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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tips for travellers&visitors to malaysia


The unit of currency is the Malaysian Ringgit indicated as RM, which is equivalent to 100 cents. Coins are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 sen and RM1. Currency notes are in RM1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Foreign currency and traveler's checks can be converted to Malaysian Ringgit at banks or authorized money changers throughout the country.

Airport Tax

An airport tax of RM5 and RM40 is charged upon departure for all domestic and international flight passengers respectively.


Local calls can be made from public phones, whether coin or card operated. International calls can be made from phone booths with card phone facilities or at any Telecom offices. Most hotels are equipped with IDD services with a minimal service charge. - Useful Phone Directory.You can get prepaid cards with cheapest rate from rm2-10 provided by local mobile phone services. Maxis, Digi or Celcom.

Tourist Police

Visitors who encounter unforeseen problems and difficulties can seek the Malaysian Tourist Police Unit with blue uniforms(Police Diraja Malaysia) for help.There are many booths for help.They often patrol tourist spots and will render assistance too, as well as safeguard tourists' security.

Business Hours

The country runs on a normal 8 hours a day system.Saturday is half day and Sunday is a rest day.In Kelantan, Terengganu, and Kedah states, Friday is a day of rest with Thursday as half days. Department Stores and supermarkets are open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Night life areas such as pubs,bistros,discos and clubs opened until 2 am in the morning.


Tipping is not a way of life in Malaysia, but is fast becoming one.

What to Wear

Malaysia has warm climate.Light, cool, and casual clothing like tshirt is recommended all year round. For more formal occasions, men should wear jackets, shirts slacks matching with ties or long-sleeved batik shirts whereas women should wear dresses.


It is generally safe to drink water straight from the tap, but it is safer to drink boiled filtered water,drinking bottles,mineral water or any bottled beverages sold in shops like 7-11.

Medical Services

Medical services are available in most towns at government hospitals and private clinics.Private clinics close at nine oclock.Different from some foreign countries,non-prescription drugs are available at pharmacies, supermarkets, hotels, and shopping centers.

Local Touch

Food hawkers selling traditional and local delicacies make up the everyday scenes in big or small towns throughout the country. One can try "teh tarik", a smoothened, creamed tea, and all kinds of roti such "roti canai","roti bomb","roti pisang" etc.The roti is a fluffy pancake prepared by a local person of Indian Muslim ancestry. Spicy Malay food, such as "nasi lemak" and various kinds of Chinese noodles and food are also popular.Such as the hokkien fried mee "char kuey teow" , "hokkien mee" , Penang "prawn mee", Ipoh "gei si hor fun" ,curry me and more

As Malaysia is a multi-religious country,As Malay as majority,chinese,indians and other races as minorities.Various Muslim mosques, Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, and Christian churches can be found almost anywhere. Despite the many changes and developments in the cities and big towns, Malaysia has many "kampung" (villages), jungles(Taman Negara), beaches(Pulau Redang,Perhentian,Tioman,Pangkor,Langkawi etc), and rice fields. Many houses in the "kampung" are built on stilts. Batik cotton fashion is popular in Malaysia . It can be used for casual wear, as well as formal functions.

Drug traffickers are sentenced to death by Malaysian Law.No weapons such as gun is allowed too.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

16 Tips on buying property in Malaysia

1. Before you decide to buy a house or property, please ensure that:

• The housing developer has a license and it is still valid.
• The housing developer has an advertisement and sales permit and it is still

2. Determine the house type that you plan to get:
For landed property such as bungalows, semi-detached houses and terrace
houses, the expected date of completion is 24 months from the date of signing of
the Sales and Purchase Agreement.

For subdivided building such as condominiums, flats, apartments and
townhouses, the expected date of completion is 36 months.
Buyers are advised to obtain from the housing developer the
complimentary brochures with all the pertinent information about the project such
the development's license number, and advertisement and sales permit.

3. Land status
Please ensure whether it is:-
Freehold land - it is in perpetuity.
Leasehold land – check the number of years left.
• Malay Reserve.
The status of the land can be checked at the Land Office or the State
Land Registrar.

4. Brochure Information
Brochures are given free by the developers. Please ensure the brochure has
the following information:
1. The Housing Development’s License number and the expiry date.
2. The advertisement and sales permit number and the expiry date.
3. Name and address of:
i. The licensed housing developer
ii. Authorized agents (if any)
iii. Those holding power of attorney (if any)
iv. The project management company (if any)

4. Land status
i. Freehold
ii. Leasehold – number of years left
iii. Encumbrances – whether the land has been mortgaged to the bank
for a loan

5. Location description
i. Building material specification
ii. Size of building
iii. Amenities and/or Services
6. Name of housing project (if any)
7. Expected date of completion
8. Price of each type of house
9. Number of units for each type
10. Reference number of the approved building plan and name of the local
The rights of buyers must be understood as contained in the Sales and
Purchase Agreement as per schedules G and H of the Housing Development
(Control and Licensing) Regulation 1989.

5. First Payment
The first payment of 10 per cent must be made upon signing of the Sales
and Purchase Agreement. Please ensure the date of signing of the SPA and the
date of first payment are the same.
Be aware that the housing developer is not allowed to collect any form of
payment without a Sales and Purchase Agreement being signed.

6. Architect Certification
Make sure any demand by the developer for installment payment is
supported by a certificate duly signed by an architect or a certified engineer.

