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Expatriate Malaysia Health Guide - 
Home Living

House Hunting!

    “This section will look at issue in around the area of housing and accommodation for expatriates.  Each month it will focus on different aspects of housing in Malaysia. This month we look at Real Estate Agents, Renting and how to get the best out of your rental budget!”

    Finding the house you want can be quite difficult and trying to say the least.  The first thing you need to do is find a good real estate agent.  We have listed some, there are others but these ones have been serving the expat community for some time and tend to have a good idea of what they’re doing.  Just remember if the agent you’re using is not showing you properties that are what you require, don’t hesitate to change.  A word of warning, if you do change and later you prefer something that the previous agent showed you go back to him to avoid any hard feelings.

    It is important to work with your agent.  There are a few questions that he or she will ask you.  Or better still you should have answered for him.

  1. Do you want to live in a house or an apartment?

  2. What is your budget?

  3. How many rooms do you have in mind?

  4. Do you have furniture?

  5. If no are you going to buy or rent furniture?

  6. Where will you be working?

  7. Do you have children?

  8. Where will they be going to school?

  9. Do you have a pet?

  10. Do you want a pool?

    The Real Estate agent the will be able to use the answers to narrow down potential properties.  To avoid wasting time clearly state important factors such as budget and the amount of bedrooms required.

    At this early stage in your expatriate experience in Malaysia there will be decisions that will effect greatly the next Two or Three years.  Referring questions 6 and 8, in many cases the place of work and the school are in two very different locations.  Here a tough decision will need to be made.  Will the working spouse be traveling far to work or will the children be traveling distances to school.  Fortunately there are many good international schools in different parts of KL so shop around there too.

    Questions 4 and 5: If you have furniture already then skip this section. If not then there is the possibility of buying or renting furniture.  Both have their pros and cons.  If your spend your own money and looking at shipping it back home then Malaysia will provide a great selection of modern and antique furniture.  If your furniture and rent come under budget then listen up.  Here is how you can stretch you housing allowance further.  Look at renting an unfurnished house or apartment; the cost will be considerably less, use the difference on renting furniture.  There is a company that specializes in expatriate needs and it can be found in the real estate section. 

    Question 9, do you have a pet?  For apartment buildings dogs are out but cats will most likely be allowed, so it’s important to check with the landlord.  Even for some of the landed property the landlord, if he or she is Malay or Muslim, may have a problem with you keeping a dog.  Again cats tend not to be a problem. 

    Other important factor to keep in mind is the traffic in the area.  The house might be great but if the traffic is a killer it will make your stay in Malaysia a little more taxing.

    One of the best things about house hunting in Malaysia is that you can always ask for a discount.  More often than not you’ll get a discount.  Other things you can do to get a better deal is to ask your landlord to install Astro (the satellite TV) or club membership. This is especially if the property is under your budget.  Work with the landlord, after all he wants your money; explain to him that you will pay more rent if he includes these added extras

    Watch out for next month were we go over the pros and cons of living in a house or an apartment.

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