With a glut of condos in the City of Angels, landlords need to go back to the basics to avoid “void” or vacant periods.
Bangkok being an economic powerhouse of Southeast Asia, the City offers a variety of business and employment opportunities in a variety of industries from Banking, Manufacturing, Hospitality to even Tech. Positive economic factors, have over the years transformed the city into a truly cosmopolitan hub. This has in turn resulted in the development of a substantial expatriate community, who forms the bulk of the Rental Market in the Central Business District.
At present, Bangkok benefits from a relatively healthy rental market and the city offers Rental Yields between the ranges of 3-6% on average. While Yields offered are not breathtaking, it is not negligible and coupled with the fact that the Price of Units offered are relatively lower compared to its regional counterparts (e.g. Singapore and Hong Kong), Bangkok represents an attractive investment offering. On top of this, Bangkok’s urban landscape is still under development and numerous parts of the city (CBD and Non-CBD) are benefiting from attractive capital appreciation gains simply as a result of the city’s natural development and/or regeneration.
However as with all Investments, there are always two sides to a coin; residential developers have been on a development spree for the last few years and “rental unit competition” is an issue. At any single point in time, there is constantly an available supply of 100+ rental units in an area and very often in a single condo there can be 10+ available units for rent. This creates the issue of “Void” (empty un-rented unit); this is simply because potential tenants are exposed to an overwhelming amount of choice. “Void/Empty Periods” can quickly reduce potential Yields and make a buy-to-let property unattractive.
In this article, we will explore 5 tips that will allow you to “avoid the void” and select better buy-to-let opportunities. These 5 tips will have two main themes notably, Selection and Marketing.[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3,4,5″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ] Selection
A good buy-to-let investment is determined from the start, when a property is selected and purchased. Due diligence and careful selection is important especially in a city like Bangkok which offers a variety of options Location Selection
While this seems over used and border-line boring, Location is probably the biggest factor that will determine the “rental success” of your investment. In Bangkok where heavy traffic is common, local residents resort to Public Transport notably the BTS Skytrain and MRT Underground services. Therefore, when considering a buy-to-let, always consider condos as close to the BTS/ MRT as possible (walking distance is usually the best). Convenience is always the key, therefore when choosing a property always ensure its neighborhood offers a certain degree of convenience (i.e. a variety of amenities, proximity to public transport, pleasant surroundings, etc.). Condo Selection
Condos tend to age fast and a building that appears fresh and modern can soon look aged in a period of 1-2 Years. This can occur due to a variety of reasons, from low-quality development work to poor building management. A general rule of thumb is investors should generally stick to large and reputable developers with a strong portfolio of previously completed projects.
Secondly, when property hunting, look out for potential lifestyle issues that could affect a potential resident’s peaceful enjoyment of the unit (e.g. noise coming from outside, bad view, lack of balcony, etc.). Also, at the same time, look for a property with big positives such as beautiful views, lots of natural light, extra space for the unit type, etc. Marketing
The next 3 Tips will pertain mostly to marketing and ways to gain an edge over other similar condos in the market.
Multi-Agency In Bangkok, Property Agencies only charge a commission if they are able to find a tenant; there are absolutely no extra Marketing Fees. Therefore, do not hesitate to advertise your Rental Unit with several agents. Different Agencies have different marketing techniques and obviously a different level of dedication/ service, so list with a variety of agencies big and small. By doing so, you will be maximizing your exposure and increasing your chances of finding a tenant.
In Bangkok, Rental Commission charged by Agents is standard and they are as follows: 1 month rental for a 12-month contract 1.5 months rental for a 24-month contract 2 months rental for a 36-month contract
This is standardized throughout the Bangkok property market and investors should be wary of agencies offering to market their properties for higher commission levels. Unit Display/Showcase
Most buy-to-let landlords tend to have a mentality of “furnish cheaply, the tenants are going to damage it anyway!” However, in a marketplace like Bangkok filled with alternative choices, it is important to carefully select the furnishing. While this does not have to be overly expensive, it does have to give potential tenants a sense of homeliness and comfort. Too often, investors have “blinders” focusing solely on Yields and returns, failing to consider that their potential tenant will have to spend 1 year in the property! Pricing
With the growing popularity of property portals such as “DDProperty” and “Hipflat”, etc., tenants can immediately compare prices. Unfortunately, the Rental Market in Bangkok is at a stage where supply is rife and therefore it is important for your Rental Unit to appear competitive in terms of offering and price.
Overpricing the property may result in a reduced level of interest and will automatically reduce the number of viewings conducted on your property. The best rule of thumb is simply to set the Price range based on the Market (seek advice from Property Agents or compare Units on Portals) with the expectation that an interested party will try to negotiate.
Bangkok offers an interesting buy-to-let opportunity for investors to make a healthy dose of profit; however this is provided landlords put effort into ensuring their property is presented in an attractive manner at a good price. The 5 Tips provided in this article, should help any Landlord tackle the issue of “void period” and ensure solid returns on their investment[/ihc-hide-content]
Pierre Leung is the Sales Manager of Fresh Property, a boutique property agency that specializes in Sales and Rental of Residential Property in the Sukhumvit Area of Bangkok. He can be contacted via www.freshbangkok.com or Pierre@freshbangkok.com