7. Interest on Late Payment
If the buyer or end financier for the buyer fails to pay the developer the
progressive payment or installment within 21 working days from the date of the
written notice of payment from the developer, the buyer will be charged an
interest of 10 per cent per annum on the installment not paid.

8. Termination of the Sales and Purchase Agreement
Be aware that failure to make the progressive payment or interest charged
on late payment for a period of more than 28 days will give the developer the
right to terminate the Sales and Purchase Agreement. The developer must serve
the notice in writing by AR registered post of its intention to terminate the SPA.

9. Infrastructural Maintenance Fee
Buyers must pay the cost of maintaining the infrastructure from the date of
vacant possession till the date the responsibility is taken over by the local
authority or management corporation (in the case of a subdivided building).
Infrastructure is defined as:
1. For land and building - Road, driveway, drains, sewerage, pipelines and
sewerage tank for the housing development.
2. For subdivided building - Road, driveway, drains, sewerage, pipelines and
sewerage tank for the building.

10. Maintenance and Management Fee
From the date of vacant possession the buyer shall be responsible for
paying for services such as:
1. For land and building
i. Refuse removal, upkeep of drains and grass-cutting on the road
ii. The buyer is responsible for such payment until such responsibility
is taken over by the proper authority.
iii. The buyer must pay a six months’ deposit upon being handed
vacant possession for the services to be rendered. After six months,
if the services are still not taken over by the relevant authority, any
subsequent payment shall be payable on a monthly advance.
2. For subdivided building
i. Payment is for the cost of maintaining and managing the common
area and payment starts when vacant possession is handed over.
ii. The buyer shall pay one (1) month’s deposit and three (3) months’
advance in respect of the maintenance service charges and any
payment thereafter shall be payable on a monthly advance.
iii. Maintenance fee must be paid to the developer from the date of
vacant possession up until the formation of a management
corporation under the Strata Title Act 1985.
iv. Once the management corporation is formed under the Strata Title
Act 1985, maintenance services will be handled by the
management corporation and the buyer must pay the maintenance
fee to the management corporation and not to the developer.
Reminder: Maintenance fee must be paid as long as the buyer owns a
parcel in the said maintained building.

11. Sinking fund
For subdivided building only
The buyer shall upon the date he takes vacant possession of the said parcel
contribute to the sinking fund an amount equivalent to 10 per cent of the service
The buyer shall pay one (1) month’s deposit and three (3) months’
advance in respect of the service charges to the sinking fund and any payment
thereafter shall be payable on a monthly advance.

12. Payment of Quit Rent, Rate Assessment, etc
From the date of vacant possession or date of assignment, whichever is
earlier, the buyer is responsible for the quit rent, assessment, rate payment and
other charges relating to the property bought.

13. Vacant Possession
Vacant possession on the building complete with water and electricity
connection must be handed over within 24 calendar months from the date of
signing of the SPA for landed property and 36 calendar months for subdivided

According to Regulation and Rights of House Buyers during the Handing
over of Vacant Possession, the buyer have to ensure the property is free from any
encumbrances before accepting notice of vacant possession.
If the developer leases the land or the property, the developer must settle
the balance payment before handing over vacant possession.
Conditions that must be followed by housing developers:
1. Certificate from the developer’s architect stating that:
i. The building is completed.
ii. Water and electricity are ready for connection.
2. The developer has applied for:
i. The issue of the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO)
through Form E**
ii. The local authority has issued a notice stating that Form E has been
checked and accepted by the relevant authority.
** Form E is an application from the developer’s architect to the relevant
authority for the issue of the CFO.
The buyer is entitled to enter into occupation of the property only upon
issue of the CFO by the relevant authority. Likewise, any renovation can only be
carried out upon issue of the CFO and approval of the plan by the relevant
While inspecting the building, any defect is recorded and handed over to
the developer to be rectified. Make sure you obtain a copy of the report.

14. Damages
The buyer is entitled to claim for late delivery from the developer.
If the developer fails to deliver vacant possession of the building as
stipulated by the SPA, it must pay damages calculated on a daily rest, 10 per cent
per annum of the purchase price.

15. Defect liability period
The defect liability period is 18 months after the date of vacant possession.

16. Creation of Management Corporation for Subdivided Building
A management corporation will be created once the strata title of each
individual parcel is issued to the owners.
Other functions of the management corporation include insuring and
maintaining the building.

Malaysia driving & public transport

To drive on Malaysian roads, you are required to hold a Malaysian Competent Driving Licence, Probationary Driving Licence or an International Driving Licence. A foreign licence can be used if it is endorsed by the Road Transport Department, and some nationals are allowed to drive on their own country licences for their first three months in Malaysia. Information is available from the Malaysian Road Transport Department.

Nationals of the countries which have reciprocal agreements with Malaysia can apply for a Malaysian driving licence, on provision of:

1.Their existing driving licence and a photocopy of the licence
2. A translated script (if the licence is not in English) in English or Bahasa Malaysia, provided by the Embassy of the issuing country or the licensing authority
3. A colour photograph (25mm x 32mm)
4. Their passport/travel documents
5.Payment of RM60.00 for 2 years
6.A completed JPJL1 Form

Holders of valid foreign driving licenses from countries that do not have reciprocal agreements with the government of Malaysia but are member/contracting countries of the United Nations Conference On Road and Motor Transport, Geneva (1949 and 1968) can apply to the Director General, RTD to be exempted from tests to obtain a driving licence.

