Tuesday, May 27, 2008

'Cash'ing in on Homes

Vietnam time: 6:00 PM Wednesday
DC time: 7:00 AM Wednesday

We went to a great restaurant in the old quarter last night called the Green Tangerine. It had this amazing prefixed menu of soup, scallops, spring rolls and something beef. Another one of the best meals I've ever had.
Thanks to MetroDad for the recommendation.

The food here is so flavorful and again. I'm reminded as I travel internationally how much Americans eat. The portions here are so much less and yet, completely adequate. I will say that international meals definitely change the way your body processes food...OK, we'll just leave it at that.

We didn't get back until almost midnight, so I was little tired this morning. As expected on our first free night, the class has cliqued off exactly the way we expected. Don't fool yourself that even at 40 years old, things don't organize themselves exactly the same the way they did in high schools. Three main groups emerge and Stephanie & I have of course, named the groups.

The jocks all went to Bobby Chins steak house. There are four main guys who head up the group and two others always seem to hang along. The chess club consists of the rest of the guys. They were still at the hotel when we left and most ate dinner in the hotel. Steph calls us the "Mean Girls" which is the four main girls, myself and Shane who helps administer the program. We by no means trash people anymore then the other groups, but the name seems to fit.

Four others seem to do their own thing independently. They are affectionately known as the foreign exchange students and library geeks. You'd think we'd past all this by now...but we're not.

Today, the group met with two other Vietnamese companies. Vietnam Land Company Limited and CB Richard Ellis (Vietnam). Real estate is a huge issue in Vietnam. As values change, most people are no longer living in multi-generational families, so young couples are purchasing homes for the first time. As mentioned previously, banks are not readily used and that is directly reflected in mortgage industry.

Less than 1% of all of housing purchase go through a bank or mortgage company. Everyone here pays in cash. A three bedroom apartment will go for about $2000/square meter. (Seriously, it's a lot but remember I got a B in Finance so you don't want me converting this.) 30% deposit is given on signing, 30% at 6 months and 30% at 18 months. Companies have almost full payment by the time the unit is complete which provides for amazing cash flow. It takes almost 2-3 for complexes to be ready. We saw the models for the 24-story building being constructed. For the record, the model was furnished by IKEA.

This complex on the right is another strange but common occurrence. You can buy the shell and then build the apartment yourself. This helps families save money on the purchase of property...whatever. We renovated a kitchen once; I don't think I would go this route.

Companies are financing these complexes through partnerships with investments firms and the creation of power plants. By partnering with global hedge fund companies, these local construction companies can leverage the branding and build partnering relationships that otherwise are not available in this country.

Prior to our visit with CB Richard Ellis, we had about an hour to kill so they dropped us off at a mall. A bunch of us thought shopping for Izod and Nike was a little silly, so we headed two blocks off to the art district. It doesn't take me a long time to find a piece of art I like. Larry, I followed the "must be less than $500 rule" and purchased this without your approval. It is an oil based canvas featuring three workers in a flower field. The fields are done in molding paste to allow them to 'pull' off the canvas. I couldn't be happier.

My bathroom (like everything else) kicks ass. There is a giant walk-in shower with a rainfall spout--we are totally getting one of these, Larry--and big jacuzzi tub and two sinks. One of my strange quirks in hotels is that I will actually use both sinks; one of shaving and one for brushing my teeth. I'm not sure why that is, but I feel compelled to do it each time. I won't do it if Larry is there, but when I travel by myself, I don't want to exclude either sink. Weird, isn't it?

We're heading to the famous water puppet show tonight. More on that in the next installment.

For those who asked, those 'baskets' outside my window in the water are actually small boats. People use them as transportation in the rivers.

And if you think your commute sucks, try these:



Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

In about two days, we'll hit the three year anniversary of breaking ground on our addition. It's still not finished, and when I say "still not finished," I mean the upstairs bathroom is still a shell and the siding's not completely up yet. Someone shoot me. What I'm saying here is that there's no way in a blue hell I'd EVER buy a shell and finish it myself. EVER.

I don't get the two sinks thing, really. Mr. Chili and I decided to go with only one sink (that is, if the frickin' bathroom EVER gets finished!) because, well, we know how to share. Besides, I hate cleaning ONE sink - let's not add unnecessarily to the work load, shall we?

7:47 AM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

Glad you enjoyed Green Tangerine. If you have more free time for another dinner, try Hang Bo 66. I think you'll enjoy it!

10:38 AM  
Blogger Bacchus said...

Ok I'm officially jealous now.

1. I want a double sink!! I don't share well. I still miss having seperate bathrooms.

2. I love that painting.

3. The Mean Girls, nuff said!

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the painting, It will go well in our future home. I too like the rainfall shower head.

I do hope you are still learning as well as shopping?

Have Fun... I'll start saving for the bills (HAHA)


8:23 PM  

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