Anthony Lee Tee

Future Proof Your Property With Proper Maintenance

Property investment is undeniably one of the best ways to grow one’s wealth as most property values often grow over the years. However, high returns are limited to well-maintained and safe properties, said Architect Centre Sdn Bhd accredited architect and trainer Anthony Lee Tee.

“Like humans, buildings will go through the aging process and will have all sorts of problems but with the right mentality in managing the property, it can stay evergreen and continue to enjoy good value growth,” he told the audience during his session titled “Safe building, investment safe — ignore it and, well, just pay for it!” on Oct 20 at the Talk entitled “Are you destroying your investment in Real Estate?” The talk was organised by in partnership with Nippon Paint Malaysia.

A building or property can experience various kinds of damage and problems over the years. For instance, according to Lee, a common problem that appears within three to five years will be a leak from the swimming pool. From the seventh year, there will be cracks and leaks inside the property itself. In the 15th year, there will be water pipe leaks and the condition of the common facilities will start to deteriorate.

However, Lee noted that with proper maintenance and the right mentality, a building could remain in pristine condition, regardless of its age.

Infographics: Life cycle cost of a building

Community engagement

Towards this end, Lee said community engagement is important as the closer the relationship among the residents, the higher the chance of them sharing a mutual understanding of the importance of putting in the effort and money to maintain the property.

Lee suggested that residents draw up a Sinking Fund Management Plan, which is a common practise in Australia, to ensure the property is maintained well.

“The Sinking Fund Management Plan could play a role in predictive and preventive maintenance as well as making advance budgeting to cover big repairs and replacements. These measures are important to ensure value growth of a property,” he said.

Priority on safety

Meanwhile, Lee stressed that a good property worth investing in, is not one that offers beautiful landscaping or a nice-looking façade but one that has its fire hazard detection and prevention equipment kept well maintained.

“It’s not just about how good the building looks, it’s about residents’ safety. Many properties and lives were lost due to faulty fire-fighting equipment in a building,” said Lee.

Infographics: Life cycle cost aging buildings

According to him, every year, there are around 20,000 fires in Malaysia and about 50 to 70 people perish in fires. These could be prevented with proper maintenance of fire-fighting equipment and good fire prevention practice.

Lee also advised those looking to buy secondary market properties to take a close look at the fire detection and extinguishment features of a building before making the decision to buy a property in the building.

Things to focus on include the fire escape routes and the condition of fire-fighting and fire detection equipment.

“The problem is, we have five-star facilities but a third-world mentality in maintaining these important things which could protect our lives and the value of our property,” he said.