Vehicles use the left-hand side of the road and the use of safety belts by front passengers is mandatory. Cell phones either talking on phone or SMS are prohibited while driving. Laws against drinking and driving are strictly enforced with stiff penalties(Saman).Drivers who just get their license need to have a P sticker at the front window.

If you dont have a driving license.There are still public transport everywhere like city bus,LRT,KTM and taxis.

Malaysia buying & renting property

buying property

For foreigners,it is relatively cheap to buy a house or apartment in Malaysia, and some have even made good returns on their property investments over time. A wide range of properties is available, including large detached houses (bungalows), semi-detached and terraced houses, apartments and condominiums.

Properties for sale can be found through the real estate agents from real estate companies or Malaysia real estate website and advertise in the local and national press. It may also be possible to buy land on which to build your own property. However, it should be noted that some areas of land can only be bought and sold by Bumiputera (Malays and other indigenous groups).Those land is called Malay Reserve land.

Foreigners are eligible to buy 2 houses at a cost of not less than RM150,000 each. For this purpose, they are also entitled to apply for a loan from a local bank for 60% of the purchase price.

The standard procedure for purchasing a property is:

1) Sign letter of offer and pay 3% of purchase price as earnest deposit
2) sign sale and purchase agreement after 14 days; pay 7% of purchase price
3) Pay balance of purchase price within 3 months

Legal fees, stamp duty and agency fees (if used) are also payable.

renting property

It is relatively cheap to rent a house or apartment in Malaysia, except in central Kuala Lumpur where rental prices are higher.Places such as Puchong,Serdang,Sungai Buloh,Rawang are much more cheper.Of course the higher price it is, the more secured and quality it has. A wide range of properties is available, including large detached houses (known as bungalows), semi-detached and terraced houses, and apartments and condominiums. Condominiums are a popular choice among expatriates as they offer good security with cctv eqquiped and security guards to look after the condos.In addition with a wide range of facilities often including a swimming pool, gymnasium, playground ,car park, laundy and tennis courts.

Some of the most popular areas of Kuala Lumpur for expatriate residence include Kenny Hills, Damansara Heights, the city end of Jalan Ampang, Bukit Kiara, Ampang, Bangsar Baru and Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. Given the KL traffic congestion, it is important to choose a location carefully in relation to place of employment.Some area have international schools too if needed.

Furnished, semi-furnished and unfurnished properties are all widely available for rent, and can be found via the real estate agents which are numerous in urban areas and advertise in the local or national press. Some expatriate websites also advertise rental properties in their classifieds sections. One point worthy of note is that unfurnished properties are often completely empty, without even kitchen units or a cooker. Leases are usually drawn up for yearly renewal.

Malaysia Utilities (Electricity,Gas,Water)

Electricity: 200-240 V AC 50 Hz
Plug type: 3 pronged British plug or continental plug
Light fitting: bayonet and screw type

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is the monopoly generator and supplier of electrical power in peninslar of Malaysia(east of Malaysia). As for the State of Sabah and the Federal Territory of Labuan(west of Malaysia) ,Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. (SESB) generates and distributes the electricity, while Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (SESCO) generates and distributes electricity in the State of Sarawak(west of Malaysia).

Electricity bills are sent out monthly by post and can be paid at a post office or the electricity supplier's office.Nowadays, people can also make their bills through ATM machine.The bills will usually be in the landlord's name.

Piped gas is only available in Kuala Lumpur and some major towns of peninsular Malaysia and is supplied by Gas Malaysia Sdn Bhd.Other states or places are with bottled gas

Water utilities in Malaysia are managed and overseen by individual state water authorities.Either the water company or the mangement of your apartment will charge and bill you monthly.

Tap water is safe to drink in major towns or cities. However, most Malaysians in towns and villages make it a habit to boil their drinking water.Most aparments and household have water filters for cleaner water. Mineral or bottled water is available everywhere for purchase.

Tips on mortgage

How to reduce interest payment of housing loan

Buying property often involve financing especially for first time home buyer. Most people buy their property when they are young and not financially strong yet.So they go for financing.

What is home mortage or housing loan?

A home mortgage or housing loan is a long-term credit that a house buyer or a house owner obtains from a financial institution to finance his property purchase or refinance his existing property.

In general , the subject property or house is used as the collateral for the mortgage, thus the term "home mortgage" is commonly used to described credit facility that is extended by the bank or financial institution. A home mortgage is usually comprised of a large loan which is why in most cases a home mortgage or home loan can take 15 , 20 or even 30 years before the borrower can pay back the due amount. In a home mortgage, the due amount to be paid by the borrower include the principal amount of the mortgage and the interest owed relative to the outstanding balance which usually translate into a fixed monthly installment over a fixed number of years.

It is possible to repay the loan earlier than the stipulated repayment period by making lump sum payment midway through the loan tenure and most bank or financial institution require prior notice to be given or some may only allow such lump sum repayment at end of financial year with ample notice. Paying off the housing loan earlier in this manner save the borrower a lot of interest charges but the only disadvantage is that the fund that is being used to repay the loan in the lump sum manner is no longer liquid unless the property or house is refinanced.

wish to pay off a home mortgage quickly?

First and the foremost, the person must be sure that he or she has a stable source of income. He has to ensure that paying off his mortgage will not over-extend his cash flow. There are many such considerations that should be carefully planned and organized before deciding to pay-off home mortgage. Second, a person should have money reserve for emergencies.It's not advisible to force your self by paying off quickly if you cant afford it.

