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Bid smart
NST Property Times 30 October 2004 issue -By Lydia Gomez

When bidding at an auction, it is best that you conduct an inspection prior to buying the property you want.

Auctioneer Patrick Wong of Property Auction House Sdn Bhd gave this advice when asked of the dangers that might confront unsuspecting buyers of such units.

“When a person bids and wins at an auction, he might pick up a valuable asset below its market worth, but he might also end up with unwanted headaches,” he said.

Some problems, Wong pointed out, include unsettled debts or bills that may have been incurred by the previous owner.

“At the fall of the gavel, buyers usually also have to assume any liabilities attached to the property,” he said. “It is therefore important that background checks be conducted so buyers can be assured of getting the best value for their money.”

Wong, who has had more than 10 years experience in the field, also gave some tips on spotting good buys in an auction:

“Before deciding to bid, determine the amount you wish to spend.

“If you are looking at a specific property, do some homework. Have a look at similar units that are available within a 5km vicinity and find out what they are worth.

“Then, inspect the property before the auction date. Nothing beats a good look to determine its appeal.”

He pointed out that previews are sometimes conducted before an auction takes place and this is the time when thorough examinations can be made.

Another important point to note, Wong said, is that all salient details on the property being considered should be if found out before an auction, including its size and any fixtures it might have.

If the property has been foreclosed, the amount owning to the financial institution should also be uncovered.

“Buyers can’t rescind their deals and expect to get their deposits refunded on the pretext that they weren’t informed of certain aspects (of the property),” he said. “All caveats, leases, tenancy conditions and other restrictive orders become their responsibility.”

Wong suggested that buyers who are overwhelmed by the preparatory investigations could engage the services of a solicitor or valuer.

However, this wouldn't guarantee they will secure a property at an auction at the price they want.

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