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2021 Home Buying, A Contactless and Digitalised Win!

The Beginning of a Home Buying Painful Journey

Are you looking for a home? This short story might be helping you in getting it right from the first step!

We were in the middle of 2019 when, a good friend of mine started looking for a place he could call home. This is a real-life story but, to respect the privacy of my friend, we will call our character Paul.

One day Paul called me up, was mid of June 2019, to ask me out for dinner, he said I’ll treat you as I need your help on something.

The Home Buying “Advising” Coffee Session

We saw each other in one of my favourites dining out places in KL after a couple of days and, as soon as were seated, he started asking questions on properties. I was really surprised; Paul never showed before a big interest on a possible home purchase! The discussion went on for a while and I did my very best to give him a general idea of things to be checked out when looking for a place to call home.

Location and accessibility first, then distance from working places, for both wife and him, the schools’ location for the kids, talking about both current and eventually future ones, maturity of the neighbourhood and all the important points in a home buying checklist. I also gave him few links for very interesting and highly educative articles from my good blogger friends Charles Tan and Ikhram Merican who have helped countless home buyers with their respective blogs.

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At the end, I explained to him that, for the next few weekends you should set a “search area” and start going around and physically visit the several development projects around there to find a home you like. 

The Actions Follow the Talk

By the end of August, he had visited more than 10 different locations and related sales galleries and, during a long conversation over the phone, he expressed to me his disappointment by saying; most developers really look at us, buyers, just as numbers. They do not really care much about us looking for a place we want to call home!

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There is not real interest in why we are looking for a home and there is not much professionalism, above all within agents. 

Property Developers Often Look at Us Buyers, as Numbers and Are Not Interested in What We Look For!

Plenty of information, on these homes, are given in a wrong way, explanations are always ending with a question, when will you be interested in placing a booking! Even worst, few developers’ sales galleries I’ve visited, once entered, no one greeted me or accompanied me in a guided tour of the show home, no explanation given till when, I started asking questions.

Sales Representatives, Too Often, Are Only Interested in Their Commission

Making a long story short, early September 2019, he told me, I think I put my decision to buy a home on hold for the moment. I need some time to digest all that I’ve found out and I want to understand better about housing loan and few more matters. 

October and November passed by, then Christmas and the New Year celebrations. I didn’t hear anything from Paul and, honestly, I was also busy with my own business and put this thought aside. February approached and I got ready, as many others, for my Chinese New Year celebrations and after that, business as usual.

The Lockdown, The New Normal and The Changed Property Buying Experience

Then, the world met Covid-19! It was March 18th 2020, when Malaysia, as many other countries around the world, understood the meaning behind the word lockdown! Painful, at the beginning at least, to find we were suddenly closed, or should I say jailed, at home and being allowed to go out only for the purchase of needed groceries!

The impact on all layers of the world economy resulted in devastating losses of jobs, GDP and, growth predictions started showing concerning negative trends. In Malaysia, all industries were affected and, one badly hit, was the, already suffering, property and construction. For several months all sales galleries were closed down and, even when allowed to re-open, their were subjected to strict SOPs on social distancing and maximum number of visitors at one time within the sales gallery.

Buying a Property Online and in a Contactless Manner

Towards the end of April 2020, out of nowhere, Paul text popped up in my phone. “I’ve got my home”, finally! Few minutes later he called me and explained what happened.

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During the first few days of the MCO, to kill the boredome, I’ve spent a lot of time online and, all of the sudden, I’ve typed in google the following question: “Property Digital Solutions Malaysia” to check what I could do, while at home, to keep searching in a more comfortable and simple way my dream home.

Home Buyers Attention! Always Start Your Online Search by Asking the Right Question

From the first search page I choose the first non-ad result, ProSales, and discovered a totally unexpected new world. This company is not targeting home buyers but proposing a fully digital solution for property developers. Impressed by the extent of their solution, going from interactive virtual experiences to virtual sales galleries and show-house with even a guided tour of the property and many more features I kept visiting their website till when I found out they were already serving plenty of developers in Malaysia!

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All this triggered my curiosity and, after checking again their list of clients in the website, I picked a couple of developers with suitable projects for me. As you may remember I did plenty of field research last year, so I knew which project was were and by which developer, pricing, type of homes and so on. 

A Digitalised Home Buying Journey Starts from the Property Digital Solution Provider!

Visiting those developers’ websites and falling in love with the easiness of surfing through them, the fantastic experiences that virtual reality and immersive experiences give, kept me online for several hours!