There are many kinds of housing loan products in the market. In particular there is a type of housing loan that is offered as an overdraft facility rather than the term loan which is to be repaid over over a fixed term.

What is Overdraft?

The overdraft facility that is offered in place of the term loan does not limit borrower to deposit any amount more than their monthly installment at anytime and how many times to reduce loan interest. Every money( ringgit) deposited into the account will reduce the loan principal and cut interest cost and thus shorten repayment period. In addition the amount that is deposited earlier than required can always be withdrawn to meet individual financial need so long as the account is operated within the allowable limit. Therefore borrower can deposit even their salary as soon as they receive it and later withdraw by writing a cheque be it for personal use or to pay bills but in the mean time the principal amount is reduced until the amount is withdrawn. The borrower can deposit whatever fund they have to pay off the loan as soon as they wish and still have no worry as the fund is always available in case of emergency.

Therefore be sure to consider the various option available when you decide to take a housing loan. So that you can reduce the interest and paying off your home mortgage earlier After all, nothing beats a worry-free and debt-free financial status.

Tips on buying condo in Malaysia

1. Water tank & intermediate pump room

Price of land keep rising especailly in major cities and a few high class area of Malaysia like Georgetown and Kuala Lumpur, Damansara Heights ,Bangsar and Kenny Hills. many property developers with land bank in good location have embarked on building highrise luxurious condominium.They call them the "semi-detached" or "bangalow" in the sky.Not only that, some of the high end units even have own private lift lobby. The selling price of these luxurious condo range from RM400-00 per square feet in Penang to RM1000-00 per square feet or more in the Kuala Lumpur area depending on specification and location.As i have mentioned in other posts.Location location location.Location always determine the price and value.Some condos are going higher in storey because of limited number of units per floor.Many of them still remained 40 storey of height.

The water storage tank is equipped at the very top of the building.Authorities always require storage of one day water demand for the entire block.The roof top water tank supply the water to all units through a down pipe by mean of gravity flow.The water are taken to the roof top tank by means of a pump that pump water from a water tank situated at the ground floor pump room through a riser water pipe, pumping is automatically started when water level in the roof top water tank fall to a designated level.

When the building is too high, the authorities will require a two stage pumping whereby water from the ground floor is pumped from the ground floor water tank to a intermediate water tank and pump room at the middle height of the building before water is eventually pump to the roof top. Say if a building is 38 storey high, you may find a water tank and pump room at 19 floor or a bit higher or lower depending on the design of the consultants.

When purchasing a condo unit, purchasers are often presented with a sale chart which show the selling price of units at different level, sometime one or two units at mid level may be used as the intermediate water tank and pump room and very often the unit are indicated in the sale chart as the water tank room or some developer may choose to just leave it blank without assigning a name for that rooms.

If there are six units at the floor where the intermediate water tank and pump room is situated, usually two units will be used for the water tank and pump room with the remaining four units available for sale.

When buying condo units, it is wise to avoid buying units at the same floor where the intermediate pump room is situated as well as units at floor immediately above or below the intermediate pump room as you can expect some noise when the pump is running. As the pumping is a daily business, you do not want to end up with a unit where the occupant will be constantly disturbed by the noise of pump. Sub selling those units or renting out those units will be more difficult.

As there will always be a pump room at the ground level, it will also be wise to avoid unit immediately above the pump room.

As owning a condo unit is getting more costly, check carefully before commit on buying, talk to the sale representatives, do not believe everything they say, some will tell you that the pump runs only once in a while, some will say that there will be more privacy living above or below the water tank room as there no people living in the water tank room, some will say that it is a water tank room without telling you that there are actually pumps in the room.

Of course there are also good developers that provide proper rubber bearing to cushion the vibration of the pump or construct the proper insulation to prevent the noise from the pumps from affecting the neighbouring units. I say it is best to avoid those units especially the unit below and above the pump room which will be affected most by vibration and noise from the pump.

2. Lift

Highrise condo are equipped with lift with high where the up and down movement of the lift cars are guided by rails attached to the wall of the lift core. If a condo unit shares the wall with the lift core, the up down movement of the lift car will create noise and vibration and will more likely transmit to the condo unit.How much noise or vibration is transmitted depend on the structural design of the condo itself, if the structure is designed with sheer wall or reinforced concrete, then the noise transmitted may only be minimal compare to brick wall.

To avoid this problem,an ideal condo design should ideally have a buffer such as staircase area or any other utility area between the condo wall and the lift core wall so that the noise from the lift car movement can be well insulated from being transmitted to the condo unit.

However, how much noise there is also depend on the type or quality of the lift and the thickness of the wall of the lift core. In the most optimistic case where the good quality lifts are being used together with thick lift core wall, the noise transmitted will be very minimal.

3. Roof

The price of condo units at higher floor tend to be higher compared with the lower floor units as most higher floor units command better view. In most cases, the bigger units such as duplex or penthouse are also purposely designed to situate at the top most few floors. It is important to note the type of roof of the building when one is buying a unit at the top most floor, one should check if the roof is a tiled roof or concrete roof. Both types of roof if constructed properly would not pose any problem to the dweller of the top most floor.

