Why Online Marketing IS THE BEST WAY to grow your Real Estate Sales

Thu, 26 November 2015

onlinemarketingHere are the top six reasons why online marketing should be the #1 tool to grow your business, real estate agency or new development sales force… And why it can ultimately replace traditional sales methods.

Test New Marketing Ideas Quickly:
Online marketing campaigns are quick and easy to set up, and they can be switched ON and OFF with the click of a mouse. You can also have more than one variant running in parallel at the same time (split testing) which allows you to directly compare two marketing campaigns at once. Therefore, it is very quick to test new ideas.

Fast to Scale Up:
Once you have a new Online Marketing Campaign working well, it is very easy to replicate it at a much larger scale. With all the data and analytics at your fingertips, you know exactly what worked, and what did not work. This makes online marketing campaigns perfectly suited to scaling up.

Push Beyond Your Tradition Reach:
The internet helps you to reach people anywhere in the world. Your target market expands dramatically when you can reach people beyond your actual location – especially if you are looking for international property investors.

Through online marketing, you can engage with someone, who knows someone, who knows someone you know, in just matter of seconds – and across thousands of kilometers. That is the power of social networks and online marketing. If you have a small network of 450 contacts online, your potential to expand this network through online marketing is massive.

Online Marketing Beats Cold Calling, Because Your Sales Leads are Qualified and Excited!
Knocking on the doors of strangers with cold calls or emails means they don’t know anything about your services or reputation – and this makes sales progress slow. With online marketing, your customer knows all information before they reach you, and they are excited! Which client has a better chance of resulting in sales?

Digital marketing helps you to build a pipeline of “inbound” sales leads that are easier to convert into a sale because all the educating and convincing is already done before you talk to the prospective client. It is always more rewarding when you meet people who are looking forward to speak with you!

Using the internet to find real estate buyers is much more cost effective compared to other mediums simply because internet infrastructure is much much cheaper compared to physical infrastructure. And the best part – you only pay for what you use, and you can start small!

Build Your Brand Online:
It gives a strong competitive advantage when you can differentiate yourself against competition by branding yourself online, and online marketing helps you to create and promote that brand very easily and very cheaply.

In conclusion, online marketing can be a very powerful sales tool for your real estate venture, whether you are an agent or property developer, for just two key reasons – Firstly, it helps you to TEST ideas, and it helps you to SCALE things up.

However, having said that – don’t forget two things:

A Sound Business Model Must Come First:
You must have a solid business model built around customer value before you can think of online marketing. Online marketing will not replace or improve a bad business idea.

Don’t Forget Traditional Marketing:
This is no argument of Online Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing. Add traditional channels of marketing as your business grows, but start with digital for the reasons above.

Want to learn more about Online Marketing Opportunities for Agents and Developers? Check out www.realestate.com.kh today! Read Original text


Thu, 26 November 2015

bom_p7_0Amidst a series of two-storey buildings in the urban heart of Sihanoukville stands a single one-storey community center constructed with fabric and concrete; a result of the collaboration between Orkidstudio and Bomnong L’Or.

Realizing how the original Bomnong L’Or (Goodwill) Center was poorly ventilated with inadequate lighting, the team sought out to reconstruct the building using a more environmentally friendly measure by reducing timber usage in response to the deforestation in Cambodia while also conveying an architectural message of “strength”.

Tom Woodward, project coordinator of Orkidstudio, explained, “The fabric was used as a formwork to contain the concrete whilst it was poured but not set. Once the concrete had hardened, the fabric was then taken off and washed, before being reused as a cladding.”

Unlike the previous center, the new building is raised up off the ground to utilize the seasonal winds off the Gulf of Thailand. To ensure that the building stays cool all year round, Woodward said the team employed a variety of passive techniques such as shading external walls with the roof and “using modern insulated roofing sheets that prevented heat from building up.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Architects team up with locals to build the new centre. Lindsay Perth/Supplied

In the search for affordable, green, and quality housing, the building is a combination of traditional Khmer housing and modern construction technologies. Woodward said, “In particular, we placed great emphasis on communicating how we had utilized passive design principles to ensure the building remained cool without relying on energy-intensive air conditioning units.”

