Archive for 2012

Tips for first time housebuyers

April 28th, 2012 No comments

BUYING a house will most likely be the biggest single investment in a person’s life. But for first-time buyers, going about purchasing a home can be a procedural nightmare, especially without the proper planning or guidance.

The following are some simple tips for first-time buyers to consider before ploughing their money into their “dream home.”

Weighing your options

The first thing to do is to determine what exactly you are looking for.

“Visit a few property showrooms and also attend a few launched to see what’s available in the market. If you’re a first-time buyer, you’re probably looking for something below half-a-million ringgit,” says VPC Alliance (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd director James Wong.

Also, determine if you’re looking for landed property or an apartment.

“You need to weigh your options. An apartments comes with additional running costs, such as service charges – it’s part of a communal thing,” Wong points out.

“If you stay on landed property, the advantage is that there is no service charge. Furthermore, you may also have access to a garden of your own,” he adds.

Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents president Nixon Paul concurs that there are certain advantages to owning landed property.

“Landed property would make a better buy as you have control over your own house. With an apartment, the biggest consideration is the management running it. If there is no effective management, it could really go downhill,” he says.


With land getting increasingly scarce, more so within the Klang Valley area, affordability can be an issue. “With land getting more expensive, the chances of getting landed property below RM500,000 close to the city is slim,” says Wong.

He adds that a person’s distance from work should be factor to consider when buying property.

“You need to determine what is the commuting time to and from work that you can tolerate everyday,” he says.

Nixon however believes that it’s still possible to find property below RM500,000 within the Klang Valley.

“They’re available but you just need to look harder. You can find apartments within this price range in places like Kepong, Selayang and Puchong. You just have to go out further (from the city),” he says.

A viable option, says Wong, is to purchase property that will be located “not very far” from the proposed stations that will be built for the light rail transit (LRT) Ampang and Kelana Jaya line-extension and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) projects.

“Once these lines are up, there will be improved connectivity within the Klang Valley.”

He adds that property along the proposed lines won’t necessarily be expensive.

“The lines also go through the outskirts of the city and it would be good to study where the stations will be. If you live within 10-minutes driving distance of the stations, it won’t be a problem.”

Wong says a mistake in the past was that there weren’t sufficient parking facilities for the LRT lines.

“But I was informed that the future lines will also have parking facilities,” says Wong.

Another way for new housebuyers to around the issue of affordability is to try and apply for the My First Home Scheme.

Launched in March last year, the scheme allows young working adults obtain 100% financing from banking institutions to purchase their first home valued at a maximum of RM220,000 (for single applicants) or a maximum of RM400,000 (for joint applicants of husband and wife with household income below RM6,000 per month cumulatively).

Applications are made to participating banking institutions and upon approval, Cagamas – a national mortgage corporation – would provide a guarantee for the first 10% of the loan.

“It is a good move by the Government to promote home ownership,” says Wong. However, he notes that properties launched under the scheme are not located within the city.

“There were launches in Negri Sembilan and the Puchong area. However, if your workplace is within 5km of these homes, then why not,” he adds.

Inspect the property

If the property you’re buying is physically present (such as secondary property), it’s best to inspect it to ensure there are no shortcomings or flaws that will incur you additional unwanted costs.

“A house might look beautiful in pictures or from the outside, but you never know for sure until you take a closer look at it yourself,” says property investor Kamarul Ariff.

“It’s best to inspect the house inside-out, floor to ceiling. Check to see if the walls and fixtures are in good condition, or if the house is infected with white ants, for instance. Bring along a friend who’s a better judge of things like this, as it’ll save you a lot of unnecessary cost in the future.

“Also, it doesn’t hurt to inspect the property on a rainy day – a good way to find out if you’ve got leaks!”

Sorting out your finances

A major factor in the home-buying process is the issue of financing. Of course, one needs to have the financial resources first before going house-hunting.

Noteworthy is that effective January 1, Bank Negara has implemented its responsible lending guidelines, whereby loans are now approved based on net income compared with gross income previously.

The new guidelines are intended to help manage the household debt in Malaysia to reasonable levels.