However, there is one scenario where reinforced concrete roof can pose a problem. I had the opportunity to observe a case where the roof of a duplex unit is a reinforced concrete roof and the concrete roof also serve as the compound for the penthouse at the floor above. The subject building was designed with staggered height whereby the middle section is two floor higher to accommodate the penthouse at middle section with the duplex at the lower section at the side. With the reinforced concrete roof of duplex serving as the compound of the penthouse sound like wonderful idea but the problem surfaced when the owner of the penthouse decided to renovate his compound by putting on beautiful tiles. In the process of putting on the tiles, certain hacking would have to be carried out and unknowingly the waterproofing material to prevent seepage of water through the reinforced concrete roof is damaged. After completion of the tile laying, the penthouse owner has a beautiful compound but the duplex owner begin to suffer as the reinforced concrete roof started to have seepage during rain as the waterproofing is now not perfect and rain water starts to seep through the roof, the seepage may not be serious enough to cause a leaking roof but the roof will most of the time be wet because of the continuous seepage. Practically water is retained in the reinforced concrete roof until a prolonged dry season dry the roof. The seepage cause not only the roof to be wet but also the wall as water will find its way downward due to gravity flow. With the wet roof and wall, paint start to peel off and fungus developed.

However one may say that any defect to building can be rectified but the problem highlighted above is more complicated as the roof which serve as the compound of the penthouse cannot be accessed other than going through the door of the penthouse. The owner of the penthouse does not suffer any ill effect out of his renovation and therefore will not allow anyone to enter his house for any rectification works.

For the owner of the duplex below, the leaking problem could only be rectified at the floor above, the management couldn't do much as the compound is part of the penthouse and considered as private property. The owner of the duplex can resort to legal recourse to compel the owner of the penthouse to carry out the rectification works but that would be time consuming.

Therefore if one is buying a condo with reinforced concrete roof above, make very sure that the roof is part of the common properties where the management can gain access to the roof if there is any damage to the waterproofing system.

4. Carpark

Condominium for sale from developer especially those high end condominium is packaged with a minimum of two car parks as accessory parcel to the sale & purchase agreement.Somehow some condominum only eligible for one parking per unit.Thus you need to rent extra parking unit.The car parks are already allocated for each unit of condo unit.One should ask for the car park layout to ensure that you like the car parks location.The two or three car parks allocated are usually in the same location, usually side by side or the same floor.An attempt to change the car park location after signing of sale & purchase agreement is rather hard or should sometimes quite impossible as every single car park would have been allocated to a condo unit.As car parks are key component to condo living, be very sure you like the car park location before signing the agreement.

5. Refuse area

All highrise condo block are designed with a refuse room at every floor to allow the residents to dispose off their rubbish without taking it to the ground floor. When one is buying a condo unit, what is normally given by the sale person to the potential buyer is a beautiful brochure that shows the location plan, site plan, floor plans, building perspective, specifications and all other information that the developer wants the buyer to know. Thing like the exact location of the refuse room is never clearly indicated in the brochure, the refuse room is normally located at the common area at each floor and because there are many other facilities like the riser duct, escape staircase, meter room etc within the common area, it is inevitably that the refuse room will be closer to certain units. Therefore always ask the sale person specifically where is the exact location of the refuse room before finalising on the purchase. You sure would not want to end up buying a unit where the refuse room is close to your unit.

However if the unit that you like is close to the refuse room, then make very sure that the refuse room is designed with double doors, two layers of door whereby if a door is not fully closed, chances that the other set of door will be closed, which mean that when a resident wanted to dispose off rubbish in the refuse room , he or she will have to go through one door after another. The two sets of door will minimise the smell of rubbish from escaping from the refuse room.

6. Air-con piping

Air conditioning is such an integral part of condo living today, a three rooms condo would need five aircon units, one for each room and one each for living and dining area. Most of the high end condo units are designed with a designated area for aircon compressor unit and these area are usually accessible through windows or balcony for ease of future maintenance. Some of the reputable developers have even included the aircon units in their sale package and for those who don't, they probably have included the aircon electrical points as well as the piping for the aircon units. However, there are some that only provide the aircon points without the piping.

Therefore when one is comparing between different projects, be sure to compare apple to apple and take into consideration the cost involved in the installation of those aircon piping as well as the drain pipe for the aircon units. While the air compressor units are required to be placed at certain designated area, the drain pipe would most ideally be required to be taken to bathroom and most of the time require certain hacking and patching which sometime can involve replacement of floor tiles and most probably will require repainting of certain area. Some developers will include aircon units and piping and sell the units at slightly higher price while some will sell at lower price and provide only the electrical points.

7. Land status

There are two kind of status,can either be commercial or residential.If you intend to buy a unit,knowing the land status of the development project is important.If the land status is commercial, the quit rent, assessment and the utilities bills will be charged at a higher commercial rate compare to residential status. For those who are buying for own staying, this maintenance cost will be higher for the unit. For those buying for rental yield, the utilities bill may most likely be paid by the tenant, the higher quit rent and assessment may translate to a lower rental yield.

Tips on negotiating the offer

1. Dont fall too much in love with the house.Think logically.Know your limits and what the highest amount you're willing to pay for the house. Utilize comparable sales data to predetermine the upper limit of what you'll pay.

2. Always remember that from the Seller's point of view, price may not be the determining factor when selecting an offer. Combination of financing,price and contegencies sales is the one that sellers are more interested in. Ask for help from your agent to find out the Seller's needs before you make your offer.