To make sure that the building is durable, a two-step approach was adopted into the construction.

“The fundamental frame consists of a heavy concrete and steel construction that is incredibly durable, whilst the fabric and bamboo merely act as infill material, creating a sense of enclosure whilst allowing ventilation and light into the space,” said Woodward.

“Accepting the susceptibility of the fabric to the elements, we designed the panels to include zips, in order that they can be removed and washed or replaced when needed.”

For eight weeks in July and August, a team of 25 people, including local men, women, and those with a lack of skills were able to pull off the project.

With a total floor area of 240 square metres, the center consists of four classrooms, an IT room, a library, a soap-making facility, and can accommodate over 100 students at any given time; a “50 per cent increase on the previous facilities,” according to Woodward.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

At 240 square metres, the project totalled $72,000. Lindsay Perth

Jennifer Hoggett, manager of Bomnong L’Or, said, “We run daycare, education (for adults and children), provide basic healthcare and treatment costs, nutritional support and run a soap-making scheme with some of the women in the area.”

In addition to its education programme, it also provides food packages to some of the poorest members of the local community and runs a social enterprise programme providing employment for local disadvantaged women through the production and sale of natural soaps.

The construction cost of the new Bomnong L’Or Center was $300 per square metre with a total cost of $72,000. Read Original text

Oknha Tastes Go Oligarch

Thu, 26 November 2015

bedroomAfter defining high-end taste in Russia, China and Thailand, an Italian luxury home-décor company aims to conquer the villas of Cambodia’s rich

Greeted by gold-gilded tables, intricately carved gold-leaf headboards, and polished tiles of marble and ceramics, one would feel as though they had just stepped into a magical place reminiscent of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg or an oligarch’s lavish home.

In actual fact, this place strikes much closer to home.

With its palatial and baroque items on display at the launch of their showroom on November 22, Azza Décor is the first of its kind in Phnom Penh; a luxury home-décor company specializing in Italian interior design, mainly furniture and lighting, tiles and bathroom furnishing and kitchen fittings.

Every distinctive product has a “Made in Italy” tag, while its exclusive brands boast of names like Versace (Ceramics), Valentino, Bastianelli Home, and Socci, amongst many others.

Marco Cipriani, area manager for CIAC Group which supplies furniture to Azza Décor, explained that, “our first market all over the world [for this style of furniture] is the Russian market, as the Russian people love to buy these types of gold leaf furniture.”
However, at $165 per pop for one Versace Ceramic tile-piece or $10,000 for a Versace sink, the question is whether such ornate and lush furniture is prohibitive here in Phnom Penh.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

A more contemporary alternative to Transitional Classic fixtures. Moeun Nhean

“Since our expansion in other Asian countries like China and Thailand, we feel it is time that this kind of furniture comes into the interior market in Cambodia,” Cipriani said.

Minea Prach, Azza Décor’s sales and marketing manager, explained that the Phnom Penh launch was due to the exponential growth in the construction sector and an increasing appetite for luxury goods among a few.

“Our main target audience is the high-end niche market of those who own private residences or villas,” Prach said.

The influx of foreigners and foreign businesses in Phnom Penh does seem to complement the opening of such a company. Azza Décor seemingly fits in with the high-end residences, exclusive condominiums and villas that have been springing up over the past few years.

Lorenzo Martini, founder of architecture and interior design company Lorenzo Martini Design Studio, offered his insight on the home décor style that appeals most to Cambodians, as well as how luxury interior décor companies will fare in the Cambodian market.

In reference to what style of interior design piques the locals’ interest, “Cambodians with a budget manage to implement what I would say a Neo-Baroque, or Transitional Classic [style],” Martini said.

“People would call it ‘classical’, but is a classical style with exaggerated curves, patterns and textures, heavy to the sight, which draws on baroque but while sharing its power, it doesn’t share its elegance. It’s a style that is popular in most developing countries,” he continued.

