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What’s Next 2015?

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Theme? What’s Next 2015?
What? homefinder Property & Investment Exhibition
Where? Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
When? 23 to 25 january 2015
Look out for more on What’s Next 2015 at www.homefinder.com.my

By Ivan Tan, Shafiq Samsi

2015 marks the possible disposition of all things financially and investment related. On everyone’s lip is the burgeoning cost of living, ruthless elimination of subsidies and the intricacies of the impending GST. It seems as if Malaysia is thrown into the deep waters in a flash with no floats, a little hope but no visible ropes to pull us out from. Where do we go from here is on everyone’s mind and “What’s Next 2015?” is aptly chosen as the theme for the second homefinder Property and Investment Exhibition.

Join us for a peek into what’s in store in the coming Exhibition with Eddie Tan, Managing Director of TTien Media Group Sdn Bhd, publisher of homefinder and some of the distinguished speakers about where the market will lead us to in 2015.

homefinder: From the inaugural exhibition in August 2014 and now the second one in January 2015, it is certainly a short time between them. What are the reasons for holding this second Exhibition so soon?

Eddie Tan: The second edition of our exhibition is very much dependent on the results of our first event as we projected only 5,000 to 8,000 visitors. This was the number we presented to our exhibitors but the event ended up with more than 20,000 visitors in just two days. The visitorship was recorded by the security personnel at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre. But the question is where do these people come from despite the market situation?

I think the market is still in great demand for property. The good things that came out from here are that probably the exhibitors will be able to get consumers who are upgraders and those who are looking for a longer term investment for their own use and for their children. At the same time, developers are also becoming more creative in terms of their products where buyers were given more benefits than just property alone.

Our event is definitely not suitable for those who are looking to buy cheap products or looking for fast returns. At this season, we encourage investors to gather enough information before deciding to own one for whatever reasons they may have. Our role as homefinder is that we want to be a trusted and reliable source to help investors or buyers to make informed decisions be it through our event, magazine or online.

Looking at the demand for a reliable platform, we have decided to make the second event as soon as we can secure the space in January. It will be questions about “What’s Next in 2015?”, the answers of which are what we’re looking for.

Our event is more focused on the wellbeing of the rakyat first when it comes to buying a property. There are no one view fitting all and that’s why we are inviting like-minded speakers to share their piece from various angles for our consumers and industry players to analyze and thereafter educate us to make not the best, but the right decision.

Is this Exhibition similar or different from the first one?
This exhibition is different in terms of our speakers’ profile. Most of them are veterans. They are good at what they do not because they are in the right wave but because they have seen many cycles in the property market – the good, bad and worst. Being popular and getting more business for themselves is not really their primary aim but rather striking a balance into helping the market to be a better place for people to live in and invest is. We need input from these people to advise us in terms of the know-how and the seminar is specially designed to serve this purpose. There are lots of varieties in terms of products and it can be carried to other events as well but the difference here is you will be more informed and knowing how to ask the questions to arrive at the right decision. This is also to make sure you will be able to identify the right people to sell you the right product.

How do you foresee the results of this coming Exhibition given the first one was a roaring success?
We are very certain about the success of our coming event, not because homefinder has a large branding, but because we believe we didn’t disappoint anyone at our first event, or at least not that I know of. I have seen many smiling faces. Thus far, we have practiced what we preached and most of our exhibitors are repeat customers and I believe the buyers and investors can repeat as well.

What will be some of the distinguishing factors that would make this event more successful than the first one?
I don’t think this can be more successful than the previous one. I would say it can be equally successful in its own way as every event is unique, at a different time and location. If I have to pick the distinguishing factors, I would say we have gained more experience to help us smoothen the operation. Secondly, our brand is more popular than before we had our first event. Last and essentially, we under promised and over delivered in the first event, and this to be repeated by all means if necessary.

In terms of challenges for this second installment, can you share some with us?
The challenge was despite reporting the success of our first event, there were still many who didn’t have the urgency or hesitate to join our exhibition. In comparison, confidence from the consumers in homefinder is far greater than the industry players when it comes to our exhibition. Perhaps our readers, the consumers, have been reading homefinder magazine for about a decade now, so they have more experience with us via our magazine. In contrast, not many developers experienced a homefinder exhibition and also maybe because we are the new kid on the block. As all things, for things to grow, it always takes time.

How did you overcome them?
Never stop innovating, value adding, giving, trying, learning and growing.

Who is this Exhibition catered to?
For mid to long term investors such as those who buy for their retirement income, children’s education, children’s first home to hedge against inflation, among others.

Where do you see the market going in 2015?
No one is exempted from inflationary pressures and selling property is not going to be easy compared to the last few years.

For property developers, they will be very selective in terms of acquiring the right piece of land to make sure the location is strategically located with good accessibility. There will also be more in-depth training internally for standard operating procedures to enhance productivity with higher efficiency. Outsourcing their sales force to real estate agents is another and there will be more joint ventures in property development to leverage on each others’ resources as part of a risks, cost and profit management measure. Property developers will also be more selective in their marketing expenditure. These are the few of the many ways to manage a lower cost of operation and to keep the property price at affordable levels with a sustainable margin. Some developers have already discouraged bulk purchasers and not in favor of a speculative market as this is not good for their business in the long run.

Another area is upscaling the standard of practice and professionalism as well as investing more time to better understand about market demand and direction. Skewing towards a needs-based-selling than want-based-selling approach. Hence more time and effort will be spent in acquiring the knowledge and conducting in-depth analysis to create the right products. These shall be the signs of where property developers are heading and it translates to a better product for us the consumers.

In terms of GST, it will not affect much if property price remains steady or at the affordable levels.

What are some of the strategies to have in mind when venturing into property investment in 2015?
Understand what and why you are looking for what you are looking for. The purpose of buying is important and as such you’d need to do some research, homework and ask the right questions. Never buy based on emotions or because of your friends, the speakers or the media. Get your fundamentals right with collective information and get views from a few experts if you are not sure. Don’t rush and don’t over analyze too.

Invest within your means and have a sense of awareness in managing your cash flow. Good stuffs are not necessarily expensive and expensive stuffs not necessarily good. Sometimes buying a property at a low price may not be the right decision or buying a property at a high price may not be a wrong decision. If you buy something that serves its purpose then it doesn’t matter if the prices are low or high. So knowing what you are buying or investing and why is important.

In addition, make sure you know the background of the developer or at least know who is running the show besides the financial capability and its promotional benefits. Also find out who is the end financier because support from a good bank means the bank had done their due diligence.

Make sure too they understand your right as a purchaser. Preferably, get your own lawyer to explain before signing off as nothing is similarly standardized as all projects and companies interests can vary at different times.

What is your wish list for the Exhibition?
1. More than 30,000 visitors.
2. More than RM150 million in sales for the exhibitors.
3. Good memorable experience for all.
4. An eye opener to all.
5. More to gain in many ways.
6. Enjoyable and fun experience.
7. Great networking sessions.
8. Sharing of success stories.
9. Get more than what they are looking for.