The Kepner Tregoe experience

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Currently, Kelly and I are looking for an apartment to move into, which will be our home for the next two to three years. We’ve only been in KL for five days and we’ve been apartment hunting twice, with Kelly putting in an early session a few weeks ago when she was over for work.

We have an awesome real estate agent named Jill, from Jade Realty, doing all the heavy-lifting. She’s taken us to maybe 12 apartments so far, with a further seven or eight shown to Kelly those few weeks ago. She’s been great, and let me tell you something — she’s a straight shooter. She doesn’t muck about. It’s all rush-rush-rush until we get inside a place, then it’s calm and collected while we look around and ask questions. Once we’re done, it’s back to rush-rush-rush again. Happy madness.

Every apartment has a powder room near the front door consisting of a toilet and basin. Every one. And that’s not all. Every apartment has an en suite for each bedroom! In a three bedroom place, that’s a total of at least four bathrooms. I say at least because every apartment has maid’s quarters, and even they have their own en suite!

Wait, what? Maid’s quarters? Uh-huh. It’s common to have a maid in KL, especially if you have children. Thankfully, Kelly and I haven’t fallen into that trap, so people like us tend to use the maid’s quarters modest 2 x three-metre room for storage. Which is handy, ‘cos we have 70-odd boxes of stuff traversing the Indian Ocean as I type, and we want to keep some of them for when we move back to Melbourne. So yeah, maid’s quarters…

Most apartments come with two kitchens — wet and dry — the former for ‘heavy’ cooking as Jill puts it, which can be closed off to block intense spice and frying smells from invading the living space, and the latter for preparing salads, microwaving etc. Some places have an awesome view of the city, and a couple even had their own private lift (always wanted one of those!). It’s like New York (or rather, what I expect NY to be after seeing a few Sex and the City episodes), except humid-er. Hmmm.

In terms of suitability, probably half of the apartments we’ve seen didn’t made the initial cut onto the ‘consideration’ list. The reasons range from price (too expensive), to facilities (pool is too small to do laps in [too small, never thought that’d be something I’d say]), to location (vicinity to public transport and restaurants). We talked over dinner and into the night and eventually got it down to five. From the five, we painstakingly went through pros and cons to remover a further two. As lovely as they were, we needed to make a decision. It was becoming much harder to cull, because we liked the last five for different reasons. It was no longer an apples with apples comparison.

The trusty pros and cons list had been a great tool up to this point, but the apartments on the short-list were simply to much for the handy, but admittedly simple, pros and cons method. We had to switch to something else. Kepner Tregoe.

The Kepner Tregoe technique, in a nutshell, is a way of decision making whereby you rate the variables from highest to lowest, from 10 to say 1 in order of importance, and then score each possibility’s variables. Ratings and scores can be equal, so two things can each have a score of 9. For instance, if a lap-pool is your most important variable, a 10 is given. You then award each apartment’s pool a score between 10 and 1, so pool A could score a 10), but pool B isn’t long enough for laps so it scores a 2. And on you go down the list, logically rating all the variables for all the apartments.

The next step is to multiply the scores with the corresponding importance rating (pool importance is 10, multiplied by pool A’s score of 10, equals 100. It seems convoluted, but I found it removed all emotions from the task at hand.

Here is a table showing the final scores:


Houston, we have a problem. There’s only 16 points between the top two scores. That’s just 2.7% difference! Too close to call. Kepner Tregoe, you’ve failed us.

The two remaining apartments — Hampshire Residences, and The Pavilion — are difficult to choose between because they each do something better than the other. It’s apples vs oranges.

One has the most beautiful pool you could hope for in a big city. A pool that subliminally invites you to swim in it. A pool that’ll make your budgie-smugglers shed a tear. The other has a proper wet/dry kitchen that will be perfect for cooking, making sushi, and entertaining all of you when you come and stay. One is a luxury, desirable item, the other is a day-to-day functional item. Pool vs Kitchen.



So, in the end, a plea. Please, help us to decide which apartment to live in. Leave a comment and tell us which is best, pool or kitchen.