On how high the demand for such a niche market is here, Martini said that it is tempting to affirm a high demand given the number of showrooms showcasing luxury furnishing in Phnom Penh.

However, this pertains only to a pocket of very wealthy people who may not have an idea of what defines a real luxury product. Therefore, many end up purchasing overpriced products without much discernment.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

A golden sink worthy of a king (Versace, $10,.000). Moeun Nhean

“I’m happy to see [Azza Décor] stepping up the game, and will give a run for their money to many other shops currently selling average products at high prices under the pretense it is luxury,” Martini said.

There is no such pretense at Azza Décor, with each product guaranteeing its authenticity of quality and branding.

Partly echoing Prach’s words, Martini said, “I don’t see the market as being ready for luxury commercial projects just yet, I think luxury products are almost exclusively employed in high-end private residences.”

Azza Décor currently works closely with luxury housing developer The Bay, managed by the TEHO Group, in supplying materials to them.

Having sold a considerable number of products before and during the launch to owners of private villa residences in BKK 1, Borey Orkide, and Borey New World, Azza Décor looks set to make waves in this small, but powerful, pocket of Phnom Penh’s elite. Read Original text

Residential property prices rise across Asia

Thu, 26 November 2015

victoria-peakCBRE Residential Global Living Report, released this year by CBRE International, has seen two Asian real estate markets ranking in the top five highest value residential property markets worldwide, as decided by average property prices. This regional boom appears promising for the Cambodian residential property market as a parallel trend occurs, albeit, on a smaller scale in the Kingdom’s residential real estate market.

The Global Living Report examined property markets in 31 affluent cities around the world, including hubs such as Shanghai, Paris, New York, Tokyo, London and Madrid.

Hong Kong ranked number one in the Global Living Report this year, having the highest average price per square foot in the world. Singapore had the highest property price by capital value in the world, according to the report. However, when viewed on a per square foot basis it came in fifth internationally.

In Hong Kong, property prices leaped by 13.5 per cent last year alone, meaning the market saw 20 per cent average annual price growth, ranking it the second fastest residential growth market worldwide.

The report cites increased Chinese investment as a key stimulant behind this boom: “As Hong Kong attracts a substantial amount of Chinese (as well as other international buyers), the market is likely to be buoyed by the recent Chinese stock market crash, which may lead to investors finding alternative homes, such as property, for their capital.”

In Hong Kong only 65 per cent of all residential properties are owned for occupation, the report read.

Cambodia, while being pegged to the US dollar, could also benefit from this type of investor seeking to diversify their assets.

Anthony Galliano, Group CEO of Cambodian Investment Management, believes that “Cambodia’s real estate market had been historically ignored as the country wasn’t viewed as a ‘quality of life’ or ‘property investment’ destination by foreign investors.”

With Hong Kong and Singapore being Asia’s two most expensive markets, as well as world’s priciest markets, he said that developers are seeking for countries like Cambodia that are more economically viable.

Knight Frank’s Cambodian country manager Ross Wheble explained to Post Property last September, that Cambodia “has benefited [from] an influx of both foreign developers and investors seeking to take advantage of the comparatively low property prices and the relative ease at which foreign buyers can acquire freehold property (above ground floor level).”

Galliano suggests that the surge in investment in Cambodia’s property market has been driven by economic fundamentals, namely, “a more positive image of the country from frontier to developing market, and to an extent, herd instinct.”

However, as far as the cyclical nature of how property markets operate, he warned that positive indicators may not always last.

“While property prices currently remain attractive, and the country, more specifically Phnom Penh, has welcomed developers with open arms, inevitably once you do the math it is blatantly obviously there will be oversupply given the expected developments coming online in the next two years,” he said.

