Pro-tips From Seasoned Buyers on Buying Property

Buying a house is a big decision and you can't be too prepared. We've got some pro-tips to help you get the best property for your money.

Do you feel like being a property investor? Or perhaps you would just like to buy property knowing you made the right choice. The thought of buying a new house could feel like a daunting undertaking when you’re not entirely sure what to ask and read up on.

Seasoned buyers tend to have a very good grasp on the concept and have an idea of what they should be looking for when purchasing a house. The list below may not apply to all, but a former real estate agent shed some light on what the seasoned players look into when buying a property.

Are You Buying for Own Occupation or Investment?

The first thing you need to consider when buying property is to classify it as an investment or something to be used for yourself.

If the property is going to be an investment then you would be less concerned about a lot of factors, as long as the unit is able fetch a good number of tenants and have a good return on investment. If you are intending to buy the unit to live in, the variables change significantly and a lot of wants and needs should be taken into consideration.

For example, people seeking to buy for rental income tend to focus on the rent price the area fetches and nearby amenities such as an LRT station or shopping mall. You would care a lot less about the quality or developer workmanship of the house/unit.

Though amenities will still play a role when you are buying a home for yourself – you’d certainly pay much more attention to the condition of the house/unit than you would the possible rental returns.

Know the Title Type

Familiarise yourself with the type of property title attached to the said unit or house you are looking to purchase. If the unit has a freehold title, you will be able to purchase it with no restrictions. If you are looking at leasehold units, be sure you know how many years are left on the lease because a renewal can be very expensive.

Banks have a restriction on the minimum number of years remaining on leasehold titles that can be financed so do cross check the details with your respective banks. In general, banks would consider properties which have a minimum of 50-60 years remaining on the lease for resale.

If you are a non-Bumiputera looking to buy pre-owned property, make sure you check if you are purchasing a Bumiputera unit. It takes a significant amount of time to apply for a title change a Bumiputera title to a non-Bumiputera title so avoid the hassle where you can. Do bear in mind, on some occasions, after two years the title application may still be rejected and you would have to start property hunting all over again.

Where Should Your House Face?

North, South, East ,West? That depends on how much weight you personally put into Feng Shui or any other such beliefs.

In general, for a condominium, apartment or any other high rise accommodation, the better alternative would always be the view of the swimming pool. At this point you probably think it is for the view of the lovely ladies in their bikinis. Well, that is just a plus point.

When buying a unit, the sellers are bound to promote the beauty of the greenery outside or the amazing view of the KLCC skyscraper building from your balcony. While, the view may be breath taking now, there may be future building plans that may come up in a few years, which takes away that view you initially thought you were buying.

Even if you are buying to rent or sell later on – taking note of nicer views and Feng Shui pleasing placement can fetch you a lot more than if you paid no attention to these things.

Proximity to Public Transport

This is something that most people are all too familiar with. When buying a unit, they are concerned about having public transport close to them which gives them ease of accessibility. Being an investor or home owner, this may seem like a good selling point until you live through the horror.

Being too close to the action may diminish the value of one's property. The noise factor that the train station emits and the shaking grounds you may feel on occasion, may help rock the baby to sleep but will definitely wake you up at 6am when their operations begin everyday (weekends included!).

Situations such as these tend to put pressure on price as many people do not want to buy a unit such as that to live in. As a rule of thumb, a five minute walking proximity from the property to public transport would be ideal.

High Floor vs Low Floor

People tend to get their thoughts in a twist if they should purchase a unit on a higher or lower floor. Units on the higher floors tend to enjoy better privacy as they are not affected by beaming lights, people staring down into their units and further away from the passing vehicles honks and engine noises.

Lower floors tend to have the added worry of security concerns as they are more susceptible to break-ins and robberies. The units on the lower floors are easier to access through balconies and windows as compared to higher floors. On the bright side, in case of an emergency like a fire you have the upper hand of getting out of the building first.

If you're looking to invest and rent it out, you might not concern yourself on what floor you are obtaining your unit. On the other hand, if you are intending to stay there, it would boil down to what you preference is.

Renovation Cost

The renovation cost factor would ultimately be determined by the fact if you have chosen to live in the unit yourself or not.

If the unit is going to be bought for investment purposes, it will less likely be renovated as the tenants who rent would not require the extra designs. The only minor renovations you may encounter is to fix up the unit for leakages, painting of the unit and other minor jobs.

There are some owners who choose to fully renovate investment units as well. A properly renovated unit could fetch a higher rental fee as well as a higher selling price. The problem with renovating, it may cause the owner some difficulty when selling or renting the unit as it drives up the asking price.

However, if the unit is going to be bought for your own use, then the renovations cost needs to be considered as part of your initial investment (if required). This would ultimately affect your overall budget and monthly mortgage commitments.

Take Note of Superstitious Malaysian Beliefs in Reference to Your Unit

Malaysians tend to be a little queasy about particular superstitious beliefs and this can differ from culture to culture but knowing some of common ones will help you make the right decision about your home/unit.

For instance, houses facing T-junctions are a general no-no; unit, house or floor numbers with a 4 or 13 (although, some developers are now renumbering these bad luck numbered units and floors to help you out); places near cemeteries or facing cemeteries; or even places rumoured to be haunted or the scene of a violent death or suicide. Although the latter will be easy to cover up in time; some records may exist to cause trouble when you want to sell or rent your unit.

Not everyone may be sensitive to these things and we’re not saying you won’t ever find a renter or buyer if you did buy any unit/home with the above ‘afflictions’ but it may just make your unit/house just that much less attractive than others in the market. Of course, if you plan to live in it forever and ever with no care for resale value; the choice is yours.

Feeling Like a Seasoned Player Yet?

The pointers above won't make you a full-fledged qualified property investor but it may give you some insights on what to look out for when you take on your next purchase.

There are many factors to be considered when buying a home, it is important to take a little time to weigh the pros and cons on some of these factors. Different people would have needs and wants and therefore the factors when picking out a home could vary significantly.

As the article in The Star mentioned how property prices are begining to stabilise, it may be a good time to sharpen up your skills and start hunting for your next purchase.

Have a few better points? Share with us your point of view and what do you consider important when looking at a property in the comments section below.

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