There are two broad categories of property sale: sales by a developer of newly constructed properties and sales by individual owners of existing properties.
In Malaysia, it is common for developers to sell properties “off the plan” which means you purchase the property before it is built. Under the Housing Developers Act, property developers are required to complete the construction of these properties within three years of the purchaser signing the Sales and Purchase agreement. Purchasers are required to make periodic progress payments throughout the three-year period as the architects confirm that progress has been made on the overall project construction. Usually 5% of the price is held by solicitors for up to 18 months after completion to cover any defect
The Malaysian government is encouraging developers to change to a “build then sell” policy which means that they will complete construction before making the sale. The suggestion is that the purchaser then pays a 10% payment to secure the property and the balance is only payable when the property is completed.
Purchase of existing properties usually involves a down payment of 10% of the purchase price (this may be made in two installments – 3% with letter of offer and 7% within two weeks). The remaining 90% is payable within three months. After that period, then interest would become payable on the outstanding balance. Before buying an existing property you should ensure there will be no problems in obtaining the necessary State approval to acquire it as a foreigner.
Foreigners can acquire both freehold and leasehold land in Malaysia. Most leasehold land is owned by the state in which the property is located and leases are usually for 60 or 99 years.
At the end of the lease it is fairly easy to renew the lease for a further 99 years upon payment of a premium which is based on the current market value of the property. It is also possible to arrange for a new lease during the period of the existing lease.
This involves cancelling the existing lease and applying for a new one. Certain types of land cannot be purchased by foreigners.
Malaysians use the following terms to describe the types of residential property available:
These houses usually share a wall with the adjoining property on both sides. They are typically one or two floors high but occasionally they consist of three floors. Many terraced houses in major cities like Kuala Lumpur are being renovated.
Some of the end units (which often have extra land with them) are often reconstructed to substantially increase their built-up area with a corresponding reduction in their garden space.
These are essentially the same as terraced houses except they tend to be more upmarket and expensive. Some may have an internal patio.
This is short for semi-detached and refers to a house which is joined on one side to another property. Two homes make up one building.
This is a detached standalone house on its own land. Unlike some countries where the term means a single-storey, smaller dwelling, a bungalow can be any size in Malaysia. Some are extremely large with built-up areas exceeding 10,000 square feet.
There are a great variety of apartments available in nearly all major towns and cities. They vary from small and very cheap to extremely large and correspondingly expensive. However, do take note that many apartments are priced below the minimum purchase limit for foreigners. Newer, more expensive apartment buildings usually have security and offer various facilities like a pool, squash and tennis courts, and a gym.
Condominiums / Condos
Unlike some countries, where there is a legal distinction between a condominium and an apartment (flat), in Malaysia the terms can be interchangeable. Usually, using the term condominium means the development has more facilities.
This generally refers to developments which have controlled access with a guard house and fencing surrounding the whole development. This usually means security will be better, but it is advisable to check exactly what security is offered. Consider how easily you gain access, ask how often guards patrol the development, and what system they have to let visitors enter.
4 Places to go for a Full Belly Laugh in KL & Selangor
Whip out your oxygen mask and get ready to hear some rambunctious wisecracks! Check out these stand-up comedy venues that we've compiled...
5 Ways to Stay Healthy on a Budget in Malaysia
Staying fit is probably one of the most popular resolutions people have when they usher in a new year.
1.9KCulture & Religion
Hear the Music Sing at Johor Bahru: International Festival City 2017
The Southern shores of Malaysia come alive with music, arts, life and cheer this 2017 as Johor Bahru: International Festival City celebrates...
Marisa Ng: An Expression of Love
Since I last met Marisa Ng in 2015 to discuss her exhibition on figurative paintings done in charcoal, she has grown both...
Travel Checklist for Your Health Trip to Malaysia
Proper preparation for a health holiday requires a little more than for a regular holiday, and it’s of a different kind. Here...
31.2KCulture & Religion
How to Attend an Indian Wedding Like a Pro
Indian weddings are not just a typical one day event, but rather a week-long celebration. They are full of several rituals, colourful...
4.1KCulture & Religion
Music Without Borders – Photos of the Rainforest World Music Festival
Frequent festival-goer, David Bowden, recaps his experiences from the eclectic Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak as it celebrates its 20th anniversary...
7.5KCulture & Religion
How to Attend a Chinese Wedding like a Pro
So you’ve just been invited to a Chinese wedding and we have to say, you’re in for a treat! Generally, Chinese weddings...
22.8KCulture & Religion
9 ‘Rules of Engagement’ When Visiting a Malay Home
Now that it's Raya, here’s a refresher on the ‘do’s and do-not's' when it comes to visiting a Malay home or attending...
Living In Malaysia: Dream or Nightmare?
I’ve been thinking about the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of living here, from a reasonably critical but hopefully balanced...