3. Although everyone wants to feel as though they got the best deal they could, but it is smarter to put in your best offer first. You may not get a second chance.

4. Get pre-approved for a loan. If you have not taken the time to go through this process, the Seller might not think that you are serious.The seller would prefer to go with another offer .

5. The fewer contingencies you include, the more appealing your offer will be. If you can avoid it, don't make your offer contingent on the sale of your current house. This could make the closing as long as 60 days instead of 30-45 and adds one more uncertainty about you and your offer for the Seller.

6. If you do need to sell your house before you buy another one, put your house on the market before seriously looking for a new home. You can make the sale of your home have a longer closing date to accommodate your home search and if needed or if the Buyers of your house are willing, you can arrange to rent back from your home's new owners until you find your next house.

More tips on land buying

Benefits to Buying Land

The further away from the city, the cheaper the acreage.As for agricultural land away from the city,its a different story.Many people buy land because they want to build a custom home to their own specifications.They also want clean air quality and more space.Some even prefer their own land for farming,gardening and rearing livestocks.If you concerned about the environment ,wide open areas without trees shading the house are perfect settings in which to install solar panels.

Drawbacks to Buying Land

Finding skilled craftsman willing to travel might be difficult.Some might not show up as promised and may want higher wages to compensate for the distance.Transporting building materials and paying for delivery will likely cost more over building a home in the city.

Although modern conveniences are available, they aren't always reliable in the middle of nowhere, which is why many home owners in the country use generators as a back up when utilities fail. Going into town for groceries and other shopping needs generally requires planning and long trips. If it snows, and the roads aren't promptly plowed, you could be snowed in for days.

Renting Before Buying Land

If you are unfamiliar with an area, it might be a good idea to rent a home first before buying the land and beginning construction. As a new resident, you can get to know the community first hand and hear stories from local owners.

Resale value is often softer in the country than the city.If demand is low and supply is high, home prices will be more negotiable. As a tenant, you can try to time the real estate market and be ready to buy that parcel of land when it first becomes available.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Land

* Zoning Requirements

Check with local authorities either city, county or state to determine zoning ordinances and whether you can build the type of home you want before committing to buying the land.Ask about future zoning, whether there are plans to build cities,shopping centers or airports which will increase the land value or conversely.

* Smells and Sounds

In cities, There is gas smell and noisy sound from vehicles and busy cities.On the other hand,there is odors and sounds from animals if there are farms nearby such as pig farms and other farms for live stocks.

* Natural Hazards

Obtain a natural hazard disclosure and look for soil problems. A disclosure will tell you if the land is a protected habitat, which would prohibit building. Is the area a known fire hazard? Is the fire department supported solely by volunteers? Many owners in the country maintain private ponds for fire emergencies.

* Elevation

If the land is located near hills, how likely is the land to move? Some slab foundations can crack if the land is unstable. Find out if your parcel lies within the path of a potential landslide. For construction near bodies of water, you might want to consider building a raised foundation and make sure to buy flood insurance. If the land was once a swamp, ask neighbors about the condition of their foundations.

* Easements

If access to your land is provided by driving across an adjoining parcel, you should obtain an easement and make sure it is recorded. Find out who maintains the roads and what your prorata share might cost for upkeep. What rights do neighbors have to cross your land? Are the boundaries clearly marked? Obtain title insurance, which will disclose easements and restrictive covenants or conditions. You might want to order a survey of the land.

* Utilities

Water is important. Not all water is potable. Sometimes water rights don't "run with the land," which would mean you could not dig a well. Find out the depth of your water table and determine the difficulty of digging. Is the ground mostly rock? It can be costly to bring electricity, telephone or cable services to the property if they are not already established nearby. Will you need to install a propane tank? Consider a generator for back-up during power outages. If you cannot hook up to a sewer, what will it cost to install a septic system?

* Appraisal

It's common to pay cash for land. If you're not planning to finance the land purchase through a conventional lender, which will require a lender appraisal, then obtain your own appraisal to determine an appropriate price before making an offer. Comparable sales are sometimes difficult to find when buying land.

Renting vs Buying

Should you rent or buy?

There are many benefits for renting.

1. If you new to an area and unfamiliar with the area.Moreover,you still haven't made up your mind what kind and features of house do you want for staying in long-term.It make sense to rent a house rather than rushing into buying one.For apartments or condominiums renting,Some people prefer their maintenance and repairs handled by the management to reduce headache.Home ownership entails responsibility and can be hard on the budget especially with large unforeseen repairs.Renting an apartment is a good choice for you.Most problems and can go directly to the landlord or management. Apartment renting allows you to spend your free time doing what you want rather than taking care of the lawn, pest control, pool maintenance and other repairs.Apartments usually have facilities like swimming pool,gym,table tennis room,hall and etc.Renting one can give you enough time to plan what do you really want to buy.

How can I set a realistic budget when buying my first home?

Setting a realistic budget is significant.Sometimes first time home buyer underestimate the cost of buying a house.With the checklist below,it would help alot.

1. Mortgage, property taxes, insurance and PMI or private mortgage insurance. Even if you have a fixed rate mortgage, your property taxes and insurance will likely continue to increase each and every year. Do plan ahead.

2. Cable,electricity,Internet, trash collection and water. One of the benefits of renting is that many apartments include trash collection, basic cable, Internet and water in the price of the monthly rent. Once you buy a home all of those bills will be sent individually. Call local service providers in advance to determine what you will pay for services in the area.