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I found amazing how, sitting in the comfort of my home I’ve been able to understand much better several of the projects I saw before, have much clearer idea of pros and cons of each one of them and finally seeing all the different features in a much clear way.

In the New Normal It Is Possible to Visit Several Sales Galleries From the Comfort of Your Home!

From Understanding to Choosing the Right Home and Finally Booking It

I start chatting with an online agent who guided me through the virtual tour of few units, showed me the actual views from the windows, explained in detail all the materials and specifications and much more. To my surprise, the agent kept me online for quite some time and towards the end directed me to a home loan screening link to check my eligibility before proceeding any further. 

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I was really delighted because, for the first time, I managed to get all my questions replied clearly and with plenty of information collected during the whole process allowing me, at the end, to base my decision on facts and data. 

Home Buyers Can Get All Their Questions Answered and a Great Online Support

Paul sounded really excited about this new thing and I let him keep on telling me about his tech, or better PropTech adventure!

Loan Screening First, Choosing the Right Unit, Book It and Pay Online

He continued by telling me how fast the loan screening was done and how efficiently and safely all his personal data were collected during the entire home booking process! At the end, without even moving one single step outside his house, we were still in MCO 1.0, he managed to book his dream home, apply for the loan and get all documents signed in a totally contactless way. 

Online Process is Fully Digitalised, Smooth-less, Contactless and User-friendly

I didn’t realise I have been on the phone with Paul for quite some time and my wife start calling me for dinner. I closed the call with him saying, we talk more as I’m really interested to know more about it! He replied, I’ll call you again once all this lockdown will be over for a coffee session.

By the way I will get my new home in another few months as the project is already completed and waiting now for delivery of Vacant Possession!

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The Digital Journey Continues With the Delivery of Vacant Possession

Paul called me again in September from his new home! He, again in an excited way, explained how the whole process of delivery of vacant possession and defect checking was carried out. Few weeks before the actual keys handing over day, the developer asked me, he explained, to download an application called ProFix which will allow a totally contactless process avoiding annoying queue at the management office and the concerns about social distancing and all the SOPs of this pandemic!

As soon as I downloaded it, the system sent me an email with the logging in credentials and I could start the final step to take over my new home!

A Digitalised Application Which Saves Yours and Developer’s Time, Keeps you Safe and Is Simple to Use

Via email, the developer sent to me the set code for my digital door-lock, and with it, I went and check my dream home in a full contactless way.

Paul told me he managed to complete his new house defect checking in few hours and filed a full defects report online via the ProFix app. In few days, he said, I managed to check online the repair works status and, once everything was completed and I checked a second time with another physical visit, I finally moved into my new home! He ended his story by inviting me for dinner, as soon as it would be possible, as he’d like to show me his new home and the whole virtual process!

The New Fully Digitalised Property Buying Journey: A Big Gain to All Parties

This marks the end of this happy ending story but, as property passionate, let me summarise all the above in a simple table below for all our readers, being them property developers, agents or home buyers, to better understand the huge impact that technology has had on the property industry.

As property investor, I would rather choose my next property from a developer who has already embraced the digital transformation wave and is promoting his projects via a digitalised, contactless, and seamless manner. 

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I’ve been looking and analysing plenty of different digitalised solutions in the property ecosystem and one thing common to all of them that I’ve found is, transparency and trust of the information given is so much higher compared to the old way of communicating.

This makes the home buying decision-making process faster and much simpler for all purchasers while bringing the relationship between buyers and property developers to a totally new height. 

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To know more about all this you can google, as my friend Paul has done, Property Digital Solution or directly visit ProSales website and surf through it!

Besides the name, the whole story above is a true home buying experience brought to you in a bit of story-telling way, we would love to know your stories and digital experience to understand where and how we could improve home buyers’ experience in the property buying digitalised journey! 

Drop us a message here or leave a comment below.

About The Author

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The opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author, Dr Daniele Gambero.

Dr Gambero has been an expatriate to Malaysia from Italy, since 1998 and has more than 35 years of real estate experience. He is the co-founder and group CEO of REI Group of Companies, the Co-founder of Propenomy.com and the deputy president of the Malaysia Proptech Association.

In the past 10 years Daniele, as international and TEDX speaker, has engaged several hundreds thousand people talking about Property, Economy, Propenomy, Digital Marketing and Motivation. He is also a bestselling author and columnist on several magazines and main stream media. You can reach him directly through his LinkedIn page here

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