So, thinking about buying your own property? Be it a condo, department or landed property the main thing I’d say to you is start thinking about it as early as possible! I’ve been moving towards getting my own place for more than 2 years now including saving up, looking around, finding a suitable place, negotiating, getting all the legal things done, looking for contractors and so on.
But well, let’s start at the beginning.
The first choices you have to make are:
- Landed or Condo/Apartment
- New or Completed Property
After you’ve decided you can then narrow down to what you desire as in single story/double story, link, end-lot or for condos how many sq/f and what amenities you need.
Some of the above will of course be governed by your budget, but honestly I suggest you lay out what you want and what you need first then start looking at how much it’s going to cost you. If it’s way over your budget, then adjust the ‘want’ parts out of the equation and keep the ‘needs’. Or if you can afford to wait a little longer until you have a bigger budget to accommodate everything you want..I suggest you do so (if you are planning to live there).
Your budget can somewhat be calculated by how much mortgage you can get, so I recommend you use mortgage calculators to estimate how much you can loan. I’ll cover more about mortgages in a later post. Bear in mind most banks will give you between 33-40% commitment on your salary before tax/epf so if you have existing car loan etc – take that into account.
On that note, the information, suggestions and experiences here are for buying a property to live in – not for financial gain, renting out or investment purposes.
The factor which will most influence in the price of the property you wish to buy is AREA as they say in UK – Location, Location, Location! That’s the biggest factor when it comes to price, and the same goes in Malaysia. Just look at the difference for example for a same sized house in say TTDI or Bangsar and then in Rawang or Shah Alam it can easily be 300-500% different.
For me personally I’d love to live in Desa Park City..but even at the lowest level it’s just too expensive, I could afford a Condo there – but that just doesn’t cut it. I want my own landed, freehold property!
As for condo vs landed these are the main points I considered:
- Generally more secure
- Less maintenance worries (no roof, no need to paint outside etc)
- Cheaper to renovate/furnish
- Poor access (carrying shopping/heavy items can be a chore)
- Not as much space
- No garden/yard
- Only 1 car park space
- Difficult parking for friends/visitors
- Can have problems with keeping pets/dogs
- Much more space
- Yard/porch area
- Ample parking for 2 cars and easy access for guest/visitor parking (this was one of our criteria when choosing a house)
- No problems with owning/keeping pets/dogs
- More maintenance worries (termites/roofing/security)
- Less secure generally (another criteria when looking for a house = gated)
- More expensive
- More expensive to renovate/furnish
As for new vs existing, it really depends on time scale. New properties are best bought before the first brick is laid (that’s when you’ll get the best price and deal) so expect at least 2-3 years before you can move in. Plus it’ll most likely not be a prime area unless it’s a condo and you’ll have to do a lot of research on the developer, the development, the area the development is in and so on. For me, I chose an existing property because it’s in the area I like and the whole process will be a lot faster. If I could have afforded it at the time though, I would have definitely bought a landed property in Desa Park City before they started building..but alas at that time I couldn’t.
After I decided an existing landed was the way to go I started looking for areas, considering I currently stay in Bandar Sri Damansara and I’m quite happy with the area…but wouldn’t mind living in PJ.
We ended up looking all over and almost bought 2 houses (one in Taman Mayang and one in Bandar Kinrara 5) both for the same price RM325k (one was 1.5k storey in PJ, nice location – the other was double storey link, in excellent condition including furnishings – both were move in condition). Plus some other areas like SS17 and some places in Puchong. It’s a good idea to have a look at as many houses in as many areas as possible, some guides say you could look at up to 100 properties before you find the one that you want.
Anyway more on that in the next post, this post is about getting started.
The resources I suggest you use when looking are (in order):
For me online iProperty is the best site by far, it allows you to search by price bracket, house type and location, gives pictures and good info generally and has a LOT of listings.
You can do a lot of research on iProperty as to how much certain properties cost in certain areas, set an absolute budget and search without keywords to give you an idea of which areas are within your reach and so on.
In the end we decided Bandar Sri Damansara was the best place for us, but slightly our of our budget..so we had to hold off a little longer and keep looking. We decided on the area because it has good road access (NKVE, LDP, Penchala & MRR2 are all very near), it has good restaurants, shops and general facilities and has a fairly decent private school.
Another factor once you’ve narrowed down the area is which sub area for, different sub-areas have different aged houses with different layouts, different feels and different levels of nearby amenities/security.
Once you’ve got to that level, the best bet is just to drive around and look for agents sign-boards for units that you like the look of. That’s how we found the best units and the more honest agents, those we found on iProperty tended to be a bit dodgy as you can see in the screen-shot above – Judy Chong is still on the prowl. You can read more about that on Kim’s blog here:
So do beware and don’t rush into anything, do a lot of research, do a lot of reading, visit a lot of properties get a feel for the layout and pricing and what fits within your budget.
The next step is choosing a suitable unit, negotiating a deal, appointing a lawyer and the rest of the process. Read up on forums too, two places I found invaluable are:
If you have any additional advice/tips/warnings to add to the above, please do so in the comments below.
You can follow all posts about the house here: