Symposium 1

WOE betide a property that is managed under the wrong hands. How well a property is managed can make or break the value of the property, and the owners are the ones, who with some help from the developer and the property manager, hold the key in ensuring the property is in good condition constantly.

The more than 550 people who turned up last Saturday (April 8) for Symposium on Property Management 2017 were there to gain greater understanding and insights on the importance of good property management and what it takes to have a successful one.

The half-day symposium themed “Is your investment a time bomb?” was organised by in partnership with Nippon Paint Malaysia and Panasonic Malaysia, and supported by The Edge Malaysia. The supporting sponsor was Gamuda Land.

Some participants came as early as 7.30am and a large crowd had quickly formed at the entrance to the hall at One World Hotel in Petaling Jaya. Doors opened around 9am and due to the overwhelming response, extra chairs had to be added, and by the time the first speaker took the rostrum, there was standing room only.

“World-class quality property management practices ‘must be the order of the day’, or it could translate into an investor’s nightmare,” said managing director and editor-in-chief Au Foong Yee in her welcome speech.

Symposium 2

Au said whether the value of a property climbs or nosedives in years to come is heavily reliant on the condition of the building notwithstanding the investment climate or property cycle.

The speakers at the symposium were Chur Associates founder and managing partner Chris Tan, Architect Centre accredited building inspector and trainer Anthony Lee Tee, DN Homeowners Bhd chairman Andy Khoo, Building Management Association Malaysia (BMAM) president Tan Sri Eddy Chen, Singapore Association of Property and Facility Managers (APFM) president Dr Lim Lan Yuan and Malaysian Institute of Professional Property Managers (MIPPM) president Sarkunan Subramaniam.

There was also a panel discussion entitled “An investor’s nightmare” which was moderated by Au with Chen, Lee and Sarkunan on the panel.

Undeniably, the foundation of a good property management also relies on the design of the building and the building material used during construction.

Chen from BMAM shared his thoughts on the importance of building design during his session titled “Is the devil in the building design?”

He noted that a well-designed building that incorporates energy-saving features is likely to incur less maintenance cost, hence, giving a value enhancement over the life of the building.

Symposium 3

Symposium 4

Lee from Architect Centre in his talk entitled “So, your building is safe. Really?” stressed that developers, property managers and owners should pay serious attention to safety issues of the buildings in which they live, work, study or perform leisure activities.

Speaking on the concerns of foreign investors, Singapore APFM’s Lim opined that safety and security are among specific considerations among foreign home investors due to absentee home ownership as the property owner is not there to look after the property himself or herself.

“Among the issues Singaporean investors weigh heavily before they invest would be the property management, especially in terms of security, as well as tenure, property type and size,” he shared during his session themed “In the eyes of a foreign investor”.

Owner is the boss

Although developers and property managers play important roles in ensuring the upkeep of properties, all the speakers concurred that property owners remain the main stakeholders who must decide the fate of their properties.

In his session entitled “Common myths about communal living: what’s legal and what’s not!” Tan from Chur Associates emphasised that owners are the boss in the property management process.

Symposium 5

Symposium 6

“Participation is the key. The more you participate, the more you can ensure the management is doing their job well. Just like a listed company, when the company is managed well, the share prices will go up. So the power is in your hands, really!” he said. Participants also received free copies of Tan’s book Strata OMG (Owner’s Manual & Guidebook).

Sarkunan in his session entitled “The good, the bad and the ugly” agreed that one of the key things that property owners should do is to be proactive in the operation and maintenance of the property.

Besides that, he also noted that property owners should set realistic budgets for hiring property managers as it determines the quality of the property management they will get.

An amusing speaker who drew much laughter from the crowd was DN Homeowners’ Khoo who shared interesting anecdotes based on his experience as chairman of Duta Nusantara’s residents’ association which set up a company co-owned by the owners to structurally manage the common areas of the non-strata housing development.

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Symposium 8

“In this case, every owner is the shareholder of the company. With a good structure, we are able to closely monitor the administration and make sure a high collection rate is achieved to maintain a high level of maintenance,” he said.

During the panel discussion entitled “An investor’s nightmare”, panel members Chen, Sarkunan and Lee agreed that service charge collection is a major factor of an effective management while reiterating that owners need to take an active role in management meetings and pay their service charges on time.

The event culminated with a lucky draw and several attendees went home with cash vouchers courtesy of Panasonic Malaysia and Nippon Paint Malaysia worth a total of RM7,500. Participants also took the opportunity to visit booths set up by, Gamuda Land, Nippon Paint Malaysia, Ho Chin Soon Research and The Edge Malaysia.

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‘Complicated’ is the word to describe property management

What is the first word that pops up in your head if you were asked to describe property management? Could it probably be “complicated”? Well that was the word the majority of participants at the Symposium on Property Management 2017 chose during a live poll during the event.

The question was: “In one word, what comes to mind when you think about property management?” The top three keywords that appeared were “complicated”, followed by “money” and “investment”. Other interesting keywords that came up included “chaos”, “people”, “participation”, “negotiation”, “headache” and “inefficient”.

As many as three live polls were conducted to find out the symposium participants’ views about property management.

One of the polls revealed that around one third of the participants were “neutral” when asked “How satisfied are you with the performance of your property manager?” Some 33% of those who participated in the survey chose “neutral” as their answer while 26% were “somewhat satisfied”. About 14% answered “somewhat dissatisfied”, while 17% were “disappointed” and another 10% were “delighted”.

Another poll question was: “What is the activity (in one word) that best engages the community?” And the result was truly Malaysian as “food” was the most popular word that came up, with other food-related words such as “BBQ”, “party”, “buffet”, “open house” and “potluck” forming the remaining responses. “Safety” and “gotong royong” were the other notable keywords.

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This story first appeared in pullout on April 14, 2017. Download pullout here for free.

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