to wait before entering his property, so that he can “put the dog in the house.”

“The sign is cheap. It makes people think twice,” says McGoey.

By Eugene Mahalingam The Star/Asia News Network

Is having a car still a symbol of freedom?


HAPPY 2113! Rest assured there is no typo error on the intended year of the greeting. I am wishing everyone a Happy 2113 at the beginning of 2013, to invite you to an adventurous ride to see the world 100 years ahead.

Imagine yourself embarking on a flying public vehicle that can carry you almost anywhere without the hassle of traffic jams. Late and missed appointments will be a thing of the past.

With an effective and efficient public transportation system in place, using your own vehicle other than for leisure or emergencies would seem unnecessary.

Imagine that the highways, car lanes and open car parks that once filled the landscapes are now replaced with parks, pedestrian friendly streets, public halls, malls, cafés and restaurants.

Travelling far to enjoy a good meal or watch a movie at the cinema becomes a distant past.

With ample time at hand, you can even catch up with colleagues, friends or family members at these easily accessible and beautiful sites or if you prefer, indulge in your favourite sports such as jogging, cycling, etc.

Now, that is creating true work-life balance.

This scenario sounds like a fantasy but it may become a reality in 2113, a hundred years from now. A hundred years ago, the sky was the limit.

Today, outer space is the limit. With the advancement of technology nowadays, there is no limit to our imagination.

However, we do not need to wait a hundred years to enjoy such a lifestyle. We can have a city with a hassle-free public transportation system if we start planning and building it now.

Efforts must be made before we can move towards a world-class city where the citizens can travel freely despite the growing population.

To achieve this, one of the areas that everyone can contribute is to reduce the usage of private vehicles which is currently the main mode of transportation in our country.

Every year, we have more than 600,000 new vehicles joining the traffic league.

Imagine what will happen to our traffic condition 100 years later if this number keeps increasing?

The strong demand for cars is understandable as cars have long been associated with the symbol of freedom and independence. This symbol is further hyped in many movies such as the James Bond series and associated with many famous celebrities including James Dean.

Today, we are still embracing a vehicle-centric culture. Given a choice to pick between a self-owned vehicle or a self-owned property, the vehicle always gets the thumbs up especially for the younger generation. The young ones plan for the wheels they ride in but give less attention to the homes they live in.

Car_House

According to the 10th Malaysia Plan, our public transportation usage has only reached 12% in 2009. Our government aims to increase it to 30% by 2015. In other vibrant cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore, their public transportation modal shares are about 90% and 60% respectively. In terms of car ownership,

Malaysia has a ratio of 200 cars for every 1,000 people, compared with Hong Kong’s 59 cars per 1,000 residents, and Singapore’s 117 cars per 1,000 residents.

With the number of vehicles rising significantly in our country, there is little room left for a car to continue being a symbol of freedom as portrayed in James Dean’s movies. Where is the freedom in owning a car if it is common to have long queues on our roads and our car is caught in traffic congestion?

Even in America, where the population is traditionally obsessed with cars, the Frontier Group and US Public Interest Research Group found that, Americans between 16 and 34 years old have in fact drove 23% fewer miles in 2009 compared with 2001. Meanwhile, they increased bicycle riding by 24% and their mileage on public transport by 40%.

To effect these similar changes in our country, a comprehensive and efficient public transportation network must be provided. One of the notable efforts made is the the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.

The Sungai Buloh-Kajang line which is expected to be completed in 2017, is purportedly able to serve a population of 1.2 million people and attract 400,000 passengers per day.

The announcement on the alignments of Line 2 and Line 3 next year is a good move to transform our transportation landscape.

As we wait for the completion of the MRT networks, other alternatives such as providing more feeder buses and taxis, or extending the current number of our LRT coaches should be considered.

The 2113 scenario with all its sophistication and engaging living environment is a lifestyle worth pursuing. Best of all, we do not need to wait 100 years to enjoy this lifestyle if the public transportation projects can be expedited. It is done in many great cities, why not our own cities?

Today’s infrastructure is built for decades to come, it is meant to support the demand and growth of our future generation. A comprehensive public transportation system will be the answer to the challenges posed by a world class and people-oriented city. And the true symbol of freedom is captured when you are able to speed on an MRT which bypasses the cars stucked in the traffic below. ·

Food for thought  By DATUK ALAN TONG

FIABCI Asia-Pacific regional secretariat chairman Datuk Alan Tong has over 50 years of experience in property development. He is also the group chairman of Bukit Kiara Properties. For feedback, please email feedback@fiabci-asiapacific.com.

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Our cars are costing us our homes!

Mums top list of child abusers


KUALA LUMPUR: In a surprising finding, the highest number of child abusers turn out to be the hand that rocks the cradle the victim’s mother.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Heng Seai Kie said statistics from the past three years had revealed that most child abusers were parents themselves and in particular, mothers.

“Mothers make up 25.4% of perpetrators in child abuse cases while 18.9% are fathers.

“Together, parents comprise 44.3% of child abusers in incidents recorded nationwide last year,” she said in her speech at the third national conference of the Association of Registered Child Care Providers Malaysia here yesterday.

Heng said the third largest number of child abusers at 11% of the total number of cases were the lovers of teenage victims.

Children are defined by the ministry as those aged below 18.

