The most exciting day for homebuyers would be when they get the keys to their new home. For owners of units in Bukit Kiara Properties’ (BKP) Viva — one of the four towers in the Verve Suites development in Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur — that day is getting closer, with the developer just waiting for a few more approvals from the authorities.

In the meantime, BKP is ensuring that the investments of its customers are well taken care of — at no extra cost to them. Among other things, it is offering itself as the go-between for real estate agents and property owners who want to lease out their units.

On top of that, BKP spent RM500,000 on a cinema advertisement project to inform potential tenants of what’s available at the Verve Suites.

It’s all about the customers
People do not usually associate property developers with the silver screen but that changed in August when a BKP advertisement was screened at the premiere of the movie G.I. Joe. The engaging ad, with lovely images of Viva tower, showed what life would be like at the new lifestyle development.

A survey of 230 owners of units in Viva revealed that most of them plan to rent out the homes, BKP’s group managing director N K Tong tells City & Country. The cinema ad project was thus produced to draw the attention and interest of prospective tenants to Viva.

Besides the advertisement, BKP has been organising meetings between customers and Property Link, the sole real estate agency appointed by the developer. Meetings are held in small groups of less than five to discuss leasing and other matters related to units and tenancies. BKP marketing personnel are involved throughout the process and all costs are borne by BKP.

“Customer feedback shows that they appreciate BKP’s efforts. Everyone is confident as they know what the scheme of things is. The agents, on their end, give a decent rate and keep the rates realistic,” Tong says.

Vincent Lim, BKP chief operating officer, shares that the attention given to after-sales and customer service has raised BKP to a unique position where it is known to sell a lifestyle and not just property. “In this instance, spending half a million ringgit on a cinema ad project at this time to bring awareness; to help with the rental; to help with resale, is our commitment to customers,” he adds.

Estimated rents for the 600 sq ft, 1-bedroom units are between RM2,000 and RM2,500. Rents for the 900 sq ft, 2-bedroom units start from RM3,000. Rental yields are anticipated to be 9% per annum.
Viva units were launched in 2006 at between RM325,000 and RM790,000.

New payment scheme
The Verve Suites sit on just under six acres of freehold land and each tower has hip names: Viva, Vibe, Vogue and Vox. Vibe, the second tower, is sold out while 70% of the 255 units in the third tower, Vogue, have been taken up.

The last tower, Vox, is to be launched next year. “But this is dependent on market conditions and the take-up of the remaining units,” Tong says.

Vibe was launched in April 2007 while Vogue was unveiled this June. The gross development value of Verve Suites is RM530 million.

At Vogue, all the 432 sq ft, 1-bedroom units have been sold. The units that are available are the 932 sq ft, 2-bedroom apartments with prices ranging from RM800,000 to RM950,000. All units come fully furnished.
Previously, BKP had in place a 10/90 financing scheme, where buyers pay a 10% downpayment and start servicing the loan upon the project’s completion. Since the end of July this year, the scheme has been changed to the One Payment Plan, where customers pay a 2.5% downpayment and take a loan of 92.5%, after making use of an upfront 5% rebate to offset their downpayment when signing the sale and purchase agreement. All interest payments during the construction period are borne by BKP. Customers only start servicing the loan upon the handover of the unit.

A unique aspect of this development, for those not familiar with the project, is the penthouse floors which have been converted into common areas. In Viva, the 35th floor is the Sky Lounge, which boasts a gym, a 12-seater thearette and games area with foosball and pool tables. The 36th floor is the Sky Terrace where the views will take your breath away.

The height also prevents pesky mosquitoes from sneaking in for a quick bite during barbecue dinners.
Vibe has the Hypercubes — a series of contemporary glass cubes housing a selection of recreational spaces, such as a kitchen equipped with Gaggenau appliances and a swimming pool. Vogue has The Gardens of Concentrico, named after the concentric circles of trees, offering open-air facilities with plenty of foliage. BKP is till toying with the concept for Vox.

Besides the towers, there will be a neighbourhood shopping area called Verve Shops, which will take up 60,000 sq ft and have a gross development value of roughly RM35 million. The area will not only provide daily conveniences like stores and specialist services, but it will also have a performance centre.

Where the sales and show rooms of the Verve Suites are located is where the shops will be. Tong says people are interested in setting up shop in the vicinity but there are no immediate plans to start construction just yet.

As the handover day for the first tower of the Verve Suites development draws nearer, BKP’s commitment to customer service and providing a lifestyle, not just a building, is attracting interest to the area, even in these sluggish times.


This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 772, Sep 14-20, 2009.