“Therefore while it is all rosy today, I expect turbulence in property prices in the medium-term,” he said. James Whitehead is content director at realestate.com.kh Read Original text

Cambodian hotel industry shows growth

Thu, 26 November 2015

deluxe-gardenA recent study has found that the hotel service quality in Cambodia is improving due to rising competition and the industry’s readiness to compete regionally.

A recent report by the Bunna Realty Group shows that as of the third quarter of 2015, there are 317 hotels with 15,000 rooms in Phnom Penh, and 417 hotels with 17,000 rooms in Siem Reap; 133 hotels with 4,000 rooms in Sihanoukville, and 45 hotels with 1,600 rooms in Battambang.

The same study also identified that within Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, only 892 hotels could be deemed to have at least a two-star ranking.

In addition to the breakdown of the sector, the study also looked at hotel occupancy rates. Of the hotels surveyed in Phnom Penh from January to November of this year, occupancy reached 68 per cent; while it was 66 per cent in Siem Reap, 74 per cent in Sihanoukville, and 75 per cent in Battambang.

The study also looked at the hotel’s ranking compared to price. Two-star hotels offered rooms ranging from $21 to $60, whereas 3-star hotels cost from $60 to $200 for a room. 5-star hotels saw the greatest range of prices at $150 to $2000 per night, based on the room type, size and amenities included.

Hen Socheat, Bunna Realty Group director announced that private online bookings cost more than bookings made through travel agencies.

“The rate of hotel occupancy via online booking is about 71 per cent on average,” he said.

He added that the improvement in services seen in the growth of the hospitality sector came from better coordination between the Ministry of Tourism and private sector training programmes.

However, the study concluded that during the peak months from December to February every year, hotels reach near full occupancy especially in Siem Reap when bookings rise to 100 per cent. Socheat said that this signifies the need for hotel expansion.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Room and service quality in Cambodian hotels is constantly increasing. Supplied

However, Ho Vandy, an adviser to the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said these statistics are not credible due to the fact that the study was undertaken via an online survey, and did not consult with private hospitality companies that work directly with clients and their partners.

Socheat admitted that the statistics in this study could have been skewed.

Based on the Ministry of Tourism’s statistics from 2013 to 2014, Vandy explained that in Phnom Penh there were a total of 7,807 rooms across 170 hotels, and 477 guesthouses adding an additional 6,614 rooms.

“Meanwhile, in Siem Reap, there were only 175 hotels but they had a total of 11,620 rooms, with an additional 3,927 rooms from 254 guesthouses,” he said.

Government data also showed that there were only 54 hotels in Sihanoukville, totalling 2,697 rooms with an additional 2,734 rooms from 187 registered guesthouses.

For Battambang, the government study yielded 32 hotels with 1,620 rooms.

From this comparison, the number of hotels in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanouk province have more than doubled, while those in Battambang province has also seen a notable increase, all within one year.

Nevertheless, both statistics show that the hotel industry is growing. Read Original text

ដី​នៅ​សង្កាត់​ក្រាំង​ធ្នង់​លក់​ក្នុង​តម្លៃ​២០០​ដុល្លារ ​ក្នុងមួយម៉ែត្រ​ការ៉េ

ដោយ៖ សហការី

ថ្ងៃចន្ទ ទី២៣ ខែវិច្ឆិកា ឆ្នាំ២០១៥ ម៉ោង ០៨:៥៣

ក្រុម​ហុ៑​ន​អចលនទ្រព្យឆៃ​លី​ន ស៊ា រៀល​ធី ហៅ​កាត់​ (​ស៊ី​អិ​ល​)​ ប្រកាស​លក់​ដី ​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុង​សង្កាត់​ក្រា​ង​ធ្នុង ដែល​មាន​ទំហំ 78,792 ម៉ែត្រការ៉េ (​ប្លង់​ទន់​) មាន​ផ្លូវ​បេតុង​ទំហំ​ប្រហែល១០ម៉ែត្រ​ស្រាប់ ទីតាំង​នេះ​ស័ក្តសម​​សម្រាប់​សាងសង់​ផ្ទះ​វីឡា ផ្ទះល្វែង ឬ​បុរី ពីព្រោះ​ទីតាំង​នេះ​ ស្ថិត​នៅ​ប៉ែក​ខាងជើង​ព្រលាន​យន្តហោះ​​ភ្នំពេញ និង​ជា​តំបន់​ដែល​កំពុង​តែ​មានការ​អភិវឌ្ឍន៍​ខ្លាំង​ទៅ​លើ​ការ​​ពុះ​ដី​ឡូត៍ ​​លក់ ​និង​ធ្វើ​ជា​ឃ្លាំង ​។

