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Mind Over Matter In Property Valuations

Hasmi & Associates was established in 1988 in Sarawak, with the company practising property consultancy and valuation. The company was restructured in 1991 and renamed HASB Consultants Group (HASB) in 1995. HASB Consultants (Selangor) Sdn Bhd’s Director, Sr Victor Huang who hails from Land of the Hornbills, Sarawak says he started his career in 2000  after completing a Degree in Estate Management from the University of Greenwich, the UK.

Having served for five years with HASB, Huang now oversees the valuation, estate agency business and property management for the firm’s clients as well as the corporate sector.

The actual reason behind his chosen career Huang says jokingly was the fact that he did not get accepted into law school. Hence, Huang is always looking out to offer better and personalised services while concentrating on addressing clients’ needs.

He was with Henry Butcher Malaysia Sdn Bhd in Subang Jaya initially and thereafter joined DTZ Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd in 2010. Before landing himself with the HASB Group in 2013, he was with Complete Real Estate & Management Sdn Bhd.

ABOUT HASB

HASB Selangor started out with a few employees and a registered Estate Agent cum Valuer in the early years.

Currently, he has a staff strength of 20 people to carry out the demands of dealing with the valuation, real estate agency business and property management surveying practises.

Negotiators have the edge as they can fall back on the valuation department to assist them in closing deals by providing the market value of the said properties.

In terms of valuation, they are guided by the Malaysian Valuation Standards (MVS) from The Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (The Board) under the purview of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) Malaysia. Valuers should adhere to the MVS, circulars and practice notes from the Board. Valuation is applicable to various purposes related to loan financing, land acquisitions, inheritance matters, insurance, financial reporting and so on.

The comparison method is the most common methodology in valuations while the MVS allows the use of the Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPA), option, with offers and bids to be used as evidence of values besides data provided by the Valuation & Property Services Department (JPPH) which is also under the purview of MOF.

He says a sound knowledge of current market situations coupled with patience will result in responsible and sound advice to clients.

“Drawing on experience and business instincts provide Valuers with the necessary intuition to ensure advice given are sound and professional,” says Huang.

Valuers are generally advised to have a small estate agency team to gauge the market’s movement besides relying on available data from the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC) and in-house data. The Board has also provided  the Malaysian Estate Agency Standards (MEAS) to guide Estate Agents on the estate agency practise.

“Parliament has also recently approved for Property Managers to be parked under one act of governance, which will see the Valuers, Appraisers & Estate Agents Act 1981 (Act 242) being renamed to the Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act 1981,” adds Huang.

Prior to this, the Board had introduced the Malaysia Property Management Standards (MPMS) in 2010 to guide Property Managers in their day-to-day duties.

Huang says Property Managers conduct periodical inspections of buildings and ensure the properties are in satisfactory condition besides supervising Contractors, obtaining and vetting quotations as well as securing the services of relevant professionals for repair methods or the construction of new structures.

Structural defects in buildings can occur over time due to soil settlement, deterioration, wear and tear, overloading and poor maintenance. Hence, periodical inspection is the way forward to ensure a building is safe for occupation.

Basically, valuation, estate agency and property management complement each other in many ways, i.e. good property management practice will enhance the value of a property as both Valuers and Estate Agents rely on transacted data and sale offers to advice clients, etc. 

RESOLVING CHALLENGES

“Valuation is a combination of art and science, where science is the analysis of relevant facts while art is skewered towards empirical studies.

“Science can be taught but art is learned over time. For an estate agency, one has to have added innovative, marketing and negotiating skills for closing deals. Property managers need to know how to tackle related challenges such as Landlords, Joint Management Bodies (JMBs), Management Corporations (MCs), maintenance issues and financial issues as well as having to know various local by-laws, state enactments and Acts of Parliament such as the Strata Management Act 2013, Uniformed Building By-laws, Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974, etc.

He recalls the first three years when the country was going through changes in property taxation whereby the new Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) saw new rates in 2014 as well as the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2015 for commercial properties besides a host of other goods and services, hence, the challenges were felt at the peak.

Huang plans his work whereby he solves issues in a timely manner.

His company conducts trainings and meetings to highlight related issues for improvement. Huang, who is also responsible for establishing the Kajang office, attends to inter-branch meetings often, to discuss the changes in Acts, practices or regulations and so on.

“I plan my time and ensure proper delegations are made as I also have my duties as a Committee Member of the Property Management, Valuation & Estate Agency Surveying (PMVS) Division of the Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM),” adds Huang. 

SURGING AHEAD

Huang has no qualms for the branch to surge forward with plans drawn up for the next five years already in place. He says that all staff in the professional advisory line must be well-equipped and well-versed with the rules, regulations and related Acts.

For an estate agency, one needs around four to five years to be a licence holder and be accepted as a professional in the field. This estimate is basically based on the fastest way to be a registered Estate Agent which is via undergoing a Diploma course and the Test of Professional Competence (TPC) conducted by the Board. “Also in the plans is the need to have small cluster teams for the estate agency, with each team headed by a team lead who is possibly a Senior Negotiator or a probationary Estate Agent. As one registered Estate Agent can have 20 quality Negotiators and can apply to have a maximum of 30, our plan is to achieve this staff strength,” asserts Huang.

The company is currently managing several condominiums and warehouses under its property management practice.

Huang says that a young purchaser needs to have sound information on any property buy. If the purchaser is a new graduate, he should be able to own a property for stay or investment  after working for a few years. They need to plan their budget before they are able to obtain loan approval.

Huang adds that a new graduate might need to have credit cards or car loans, so that there is a track record of payments in order for them to have better chance of getting property loan approvals.

Government’s initiatives to build  Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems in the city centres he says will accessibility which will in turn improve property prices.

In conclusion, Huang feels that the property market would be better in the year 2018 based on his observations, provided there are no changes to current Government policies and regulations.

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