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Investor ‘field trips’ bring local firms into the condo game

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Artistic rendition of a building block in the Bodaiju development. Photo supplied

Investor ‘field trips’ bring local firms into the condo game

Every month across Phnom Penh, there is a plethora of real estate networking events held to build ties between developers, construction companies, and agents, according to Alexander Evengroen, senior vice-president of Key Real Estate and chief advisor to Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA).

Most often in the form of field trips, these events aim to familiarise real estate companies through site tours and showroom visits in a bid to entice agents to forge partnerships to sell developers’ units.

“These events are good for agents to go and show their nose everywhere so that they are constantly updated on different projects, the kinds of developers there are, and what the current market is like; for repeated events by the same developer, it is good to constantly know how the overall construction and sales are doing,” Evengroen said.

For example, last Saturday, Japanese developer Creed Group hosted a Co-broke Networking event to let the word out to the Kingdom’s leading real estate companies – mostly under the CVEA umbrella – that their debut luxury condominium Bodaiju Residences is now open for local agents to sell, no longer reserving exclusivity to a single company or agent.

According to Punnareay Heng, business development manager of Creed Group Cambodia, Bodaiju Residences has already sold 90 per cent of its first two blocks prior to Saturday’s affair.

“Today is not really a big event; we just want to open the sky to all agencies in Phnom Penh who want to cooperate with Bodaiju,” he said.

Johnny Chan, head of sales and marketing of Creed Group Cambodia, said that the purpose of such events is to broaden the customer base, as most agents have their own trusted clientele.

“We will go to your office to conduct project trainings, as we know that each agency here has its own circle of customers. We here at Bodaiju need that, and we will definitely discuss commission rates with [agents] later on,” Chan said during his presentation of the project at the development’s showroom near the airport.

On how Bodaiju’s first field trip would help the company leverage their sales, Chan said that their main purpose is to create new relationships, believing that various agencies can influence and strengthen local perception, thus raising Bodaiju’s status in the condo market.

“We would like to collaborate with local companies, even if they are small, and foster a win-win relationship with all the local agencies,” Takashi Eguchi, president of Creed Group Cambodia said.

In response to a question from the floor on whether Creed Group had obtained the legal approval from the government to sell units off plan, Chan pointed to a wall showcasing photos and legal documents of Bodaiju’s initial private groundbreaking ceremony.

“Some projects do not have the legal sales paper from the government, which makes it illegal to sell units while the project is under construction. Out of about 50 agents, maybe 48 don’t know that the paper is necessary, so this is the primary knowledge that I share with all the smaller companies,” Evengroen said.

While he expressed optimism in Bodaiju’s debut co-broke networking event and Creed Group’s credibility, as “this Japanese developer is really well-known and has a good reputation, which is a big plus for Cambodia”, Evengroen said that oftentimes there can be a downside to these kinds of events, especially if agents feel as if some developers have exaggerated their sales figures to garner hype.

“If a project is 90 per cent sold, you don’t need help to sell the remaining 10 per cent. Just be realistic, because if they are transparent, let’s say, that they have sold 40 per cent, then agents will be more motivated to sell the remaining 60 per cent. If there is only 10 per cent left to sell, where is the opportunity for agents? There are over 125 registered real estate companies [competing in the market],” he said.

“Developers and the project organisers must make sure that their presentation is realistic and within reason.”

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