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សូម​បញ្ជាក់​ថា ក្រុមហ៊ុន​អចលនទ្រព្យ ឆៃ​លី​ន ស៊ា រៀល​ធី ជា​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​ដែលមាន​ជំនាញវាយតម្លៃ​អចលនទ្រព្យ​ច្បាស់​ ដែល​បាន​ចុះបញ្ជី​ពាណិជ្ជ​កម្ម​លេខ​០៥៣៥/២០១៣ ព​ណ​.​ចប​ព​, មាន​អ​ជ្ញា​ប័ណ្ណវាយតម្លៃ​អចលនវត្ថុ​លេខ​១២២ សហ​វ​.​ឧ​ហ​, អា​ជ្ញា​ប័ណ្ណ​សេវាកម្ម​អចលនវត្ថុ​លេខ១១៩ សហ​វ​.​ឧ​ហ​, បណ្ណ​ប៉ាតង់​សំរាប់​សេវាកម្ម​អចលនវត្ថុ​លេខ​០១២៧៦ អ​ព​ដ​/​ស​ខ​/​ចម​, និងវិ​ញ្ញាប​ន​បត្រ​វាយតម្លៃ អចលវត្ថុ​លេខ ០២៥៣៥ អ​ព​ដ​/​ស​ខ​/​ចម និង​ជា​សមាជិក សមាគម​អ្នក​វាយតម្លៃ និង​សេវាកម្ម​អចលន​វត្ថុ​កម្ពុជា​លេខ ០០២៤ ស​.​វ​.​អ​.​ក​ ។ Read Original text

ដី​ទំហំ​២.២០០​ម៉ែត្រការ៉េ លក់​ក្នុង​តម្លៃ​ចរចា​២២​ម៉ឺន​ដុល្លារ

បញ្ចូលអត្ថបទ ៖ បុប្ជា

ថ្ងៃសុក្រ ទី២០ ខែវិច្ឆិកា ឆ្នាំ២០១៥ ម៉ោង ០៩:០០

ក្រុម​ហុ៑​ន​អចលនទ្រព្យ ឆៃ​លី​ន ស៊ា រៀល​ធី ហៅ​កាត់​ស៊ី​អិ​ល ប្រកាស​លក់​ដី​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុង​សង្កាត់​ក្រា​ង​ធ្នុង ដែល​មាន​ទំហំ​២.២០០​ម៉ែត្រការ៉េ ហើយ​មាន​ប្លង់​រឹង​ស្រាប់ មាន​ផ្លូវ​មុខក្រោយ​ទំហំ​ប្រហែល​០៨​ម៉ែត្រ ដោយ​បែរមុខ​ទៅ​ទិស​ខាងលិច ទីតាំង​នេះ​សាក​សម​សម្រាប់​សាងសង់​ផ្ទះ​វីឡា ផ្ទះល្វែង ឬ​ឃ្លាំង​ជួល ពីព្រោះ​ទីតាំង​នេះ​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ប៉ែក​ខាងជើង​ព្រ​លាន​យន្តហោះ​ភ្នំពេញ និង​ជា​តំបន់​ដែល​កំពុង​តែ​មានការ​អភិវឌ្ឍន៍​ខ្លាំង​ទៅ​លើ​ការ​ពុះ​ដី​ឡូត៍​ លក់ និង​ធ្វើ​ជា​ឃ្លាំង​។