3. Tools and Appliances. Renting an apartment provides services like laundry,security ,maintenance and repairs too. You can save your money from buying a washing machine,lawn mower, dryer, basic tools, leaf or snow blower, and other yard maintenance tools when buying your first home.

4. Pool and Fitness Center. Many apartments provide swimming pool and fitness facilities (gym) free to residents which open from morning until night.Some apartments even have sauna or spa services for massage and slimming too.

5. Security. Most of the apartments provides securities too .almost every spot of aparments such as the lift or carpark are equipped with CCTV for security purposes.Besides there are security guards to look after the apartments day and night.

How to calculate cost of home ownership?

For first time home buyer, use the following checklist to calculate your personal affordability and desirability index.

1. When visiting online search engines.Use the convenient mortgage calculators to get an estimate of the monthly mortgage payment. Notice, the terms might change depending upon your down payment, duration of loan and interest payments.

2. In addition to the mortgage payment, buying a home entails PMI or private mortgage insurance if you don't put at least 20 percent down on the property. To get a rough estimate of PMI approximate 01 percent or .05 percent to .10 percent of your monthly payment.

3. Homeowners insurance and property taxes. Call and get estimates from at least three insurance brokers in your area to find out how much insurance will cost. Don't assume you will pay what the former owners pay for insurance. Your credit rating and other factors can influence your insurance premiums.

4. Maintenance and Repairs. Decide in advance if you will be doing it yourself or hiring others. Many people who are familiar with renting a condo or apartment are not used to spending their weekends or evenings mowing the lawn or cleaning the pool. Plan on budgeting approximately 10 percent of the total cost of your home each year towards maintenance and repairs. You won't use it all at once: Some years will require only a few small repairs or maintenance items, but other years you may eventually need to replace a roof or make large repairs to AC/Heat units.

What help is available for buying a home?

Home buying help comes in many forms. First-time home buyers can increase their odds of successfully buying a home by following these quick tips:

1. Deal with a reputable real estate agent. Real estate is a complex transaction where a mistake can literally cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars. Take time to find an agent that will answer your questions and work with you. Find an agent that specializes in the location you are considering purchasing.

2. Get pre-qualified. Avoid unpleasant credit surprises and find out what you will be able to afford. Don't automatically assume you can afford what the bank will approve you for ... that is the maximum! Instead, take your own situation into account when deciding what you can comfortably afford for the long term. For instance, if you are planning to start a family in the next several years and would like the option of remaining home with the children then set your own spending limits when it comes to purchasing a home.

3. Ask your real estate agent about local first time home-buyer programs in your area. There are federal, state and local programs available in different areas of the nation specifically designated for first time home buyers. Some assist with the down payment where others allow you to help build the home in exchange for a reduction in price. Still others have special low interest rates for first-time home buyers. Your local real estate agent will know what is available in your area to make buying a home a reality!

How long does home maintenance require?

One of the biggest surprises first-time home buyers face is how much extra time it takes! If you have been renting an apartment, then chances are the landlord or property manager takes care of routine maintenance and small repairs. You might be surprised to find out how much time and money you will spend on small things you have taken for granted. Use these quick tips to see how buying a home will impact your budget and schedule:

1. Take one weekend to do the yard for a friend or family that owns their own home. This will give you an idea of how long it will take you to mow the lawn, trim the hedges, blow leaves or snow and other routine tasks. Planting, trimming trees and other seasonal or yearly projects take even longer.

2. Price having lawn and pool maintenance done for your or go to the local home improvement center to price the cost of lawn mowers, weeders, blowers and other tools.

3. Consider the time and cost required for pool or spa maintenance, landscaping, painting, window cleaning and other annual projects. Don't forget pest control and recycling/garbage collection.

When To Rent Rather than Buy?

Renting and buying both got its own benefits.There are questions that you can ask your self before making decision.

Do you intend to remain in the same location for more tan five years?or you would like to change location due to your job or other reasons?

Do you enjoy home maintenance, lawn care and other household tasks?

Do you desire the privacy and ability to do what you want with your own property?

Do you enjoy all the facilities provided and handled by others?

While home ownership does allow additional freedom there are often deed restrictions, zoning, Home owners associations and other restrictions on what you can do with a given property. Understand what you are buying in advance to make sure it meets your needs.

Home buying process

There are so many things to consider when buying a house.Buying a house is like investing in business. You should know the steps and procedure for it. The role that you and other parties play in the process.

1.Discuss home buying wants and needs with a selected good agent.

2.Gather the information for loan pre-approval process.

3.Get pre-approved by lender.

4.Fax the lender pre-approval letter to your real estate agent.

5.Search and view homes together with agent.

6.Once you and agent found the house you want,write a sales and purchase agreement.

7.It takes 30-60 days to close depending on the type of financing.

8.Once an offer is presented and all terms of the contract are accepted by both buyer and seller a structural inspection will be performed on the house.

9.The structural inspection report is in and any repairs or credits as a result of the inspection are negotiated with the seller.

10.The inspection contingency is waived.

11.Appraisal, credit and title ordered.

12.Submit the loan for underwritting

13.Loan is credit approved.

14.Appraisal report is in.

15.Papers delivered to escrow.

16.Escrow obtains signatures on closing papers.

17.Final file reviewed.

18.Finally,Loan Closed.

