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Eat first, buy later for house buyers
27/02/2009 NST Kongster

I WAS once hungry for a house, so hungry that I would rather miss breakfast and lunch just to queue up at a developer's office in Subang Jaya for many hours with a big crowd.

Those were the bad old days of the early 1990s when many people, carrying "tikar" (sleeping mats), camped overnight at offices of developers while waiting for a chance to book a house.

So I found it a big irony when the same developer had an "eat first, buy later" satay party for interested house buyers recently.

I decided to drop by. It was not because of the satay, but I just wanted to experience the joy of not having to queue up for a house.

And well, if any good bargains came along, I might just buy a house.

The theme of the advertisement, which appeared on Valentine's Day, was "Fall In Love All Over Again". Wow.

As I chewed on a stick of skewered mutton, I was muttering to myself: "I thought I would never see this day, satay party and then choose your house."

Bright spacious tents were erected amid a carnival-like atmosphere, music, MC and all.

No more queuing. The only queuing that I had to do, which I didn't mind, was for the satay, delicious nasi lemak rendang and mee goreng with prawns that were quite big.

Great food for thought.

I couldn't help but reflect on the irony of the situation as developers in the Klang Valley resort to all sorts of offers to draw house buyers these days.

Days before the event, I couldn't believe my eyes when the developer put up an advertisement in the newspapers which shouts: "Completed with CF, Ready to Move In, Zero Down Payment, Direct from Developer, Freehold, Free Legal fees, Free Transfer Title, and free voucher worth RM1,000."

And "No more queuing"... I would like to add to the ad.

I love that part of the advertisement which said "no down payment required".

In the bad old days, it was so hard just to come up with the down payment, which was 10 per cent of the house's selling price.

Many had to beg for loans from friends, borrow from their parents or raid their kid brothers' piggy bank just to come up with the money.

And at the other end, there were the profit-taking nouveau riche who bought houses like playing "Monopoly" as the Asian economy boomed. So, prices of houses shot through the roof, much to the dismay of poor fellows like me.

So, the not-so-well-off folks with their "tikar" were forced to compete with the well-off people who paid their maids or other people to queue up for houses at developer's price in places like Subang Jaya where you are assured the developer won't run away with your money.

Today, when times are bad, the bad old days are no more. If you have the money, it's a good time to look for a house at basement price.


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