“Currently, banks are tightening on housing loans and potential property buyers may not be able to secure up to 90% financing. Instead, they may only get between 70% and 80%. They now need to have as much as 20% cash or equity, unless its a gift or a loan from your parents,” says Wong.

But Nixon believes that securing a loan is not a problem, especially for young property buyers inspite of the new loan rules.

“From what we’ve been hearing, it’s not the younger generation that’s been having problems getting loans, but instead, the older generation.

“This is because the younger generation don’t usually have debts – at most it might be a car loan. We find that it’s the older generation, those with several ongoing loans or debt that have problems getting their loans approved under the new lending guidelines,” he says.

Bank officer Razlan Hashim says potential property buyers should ensure that their monthly loan payment will not be a burden on their spending. “You need to ensure that the home you’re buying is within your means,” he says.

Source: The Star

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Exco man: No ‘under-the-table’ money for projects

April 28th, 2012 No comments

THE public is advised not to fall prey by paying between RM5,000 and RM10,000 to unscrupulous syndicates which promise to secure low-cost (LC) or low medium-cost (LMC) units.

Penang Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai said several syndicate members were going around promising applicants that they would get a unit at certain projects for a fee.

“The public should not believe such scams.

“We have never introduced such a policy,” he told a press conference in Komtar.

He was commenting on talks that the public could pay ‘under-the-table’ money of between RM5,000 and RM10,000 to secure a unit in a project in Sungai Ara.

At the same press conference, Wong urged eligible individuals to submit applications for i-Park (an LC project) in Sungai Ara and Taman Bukit Erskine (an LMC pro-ject) near Lebuhraya Halia in Tanjung Tokong as soon as pos-sible.

“To date, 1,500 people have obtained the PN1 forms (for new LC applicants) while another 866 applicants have submitted their appeal to the Penang Housing Department for i-Park units.

“Meanwhile, out of the 554 LMC units in Taman Bukit Erskine, 303 applicants have accepted the offer,” he said.

“The remaining 251 units are still available to eligible applicants,” he said.

The Taman Bukit Erskine pro-ject, developed by Ivory Villas Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary company of Ivory Properties Group Berhad, is now 30% completed and ex- pected to be fully completed in 2014.

Source: The Star

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The Qbees

April 25th, 2012 25 comments

The Qbees, a luxury condominium by SP Setia located along Jalan Bayan Lepas, within the established township of Teluk Kumbar, Penang. This development comprises 98 residential units with built-up size ranging from 1,119 sq.ft. onwards.

Property Project : The Qbees
Location : Teluk Kumbar, Penang
Property Type : Condominium
Tenure : Freehold
Built-up Area: 1,119 sq.ft. onwards
Total Units : 98
Developer : Kay Pride Sdn. Bhd. (SP Setia)

[ No photo available ]

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Penang most liveable city in M’sia

April 24th, 2012 No comments

GEORGE TOWN: Penang has, for the first time, beaten Kuala Lumpur for two consecutive years as the country’s most liveable city, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

Quoting the annual ECA International Location Ratings research, Lim said Penang had maintained its position as Asia’s eighth most liveable city, while Kuala Lumpur had dropped from ninth to the 10th spot.

“We should feel proud — for the first time in history, we are number one in Malaysia for two years running.

“It’s not a fluke, it’s a fact,” Lim told a press conference in Komtar.

He said listed criteria for the ranking included quality of living, climate, health services, isolation, social network and leisure facilities, infrastructure and political tensions.

According to the survey, Singapore maintained its grip on the top spot and also retained its global ranking as the number one most liveable city in the world.

Kobe, Japan stayed at the second spot of Asia’s most liveable cities, followed by Hong Kong, Tokyo and Yokohama (tied at fourth), Taipei and Macau.

Seoul, that was ranked as Asia’s 10th most liveable city in 2011, edged Kuala Lumpur to tie with George Town in this year’s ranking.

ECA International, which carries out the location rating annually, is an international consulting firm that specialises in providing and developing solutions for the management and assignment of employees around the world.