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សូម ​បញ្ជាក់​ថា ក្រុមហ៊ុន​អចលនទ្រព្យ ឆៃ​លី​ន ស៊ា រៀល​ធី ជា​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​ដែល​មាន​ជំនាញ វាយតម្លៃ​អចលនទ្រព្យ​ច្បាស់​ដែល​បាន​ចុះបញ្ជី​ពាណិជ្ជកម្ម​លេខ ០៥៣៥/២០១៣ ព​ណ​.​ចប​ព​, មាន​អាជ្ញាប័ណ្ណ វាយតម្លៃ​អចលនវត្ថុ​លេខ​១២២ សហ​វ​.​ឧ​ហ​,  អាជ្ញាប័ណ្ណ​សេវាកម្ម​អចលនវត្ថុ​លេខ ១១៩ សហ​វ​.​ឧ​ហ​, ប័ណ្ណ​ប៉ាតង់​សម្រាប់​សេវាកម្ម​អចលនវត្ថុ​លេខ​០១២៧៦ អ​ព​ដ​/​ស​ខ​/​ចម​, និង​វិ​ញ្ញាប​ន​ប័ត្រ​វាយតម្លៃ អចលវត្ថុ​លេខ ០២៥៣៥ អ​ព​ដ​/​ស​ខ​/​ចម និង​ជា​សមាជិក សមាគម​អ្នក​វាយតម្លៃ និង​សេវាកម្ម​អចលន វត្ថុ​កម្ពុជា​លេខ ០០២៤ ស​.​វ​.​អ​.​ក​។ Read Original text

How to find the best expat rentals in Phnom Penh

Thu, 19 November 2015

expatrenterSearching for expat rentals in Phnom Penh can often be a stressful and daunting task, especially if you are new to town. There are no shortage of agents who are ready to assist you finding your new apartment in Phnom Penh – from fully registered agencies, right through to “work from home agents.” In fact, you can bet even the good old tuk tuk driver will know a few places for rent if you ask him. But remember, Phnom Penh is a city where you can find the extremes: absolute gems who know their market inside out, right through to “commission cowboys” who only have their own interests in mind.

How do you weed out the good from the bad when searching for quality agents with expat rentals in Phnom Penh? How do you save time and stress when searching for a new rental property?

1. Ask your friends or colleagues if they know a great agent.
Chances are, if they’ve been in Phnom Penh for a number of years, your friends, family and acquaintances would have dealt with several agents before, and can share their experiences with you. Find out who helped them to secure their expat rentals in Phnom Penh, and learn as much as you can from that experience.

2. Use a professional agency.
Professional run agencies such as the “featured agents” listed at the top of Realestate.com.kh’s “Find an Agent” section, are well established, and this list includes some particularly expat orientated agencies. Professional agencies with an expat focus should have a full range of listings on Realestate.com.kh and on their own website, fluent English agents, great market insight and be well-experienced with Cambodian rental agreements. As they offer a free service to potential tenants, professional agencies should be your first call.

3. Does the agent understand your requirements?
It takes time to visit properties and you don’t want to waste half a day viewing properties that are not relevant. There are agents out there who only hear your budget of $500 and don’t care that you want to live in a specific area, or that a large balcony is the most important feature you require. Ask the agent to show you photos of the property first to save time, or better yet, view the property online first – at realestate.com.kh/rent.

4. Check their referrals.
Quality agents have a track record of happy clients and would be proud to show you some positive feedback from their previous clients. If they have a testimonial section on their website or feedback on Facebook, see what previous clients have said about the agent’s service. Don’t forget to consider their after-sales support track record too, as this is often the difference between an average agent and a very good one.

5. Note attention to detail.
Does the agent respond to emails or phone calls in a reasonable amount of time? Does the agent show up to appointments on time? Do they dress smartly? All these signs give you an indication of the type of agent they are, and the standard of service that they are likely to bring to you. If the agent makes the effort to present in a professional manner to you, it’s a safe bet that they’ll provide quality overall service.

