City&Country: How to snag a good deal on the auction market

Landed auction homes, especially those in the city or urban areas, continue to see strong demand, says auctioneer Raj Yogan Pillai Raman Pillai Saapahim, managing director of J Thilagamraj Auctioneers Sdn Bhd.

He says the scarcity of land in Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding suburbs is fuelling demand for landed homes, especially terraced units.

“The take-up rate of landed homes has shot up — they have been selling like hot cakes everywhere,” says Raj, who believes that the demand will spill over into the outer regions of the Klang Valley with improvements being made to accessibility and public transport.

He advises those looking to buy properties on the auction market to “do your homework and always set a maximum bidding rate”. Doing one’s research and keeping a clear head during an auction is key to snagging a good deal, he adds. 

Raj has been in the auction business for 27 years, having founded J Thilagamraj Auctioneers in 1985. The company deals with real estate auctions in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Melaka, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan, and is based in Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields. 

According to Raj, many Malaysians are interested in property auctions. However, they lack the understanding and are wary of the procedures involved.

Raj is also president of the Auctioneers Association of Malaysia, which has about 1,500 members. He hopes to debunk the negative image associated with the word lelong and educate the public on how non-judicial auctions can be used as an alternative way to sell one’s house.

He believes the challenge for the industry is to deal with the public’s lack of understanding of auctions. “In time to come, auctioneers cannot depend solely on foreclosures to sustain the auction market,” he adds. 

Raj will be speaking at The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate 2012. His talk is titled “Bid & buy: Buying auction properties”, which will enlighten participants about the current trends in auction residential property, the risks and benefits of buying auction properties, tips for the new investor when buying auction properties and how to identify potential great buys.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 906, April 16-22, 2012

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