Lim said Penang’s ranking as the nation’s most liveable city showed that protests against the state government that had taken place since the last general election were done by only a “small group of troublemakers.”

Source: The Star

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Elevators at home are cool contraptions — beats taking the stairs

April 24th, 2012 No comments

HAVING an elevator at home, while still a lifestyle choice rather than one born out of necessity, is nevertheless a trend that is becoming increasingly popular with many upscale residential developments featuring this novelty in its houses.

“One usually finds lifts in the homes of the affluent and these people usually buy things based on what it will say about their lifestyle. An elevator at home is slowly becoming a must for them and can be seen as keeping up with the times,” said Jerry Lau, general manager of property developers AQRS.

The company has under its belt, two residential projects, both featuring elevators.

“Lifts are especially useful for the elderly who have difficulty climbing up several flights of stairs. It also comes in handy for carrying heavy stuff upstairs. Though not many people would like to think about it, sometimes healthy young people can get injuries that prevent them from using the stairs easily and an elevator would come in handy,” added Lau.

He explained that the value of an elevator in a home is one that benefits the developer and homeowner even in the long run.

Executive chairman of BHL Group of Companies, the developer of USJ One Park Twin Villas in USJ 1, Subang Jaya, Datuk Lim Boo Kian said that having a lift in a house gives it an exclusive feel and is a design that matches a modern lifestyle.

According to supplier Atlantic Elevator Sdn Bhd managing director M.C Lim, he landed his first job for a home elevator in 2001.

“However, the trend only kicked off in the last two to three years with whole landed property projects including one in its units. Before that, we only installed elevators in individual homes of those with a need or want for it,” he said.

As a person who started off wanting to work with diesel engines, Lim’s involvement in the lift department happened solely by chance due to an opening in that section and for the past 30 years, he has seen the evolution of elevators.

“Lifts used to be cumbersome things that required an extra room on the roof for the machinery. That was followed by the type requiring a bit more pit space. These days, however, new designs like the machine-roomless ones have come about to provide a more efficient ride without taking up too much space,” he said.

Installing a regular elevator for a three-storey home would cost about RM85,000 and this can go up to more than RM100,000 depending on the features, type and design.

“Currently, we find that there is a demand for elevators with glass doors and walls which helps reduce phobia as well as add an interesting focal point in the house,” added Lim.

He also said that the type of lifts that are in demand usually has to be disabled-friendly. They must have a permanent connection to either an emergency breakdown service or regular phone line to enable calls from inside the contraption.

Lau said that the type of lifts they used in their project in Taman Seri Gombak called Gombak Grove blends in seamlessly with the interior design of the home.

“The doors looks like any other in the house and does not stick out awkwardly. It features an open shaft concept and other safety points such as a sensor at its edges that will cause the lift to stop moving once pressure is applied,” he said.

Some lifts are even programmed to stop at the nearest floor and open its doors in the event of a power failure.

Many people would be surprised that the actual power consumption of an elevator is actually quite low.

“For the elevators we have installed, electricity consumption is only about half a sen for every floor it traverses,” revealed Lau.

Lim said that when in use, the elevator uses less than two kilowatts and is less than a boiling kettle’s energy consumption.

“As for maintenance, it is up to the customer how often they want to do it. Our general advice is to carry out regular maintenance checks every two months,” he said, adding depending on the elevator service provided, the cost usually starts from RM200.

He also said that installing elevators on existing properties was also possible. The considerations to be given are space requirement and budget.

“There are also a number of house owners who consult us before constructing their home to make space for possible future lift installation. It usually takes up to three months to manufacture an elevator and another month to install it,” he said, adding that currently China is the largest lift producing country.

Lim said that currently there are no laws that regulate the installation or maintenance of lifts in homes though there has been talk that the government plans on coming up with regulations particularly since the trend is picking up.

Lau sees the trend of having an elevator in a house continuing to rise.

“New developers are already including one in projects for super-link houses in the outskirts of the city. For us, there is a need to stay ahead of the game and be in touch with the market needs,” he added.

Source: The Star

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