Follow these tips and ensure you have a stress free enjoyable experience when choosing your next expat rentals in Phnom Penh. The best place to start your search is: Realestate.com.kh/rent. Read Original text

At a cost, real estate courses aim to bring professional standards

Thu, 19 November 2015

in-sithaIn a profession that has long seen unlicensed real estate agents from tuk tuk drivers to open Facebook groups saturating the profession, local universities and real estate agencies are clamoring to attract and groom the next generation of agents. With fees ranging from $250 to $1000, these classes aim to teach the in and outs of the profession through business courses and lengthy intensive seminars. However, some students find that they need a more thorough education before committing to the profession.
In Sitha, vice president and senior valuer of World Trust Estate teaches courses at both the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA) and Western University.

At Western University’s three-credit 48-hour course, he focuses on basic knowledge of the market and industry trends to provide a general overview.

“The students will have a better understanding of the real estate market in the area; why there are many companies investing on this sector, and why there are many investors investing in this country,” said Sitha. “Real estate is an important subject globally. That’s why countries like Malaysia and Singapore teach [these] subjects.”

Out of all the lessons that the students can take away, Sitha reminds them time and time again of the importance of ethics to steer agents away from becoming entangled within legal predicaments, something that is rising as often unchecked investor cash flows in from overseas.

“The most crucial duty of a real estate agent is to legitimise developments and investment,” he said, adding that to do so, an agent has to verify if the developer is properly licensed and has obtained permits from the authorities.

Another thing he stresses is that agents need to do their homework and investigate a developer’s international and local track record, because “measuring a client’s financial status is a very important thing to be sure of,” something that can be difficult for smaller projects or new entrants into the scene.

Meanwhile, at CVEA the classes are geared towards career development and valuation. The students range from company managers, to government officials and bankers who wish to increase their knowledge in a fast growing market. His class is usually full of students, he said. Taught one day a week at a cost of $200 to $250, once completed, students receive CVEA certification.

Century 21 Cambodia, an international franchise, is another company offering classes for current and prospective agents. Learning Director, Grace Rachny Fong, said that their best selling and well-known course is “How to be a professional real estate agent” at $295 for a full day intensive.

Other workshops last for three days at a total of 36 hours. Once completed, participants receive certification that is recognised in all 75 countries in which Century 21 operates.

Century 21 also offers 16-day, seven course packages to the tune of $990. The majority of the students, Fong said, vary from college graduates, company managers, doctors and dentists, as wells as current investors.

Se Penglong, a business major at Western University and one of Sitha’s many students, said that real estate classes have provided an insight into the sector and the terms, conditions and responsibilities involved in a real estate deal; something which he sees as beneficial as the sector grows.

“We can see rapid growth in infrastructure and construction,” he said. “At the same time, we can also see an increase in foreign and local investment.”

Meanwhile, Ry Socheat, also a business major, said that although he has learned a lot, he doesn’t yet have the confidence to delve into the world of real estate.

“While the course has been valuable, the lessons only cover a small part of a complex sector,” he said.

Kong Sovanatey, who is pursuing a degree in hotel management, explained that while she now has a grasp of the fundamentals, when it comes to purchasing or looking for property, she would still prefer to seek out a professional real estate agent.

Um Vuthdara, a professor of Economics at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, said that the real estate courses through both universities and agencies are a good start because “we should have developed these skills many, many years ago”.

While the construction sector has taken centre stage, becoming one of the major contributors towards GDP growth, he explained that no country can develop “without good human capital”.

With 13 years of experience as a professor, he said that to support real estate development, “education and training needs to also include direct practical work,” noting that while it is up to a university or agency to provide quality programs, a course just provides a general guideline.

It is up to the “students to practice their work with the private sector and investors,” he said, adding that is when the value of a real estate course really comes into play.  Read Original text

Catering to the customer

Thu, 19 November 2015

ilforno-siemreapRestaurant owners in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap must choose between cheaper and offbeat locations, or pay the price for tourist traffic

Faced with rising property prices, many of the Kingdom’s new restaurateurs looking to set up shop in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are forced to choose between high rental rates in areas with high expat and tourist traffic or whether they want to step outside the highest rental zones and give their customers a reason to come to them.