Parents should learn to strike a balance between work and parental responsibilities, she said.

Heng also revealed that child abuse statistics from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were constantly above 50% of the total number of cases in the country.

On another matter, she said the ministry hoped to increase the percentage of children enrolled in child care centres from the current 4% to 25% by 2020.

“This is in line with the Government’s policy of encouraging the participation of women in the workforce.

“One of our objectives is to increase the number of women from the current 41% to at least 55% of the total workforce by 2015,” said Heng, adding that a major challenge facing women who wanted a career was their responsibility towards their children.

She added that to set up more child care centres, the Government had offered incentives to corporate bodies and government agencies to establish such facilities at the workplace.

Heng said a RM200,000 incentive was given to government agencies while private companies were offered a tax deduction of 10% from their annual income for 10 years by the Finance Ministry to set up child care centres.

Early Child Care and Education Council assistant treasurer Shamsinah Shariff said it would encourage housing developers to set aside land to build child care centres and kindergartens at residential areas.

By YUEN MEIKENG  meikeng@thestar.com.my 

How to get the best price of your property’s resale value?


Nobody likes to buy a home with something that requires big money to modify or repair

While the adage “location, location, location” is still considered the ideal gauge for your property’s resale value, there are other factors that can still play a part in helping you get the best price when you part ways with your home.

One of the things to consider is the upgrades or renovations that you may have made to the property. While making improvements to a home can be a good thing, there are some additions that can make or break your property’s resale value.

The following are some home upgrades that will dampen your property’s resale value.

Poor renovation

It’s one thing to make renovations to your home – and another thing when those upgrades requires further improvements!

“Nobody likes to buy a home with something that requires big money to modify or repair,” says property investor Kamarul Ariff.

He gives an example of a property he had purchased that had a “badly-renovated roof.”

“The roof obviously had some bad leaks in the past but the renovations were very poorly done by the former owner. Unfortunately, when people go to inspect property, not many check to see if the roofing is in good condition. After all, most homebuyers or investors check out a property when the weather is clear anyway.”

Kamarul recalls that after buying the property, it rained heavily – indoors!

“There were leaks everywhere! When I finally got an expert to check the roof, I discovered that there were badly done patches made to some holes on the roof, which only worsen the leaks.

“In my opinion, it’s better to spend a bit more money and get a good job done than to stinge and get poor workmanship. In the long run, nobody benefits.

“It’ll affect your resale value and the buyer who’s looking for his dream home ends up buying into a financial nightmare.”

P. Lalitha, a home-buyer, shares a similar sentiment.

“The apartment I bought had poor floor renovations in the bathroom. Of course, it was my neighbour who lived below that alerted me of this.”

Upon inspection by an expert, she discovered that the cement used by a previous owner for the flooring was of poor quality.

Renovations were not just done, they were badly done. So much so that it cost me a fortune to fix them. My advice for future home-buyers? Check every inch of your house. To home sellers, if you want to get the best resale value for your home, get your renovations done by an expert,” Lalitha says.

backyard swimming pool
backyard swimming pool (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Permanent upgrades

Some homeowners make upgrades to their property for personal gratification without taking into account the fact that they may need to sell it in the future. However, these renovations hardly do anything when it comes to resale value, nor do they make it easy to sell.

“Among them are fixtures such as swimming pools and wall modifications,” says KL Interior Design executive designer Robert Lee.

“Having a swimming pool can increase the price of a home, but it also comes with extra responsibilities that not everyone wants. If you’re a senior citizen and not the active sort, you’d probably need to hire someone to clean and maintain the pool you’d probably never use.”

He also points out that major works done to a property’s structure, such as to its walls, can be hard to undo.

“There was this large family living in two adjacent terrace houses and they made a huge arch in the wall between the two houses. When it came to selling, they had a huge problem!

“They also wanted to sell off the house as soon as possible and refused to patch-up the wall.”

Other structural changes, like turning a three-bedroom apartment or house into a two rooms can also put a damper on resale value, says Lee.

“If you’re selling a two-bedroom apartment and your neighbour is selling a three-bedded one at the same price, which property do you think a buyer will you go for?”

Home-Deco Art Sdn Bhd director Rachel Tam says having a distinct paint job won’t affect a home’s potential resale value.

“Some people paint their homes in all kinds of colours, like a kindergarten,” she chuckles.

“But it won’t affect a property’s resale value. It’s not permanent and can be easily replaced. Besides, the first thing most homebuyers do is give it a new coat of paint anyway.

Unexpected outcome

Some upgrades can be so extreme that they no longer look like what they were initially set out to be.

“We knew of someone who bought a single-storey house for RM250,000 and spent about RM200,000 to build a second level. When he sold it, he only got RM300,000,” says Lee.

“Some renovations that place a property beyond its original architecture will not increase its resale value,” he adds.

Tam notes that some people turn their homes into an office or place to conduct business, which may or may not affect the property’s resale value.

“It depends on how extensive the renovations are. If you’re just converting one room into an office, then it’s fine, as the future owner won’t need to do much or anything at all to convert it back into an ordinary room.

“However, if you’re going to start raring animals or live stock there, which may include additional structures to contain them, then this could be a put-off for potential homebuyers who are looking for a basic place to live.”

By EUGENE MAHALINGAM eugenicz@thestar.com.my

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