Buy Cheap Properties in America and Jakarta

Went out with a friend for lunch today. He casually told me that he had seen a couple of properties in Jakarta and was keen to buy an apartment or condominium in Jakarta.  However he said that property prices were too high right now and was adamant in his belief that it will fall in one or two years time. He went to view a condominium in Menteng, a studio unit of about 40 sq. m on the high floor with a asking price of U$76,000.  He mentioned that he would loved to buy a property for investment if it is reasonably cheap.

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Buying Properties in Jakarta

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I told my friend that there are properties in the United States going very cheap; in fact he could get a home for a price of a set dinner in a good Chinese restaurant – that is One hundred US dollars or approximately RP885,000. He was shocked and though that I was joking until I explained the facts to him. If you looked at Detroit which is the largest city in the state of Michigan, there are thousands of properties that are under foreclosures and even abandoned properties. Why would the owner of a property be willing to sell you his home for just US$100? That is because he is in debt and is unable to pay the property taxes for his home. So instead of incurring this property tax every year, he would rather sell it off cheap. But beware of buying such properties, because most of it are in very bad condition and in areas where it is either crime ridden or in abandoned neighbourhood. Property tax are high in the state of Michigan and are payable in advance of the year in which they are due. The property tax is calculated based on State Equalized Value ( SEV ) which is normally half of the assessed value of the property. Bear in mind that just because your neighbour’s home in Detroit is paying say US$2000 in property tax, it does not mean that your property next to him will be the same amount.

My friend then asked me whether there are good investment properties in Michigan. I explained to him that there are plenty of good value properties in Michigan. The key is not to look at the assessed value but focus on the cash flow. When I focus on the cash flow, I am looking at the rental income generated from the property which I have purchased.  Take the annual rental income and less of all expenses such as property taxes, insurance, maintenance, management fees, etc and if it still gives you a positive cash flow of above 7%, then I would consider looking into this property. In Detroit, there are plenty of good valued properties being sold at US70,000 onwards but you need to do your homework. You would want to buy a property in a prime location so that you will enjoy capital appreciation of your home once the economy picks up.

So whether you are buying properties in Jakarta or in United States, the important issue is not the valuation of the property, it is not the selling price of the house or the economy, it is just the cash flow and potential capital appreciation. I want to know what type of tenants can I get and how much is the net rental income ( after deducting all expenses ) per year. As for capital appreciation, prime location will also be the first to appreciate in prices when property prices moved up.

 

Prawn and Mushroom Omelette

I would normally ordered omelette for breakfast whenever I stayed in the hotel. Most of the hotels will offer either the usual butter omelette or mixed vegetables omelette. In Singapore, the fried oyster omelette is a popular food among the locals. I do order this food occasionally and I would instruct the stall owner to make sure that the oyster is well cooked because eating raw or half cooked shellfish like oysters can caused Hepatitis A. There is one omelette which I love to eat but is not found in the menu of many restaurants or food stalls; and that is the Prawn and Mushroom Omelette. The Prawn and Mushroom Omelette is very easy to prepare and cook and many of my friends said that it is delicious and wholesome meal. In this blog I would liked to share my style of cooking this dish.

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Prawn and Mushroom Omelette

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The ingredients for the preparation of Prawn and Mushroom Omelette are as follows:-

a) 4 fresh eggs

b) 8 medium sized prawns – peeled, deveined and you can have it whole or sliced in half.

c) 4  fresh mushrooms – cut it into small pieces.

d) a few slices of ginger, carrots and spring onions.

e) sliced chilli or red pepper – this is optional.

1)  break the eggs in the bowl and mixed it well with a fork and add some pepper. Some people beat the eggs which is fine. But beating the eggs tends to make it over mixed. I do not add salt because it is healthier or you can add some soya sauce.

2) put some oil on the frying pan and heat it up. Get a medium size pan, because if you cooked it using a small pan, the eggs would become too thick and spongy.

3) put the fresh mushrooms and vegetables into the pan and stir fry it just for a few minutes. Then add the prawns into the pan and stir fry it until the prawns become pink in color.

4) when the mushroom and prawns are cooked, quickly pour the eggs into the pan. Make sure that the eggs are spread evenly on the pan. You can do this by tilting the pan till the eggs are spread evenly on the pan. Wait for a few minutes, then flip the eggs over and let it cook for another 2 minutes. The omelette should looked golden in color.

5) put the Prawn and Mushroom Omelette on a plate and it is ready to be served.

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Prawn and Mushroom Omelette

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The Prawn and Mushroom omelette is a easy to cook and is good to eat. In fact there are times when I cooked this omelette as a quick lunch for myself. If you are creative, you can try adding different types of vegetables such as thin slices of lettuce, onions and garlic. One thing to take note is that try to use fresh prawns instead of frozen prawns when cooking this dish, as it will taste much better.

 

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Shoes Made In Indonesia

Recently I read the news that the Governor of West Java had ordered all his civil servants to buy and wear shoes that are made in Indonesia. Governor Ahmad Heryawan started this campaign to support the local shoe industry; and was reported to give all his civil servants one month grace period before taking actions against anyone flouting his order. Thereafter if he find any civil servant wearing foreign made shoes, he will punish the offender with 200 push ups exercise. Really his campaign of Made in Indonesia shoes are very amusing to me.

Many international brands of shoes such as Nike, Reebok, Adidas and many more are made in Indonesia. So it means that Indonesia has the capacity and skills to made high quality shoes. Then why is it that the shoes with local brands are not in hot demand with the local Indonesians? I think the taste and the aspirations of the Indonesians have changed over the years. Many Indonesians especially the young are fashion trendy and with more money to spend. These young people are fashion and brand conscious, and they won’t want to be caught by their peers wearing local brand shoes or clothes -in their view this would be an sheer embarrassment. Even Indonesians in their forties and fifties are now increasing buying foreign brand shoes, clothes and accessories. When we go to any upscale mall in Jakarta, consumers are buying foreign brand products, eating in foreign brand restaurants, buying foreign brand home appliances and phones.

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Hush Puppies Shoe

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My view is that if you want more Indonesians to buy local products such as shoes, the manufacturers must first improve upon the quality, design and the brand of the product. When I go to Bandung for shopping, there are locally made shoes that are quite attractive in design, but the quality seems to be lower. I will not hesitate to buy local products so long as it is of good quality at affordable price. The local manufacturers and distributors must have a more competitive business attitude if they want to succeed in capturing the local consumers market.

An example of a successful Indonesian brand is Teh Botol produced by the Indonesian company Sosro. Teh Botol is a sweetened Jasmine tea that is very popular in Indonesia. I loved drinking it just as I also enjoy drinking Jasmine tea produced by Pokka. Drinking Jasmine tea from a glass bottle is unique to Teh Botol and in this instance, the company has a successful marketing strategy. Another example of a successful product and brand in Indonesia is the Bintang Beer. It is a very popular local brand of beer in Indonesia and I drink it all the time when I am in Indonesia.

I do own and wear shoes made in Indonesia but at the same time I also wear foreign branded shoes. I hope that the Governor of Java would not be too harsh on his subordinates. Perhaps he could just made it mandatory for his civil servants to wear local made shoes once a week – like every Monday which is the start of the working week. He could also worked with local shoes manufacturers and distributors to get special discount for his subordinates when they buy shoes made in Indonesia.