In Siem Reap, retail space is heavily centred around Pub Street, and the surrounding laneways, according to David Murphy of International Property Services (IPS) Cambodia, an agency with offices in Siem Reap and the capital.

“In a city with far fewer expats than Phnom Penh, this is where the money really gravitates for restaurateurs,” he says.

For those cooking in Phnom Penh, their scope, primarily, is around the Riverside district, Boeung Keng Kang and the central suburbs of Duan Penh and Tonle Bassac. “However,” notes Murphy, “where these businesses ultimate choose to set up depends on their products and who they are catering for – as most expats are not particularly attracted to the Riverside area.”

For this reason, rental prices in these affluent areas are growing faster than those on Riverside, spurred by high demand. “[This] suggests that [food and beverage] businesses in Phnom Penh are realising there is a strong market in Phnom Penh that lies outside of the tourist dollar.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

A variety of wines awaits diners at Il Forno Restaurant. The restaurant has two branches in Siem Reap as well as Phnom Penh. Photo Supplied

For Edward Carminati, managing director of Il Forno Restaurants in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, BKK1 was the preferred location for his second Italian restaurant destination after great success in Siem Reap.

“We didn’t choose to set up on Riverside,” says Carminati, “because we know, from our experience with our tourist driven venue in Siem Reap, that tourists primarily want to eat Asian food, and their spending limit are often smaller than that of the expat community.”

“In fact,” continues Carminati, “BKK1 offers us access to a whole new market.” In Siem Reap, 90 per cent of Il Forno’s customers are tourists – the other 10 per cent are expats, who predominantly work in the NGO sector. In Phnom Penh, Carminati’s new venue caters to 80 per cent expats, 10 per cent Khmer and a measly 10 per cent tourist traffic.

“In Phnom Penh,” says Carminati, “the expat community has much higher spending power than we are used to in Siem Reap. Here you have the NGOs, but you also have the corporates. The long-term expats are looking for a taste of home, and an ambient, authentic dining experience – we can offer that all year round.”

Carminati confirmed that his costs of doing business were 300 per cent higher in Phnom Penh’s BKK1 than they are in Siem Reap, but the profit available in Phnom Penh easily legitimses these rates.

In Siem Reap, the market is far less complex. Pub Street is the pinnacle of demand thanks to a high turnover of affluent visitors, but likewise rental rates.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Visitors enjoy a relaxing dinner at Il Forno Restaurant in Siem Reap. Photo supplied

“It is becoming an extremely hard area to break into for new business ventures,” says Murphy, “as Pub Street has quickly been deemed premium real estate leaving few owners willing to sell, and rental rates climbing every new term.” This means new food and beverage enterprises have no choice but to move off the main street, where rental rates are lower – but so is foot traffic.

However, in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, some restaurant owners are showing that it is not always crucial to have your property in the hottest areas.

“Those businesses with high quality user reviews, and effective marketing, can take cheaper space in side streets off Pub Street, or a lesser known part of Phnom Penh, and customers will still find them,” believes Murphy.

Carminati said Il Forno’s less prominent retail space in Siem Reap, launched in 2011, located down a laneway off Pub Street, has been a blessing in disguise. “Our rental rates are more reasonable than on Pub Street, although growing fast, and, in fact, our location offers customer’s privacy, relative peace and tranquility, something very hard to offer when your restaurant sits directly on Pub Street. This keeps us well-reviewed, which makes tourist willing to come and find us off the main drag.”

This is not unlike the booming food and beverage market in downtown Melbourne in the 1990’s, says Murphy. Spurred by the coffee culture boom, “any new cafe owners in the central Melbourne [food and beverage] industry either bought into prime retail areas at huge cost – or did something very clever and unique to service their clients while they sat in the lower rental zones.” James Whitehead, Realestate.com.kh.  Read Original text