Supply is far greater than demand. It's a tenants market today and for a long time more to come it appears. Next to almost every condominium stands a vacant site waiting for building approval, in the process of piling works or ongoing masonry works. Whatever the stage, the potential tenant will question the noise level, dust and traffic access. The owner on the other hand finds it hard to disagree when the apartment is not rented for those very reasons.
So it goes on. These days you are considered lucky if you can show your apartment to one or two potential tenants a week. This means you are in the preferred zone. I know of owners who have yet to have the first viewing since hand-over of keys six months ago. Sometimes extras are a bonus, but an extra car lot (at RM30,000 a shot) can also be a liability.
Meritz by night
If you hold on to your keys, rather than leave them with the agent, you get a chance to meet potential tenants. This is by no means a social event. Most clients are business-like, in a hurry to view the long list of properties selected by the agent during their lunch breaks or weekends. The single bachelor types usually know exactly what they want. To the Northern American client or those expatriates who have been exposed to that lifestyle, a dishwasher is the most essential requirement, as they seem to be helpless at a sink.
Poolside view by night
Couples come in all shades. Italians, Spanish, Eastern European have a simpler approach to life. They yearn for peace and quiet and foremost, a sunny pool. All else more than meets their expectations.
Mat Sallehs with Asian wives abound. You have the 'man of the house' who checks out the kitchen facilities, master bedroom and bathrooms himself and makes all the decisions. The softies are queen-controlled, if you know what I mean. Then you have the super queen-controllers who are arrogant, self-absorbed and rude to boot. Thank goodness its a two-way arrangement. The owner has the right to refuse too.
Real estate agents are a different kettle of fish. You have the silent drivers who merely drive their clients to and fro without offering any useful information to either party; the over enthusiastic agent who suggest that owners will turn cartwheels if requested; the over-familiar agent who takes a fancy to your stuff and then have the gall to ask the owner if they could have it.
Eventually the tide turns.
You get a call from the Agent informing you of the good news that your apartment has finally been taken. Next comes the clincher.
"Are you sitting down"? asks the Agent Provocateur.
"Tenant wants: a baby cot (ok fair enough they have a 2 year old kid), 2 sets of bed sheets, kitchenware, crockery, cutlery, a DVD player, another TV for the master bedroom and Astro service."
"Oh yes, also to pay for monthly Astro rental and a part time maid service (twice a week; Tuesdays & Thursdays). BTW could you also throw in a mop and cleaning fluids & materials. That's all". I can imagine his smug smile "Gotcha!"
"Are you sure that's it? Do I have to feed them as well?" I quipped feeling relieved and dismayed all at the same time.
"No need lah. Heheh" chuckles the Agent.