It was sheer laziness that catapulted Eric Lee, in his late 20s from being an average young man playing RPG to a property millionaire. Asian Property Review talks to him about his winning formula
APR: How did you discover property investing?
Eric Lee: When I was at school, I was always dreaming about not having to work yet receiving a big passive income. I really didn’t want to work. So, I scouted around for the easiest way to earn money. I discovered that investment is the best way for me to achieve what I wanted during the first year of my university life. Like most people, the first investment product that I started with was shares. I played the stockmarket for about a year but at the end of it, I felt that it wasn’t suited for me (due to some personal reasons), so I make a switch to property investment. I started out in 2010 just when the property market in Malaysia was starting to heat up. In my 5-year-old property portfolio, I’ve only spent about RM100K capital but now own at least five properties worth a few million ringgit. Of course, my net worth is only say, a fraction of that on paper. If I cashed out today however, I should achieve my 5-year financial target and will not need to work for money anymore. I can just let the money work for me.
APR: Was it smooth-sailing from the start or did you encounter problems? What were some of the lessons learnt?
Eric Lee: I made a loss from my first property investment due to my being too desperate to rent it out. I also made losses from bad tenants. So, now I am more careful with my selection. If the tenant is good and reliable, I may rent out the apartment cheaper as this works out better in the long run than having a bad tenant. I can wait for a good tenant but sometimes, it’s not too good to leave your property unoccupied for a long time because you need someone to stay there to know what’s wrong with the property, for example, leaking pipes, etc. I once bought a shop lot and left it unoccupied for a few months. Later, I discovered that burglars had entered and stolen some of the fixtures and fittings such as the lightings.