How Do Malaysians Prepare Themselves for First-Time Home Ownership?
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“Is this the right home for me? Can I really afford it? How I wish I had a crystal ball to see if this property’s value will appreciate or depreciate in the future!”
These are just some of the things that tend to run through one’s head when trying to decide on a property purchase.
Hence, it’s not surprising that many potential first-time homebuyers tend to adopt a wait-and-see approach – both in relation to their personal finances and the property market – before they commit to such a major investment.
However, such a cautious approach is not at all beneficial in today’s buyer’s market.
While new residential projects continue to be launched, there still remains a large number of unsold units in urban areas around Malaysia. This has caused a cooling of the Malaysian real estate market.
To counter this, the government is actively encouraging homeownership among Malaysians through its Home Ownership Campaign (HOC), which gives exemptions on stamp duties and instruments on securing loans.
All this means just one thing for potential first-time homebuyers: there’s no time like NOW to finally purchase your very first home!
It’s high time for you to take full advantage of these favourable circumstances. Read on to find out how to prepare yourself to make one of the best financial decisions of your life!
1) Prepare A Budget
It’s all about the money! The first step to owning your dream home is budgeting for it.
For starters, have a look at your savings. This will give you an idea of how much you can put towards the property’s downpayment (usually 10%) and other incidentals. These often include legal fees, stamp duties, insurance, and renovation costs.
Next, decide what would be a comfortable amount of money you can put aside every month to service your home loan.
Make a list of all your monthly expenses and figure out what you can spare. Don’t forget to also factor in monthly expenses for your new home, like utility bills and maintenance charges.
You can then do some simple calculations to find out the price range of properties which you can afford.
2) Do Your Research
Now close your eyes and imagine yourself in your dream home. How does it look like?
Do you see yourself in the compact convenience of a high-rise condo? Or with the wide open spaces of a landed property?
How about something close by to commercial spaces? Or somewhere closer to nature?
Read up about the pros and cons of all these different types of properties, and don’t forget to also check out the neighbourhoods – established amenities are very important!
Next, cross-reference this list with properties that are within your budget range. Be realistic – you may have to forego some criteria that are further down your list.
3) Compare Prices
You’re getting closer! Now you have a list of dream properties that you can afford. But which would be the best choice?
It would be easy to simply choose the cheapest of the lot, but the price tag doesn’t have to be your ultimate deciding factor.
Consider other things like appreciation potential, rental demand, number of parking lots, and ease of access. This will help you compare prices more intelligently. Ultimately, look for a property which is more value-for-money, rather than the cheapest price tag.
For added peace of mind, narrow your list down further to projects from experienced developers with great track records. Well-known and trusted developers like Mah Sing, which has been in the business for 25 years, is always THE safest bet.
4) Secure Funding
Failing to secure a home loan is often a major worry among first-time home-buyers. And this fear is not unfounded: around 60% of home loan applications are rejected by Malaysian banks yearly!
Home loan rejections can affect your credit score and may cause you to lose your property booking fees and deposits.
So, if you want to avoid being another statistic, make sure that you keep track of your credit scores before you actually approach a bank to take out a home loan.
The two main reports that tell the banks whether you’re a trustworthy person who’s able to make prompt repayments for your home loan are CCRIS and CTOS.
With healthy reports that can be achieved via paying all your bills on time, managing your debts so that it’s minimal as well as avoiding applications for new credit, you’ll be able to get that home loan approved in no time!
5) Identify Special Campaigns By Property Developers
Now that you’re equipped with a pre-approved loan and the knowledge to make a good purchase call, it’s time to make your decision!
Pro tip: If you’re spoilt for choice, look out for developers that run attractive campaigns offering special packages or lucrative rebates to buyers.