From Abandoned/Auctioned House (Lelong House) Into Cash Machine

Have you been walking passed that same house – that gloomy, window broken, cracked door house for countless times and has never been occupied? You might think there is no hope at all to restore that property into good function – you might have to think twice!

Why are abandoned properties considered an amazing investment opportunities?

Simple, normally an abandoned property is sold below the market value! This gets even better if it is auctioned by the bank because it will be auctioned by higher margins below market value. Even though you might need to incur some costs to repair – hey, you got the house way the market value, meaning you are buying it cheaper than most people bought the same unit in the same neighbourhood. On a side note, “Lelong” is a term called by Malaysians as auctioned house.

According to Leslie Low, an auctioned specialist from Malaysia stated that an auctioned property would offer 30% to 40% below the market price based on The Star newspaper. Who would give you a property offer of 40% below market value? A decent newly launched terrace home these days costs RM 500,000. That means you’ll get an offer of RM 300,000 for the same property type – or even better.

How would you know if that property can make money?

Then you might ask, how do you buy a property that will make good investments? It’s simple! So long as it’s below market value, returns positive cashflows during rent, potential capital appreciation, within your usual place of hanging out or work, good neighbourhood and…. that area have a 5 year upgrading/expansion plan (check with your local developer) – then you are all set!

All the good signs are there already giving you the positive signals. Sometimes only that particular house looked all scary and dark but the other houses looked neat and tidy, that’s a sign of a good neighbourhood. Especially if it’s nearby public transport, malls, offices or any kind of public attraction. All these characteristics will definitely drive high population into that area making it having high demands for basic needs and wants – in our case it’s a roof over our heads. People would definitely need a place to stay.

How much money can an abandoned property make?

That actually depends on many factors. One of it is the marginal percentage below market price you are purchasing it. Let’s say you are buying a RM 500,000 worth of property at RM 300,000 during auction, you already have a capital appreciation gap of RM 200,000 there! Even though that capital appreciation will slowly catch up to the market value once the function of the house is fully recovered – hey, that means you are investing at a lower capital.

Wouldn’t it be great to invest a lower capital and have a high return? Everybody else is investing at higher price but still have a return approximately close to yours. Whose the winner? You are! But you still have to do your homework. You must know how much Return on Investments (ROI) that property makes, the future developments that area will undertake, who will be your target customers, and your overall costs short term as well as long term.

Not all properties can make great returns, what is a good property for you may not be the best property for another friend – always keep the foundations in mind. Have a read on 5 Traits of a good property to invest and get good rental to get general ideas on what is a good property to invest.

What is the best way to take advantage of the capital appreciation and low purchase price?

The magic word is “refinance” your house. The gap between market value (bank’s value of the said property) vs property purchase price = extra cash! There are two ways that I know of which is available in Malaysian and international banks – you can use term loans or an overdraft. Take an example of the same RM 500,000 property bought for RM 300,000 and after some time your property value had a capital appreciation to RM 700,000 because there is a new train station built in front of your neighborhood.  Then you decided to settle your loans fast and you apply “refinancing”.

The banks will reimburse you loans at the current market value of RM 700,000 – this will give you extra money to settle your old loan of RM 300,000 and on top of that, getting extra RM 400,000 (RM 700,000 – RM 300,000) that you can use to settle other outstanding loans (education or car) and you even use the extra money to invest in another property or open a new business!

But always bear in mind that the banks will always win. The amount of loans you get will need to be repaid on top of bank interest. Have a backup plan on how you will repay the bank loans before and after you utilized your loans. A good way to utilize your loans is to use it for matters that will improve your life financially such as settling outstanding loans (to avoid long term interest incur), start a profitable business, or to buy assets that can give positive cash flows in the future which outruns the bank loan installments itself. Good luck fellas!!

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