19.Welcome to your home sweet home~

10 Tips for first time home buyer

1. Be picky but be realistic. There is no 100% perfect home.

2. Do your homework . Decide specifically what features you want in a home and which are most important to you.A wide spacious living room?masterbed room?or others.

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and your closing costs.Disscuss with a trusted financial advisor or loan officer.

4. Don't wait to get a loan. Talk to a lender and get pre-qualified for a mortgage before you
start looking.Select a good agent.Good agent will help in this.

5. Get opinions but not too many. Be confidence to yourself. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion.

6. Decide when you could move. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area?

7. Think long-term. Are you going to stay in this house for a short period of time or for long term wise?It relates to Mortage terms.

8. Don't let yourself be "house poor." Buy a house which you can afford. So you got enough money for furniture,decoration and home upgrades.

9. Be matured. Insist on a home inspection and, if possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects within one year.

10. Get assistance. Make sure that you are represented by a licensed REALTOR as a buyer's agent. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer's agent is working only for you. And most often, buyer's reps are paid out of the seller's commission payment.

Tips on land buying

Evaluate Land Parcels Objectively

Buying a parcel of land can be a serious investment and it’s always a good idea to consult a financial advisor,accountant or experienced personal such as agents before making any investment. Determine what your goals are for purchasing.Are you buying for yourself?family or investment?What are the minimum requirement?The following are some of the other factors to consider when evaluating parcels of land.

Location, location, location

Many buyers prefer to be close to schools, shops, banks, post office,hospital/clinic for emergencines ,cinemas/shopping malls for entertainment and easy highway access to the city. So, Aparrently, land that’s close to amenities will command a premium.

Moreover, builders may charge you more to build on remote parcels of land.You may also consider access to electricity,water, telephone utilities and internet service.

Find out about homeowner’s fees. Do mandatory fees apply to your plot of land? If so, you’ll have to pay them. If you don’t, the homeowners’ association could put a lien on your property or even foreclose on it.

Building challenges and obstructions

For most people, the most critical question to answer before purchasing land is: can you build on it? If the land can’t support a foundation, or has no access to a sewage system, it may not have development potential.Some lands previously were mining ares.Checked with the authorities for the land report.

Research the soil topography and quality. Damp, moist soil, steep slopes ,hills all increase the cost of building the house.

Finally, research road access. Consider the likelihood of natural disasters such floods, heavy rain, or snow that could limit road access in the future. Maintain the road with your local authorities or neighbourhood if its not accessable through public road.

Zoning and environmental considerations.

Once you’ve determined that you can build on the land, research zoning. If the local zoning ordinances dictate that you can’t build on the land, or your land borders water and is subject to environmental regulations, both may hinder your building plans.

Next, research the county’s long-range plans. Find out where the new businesses,shops, parks, roads, or schools will be that will affect the resale value in future.

Secure Land Parcel Financing

Once you find the land of your dreams, it’s likely that you’ll need to secure financing. While financing for land can be more difficult to locate than that for an existing home, there may be other options.

*Local, savings, and community banks: Loan officers at these locations know the area and possibly even your specific parcel of land. Note that you’ll have a better chance of securing a loan if there are other improved properties, or brand new properties, in the same area.
*Traditional seller loans: Typical seller loans generally require a 20% down payment, with the seller holding a note for the balance. The interest rate and terms of the loan, however, are negotiable. Other factors that impact the final terms of the loan include: the location, size, zoning, and intended use of the parcel.

Choose a loan package that adequately covers both the cost of the land and the cost and complexity of building and construction. Be sure to factor in the cost of liability and homeowner’s insurance when opting for a financing package.

Of course, real estate investments can be a complicated matter, so you should be sure to also consult a tax professional.

Find Land

Once you know what type of land you want, go to the Real Estate portal, Else look for newspaper Real Estate section or get any help from local rel estate companies.They would provide agents for you.

Buy Land With Confidence

Finally,you should conduct your own due diligence into all aspects of a real estate purchase and depending on your situation; you should get assistance from experts, including a licensed real estate broker, a property inspector, title/escrow company, attorney, and/or financial advisor.
You may need to take note on below issues too.

* Price: Am I bidding on the full price of the parcel, or am I bidding on a down payment?
* Title: Is the title clear; that is, free of liens, easements, and other encumbrances? If the title isn’t clear, what are the easements on the property?
*Insurance: Can I get title insurance at my own expense?
*CCRs: Are there any covenants, codes, and restrictions on the property?
*Deed: What type of deed will I be getting?

10 Tips and upgrades to help sell your home

1. Electrical

Homes built during the 60's or before that often do not have enough electricity current to run all the electronic gadgets. Today's homes typically have 200-amp service, so keep your home competitive by upgrading to at least 100 amp.

2. Copper pipes

Upgrading pipes should be a major priority for sellers of older homes. Copper pipes wont corrode as severe as galvanized pipe over time.

3. Furnace

Furnaces usually last from 12 to 14 years. Although this upgrade is relatively expensive, you still have to fix it if it has passed its expiration date.

4. Kitchen cabinets

Refurbishing old cabinets can quickly pull your kitchen into the 21st century. Replace with stainless steel or nickel knobs, pulls and hinges.Cleaning, sanding, staining, painting and replacing veneer can make the wood become new again.

5. Kitchen countertops

The saying "all real estate is local" is true right down to the kitchen countertops. In some neighborhoods, laminate is still acceptable. In others, you'll need to go with granite or Corian. Check out your neighbors' kitchens to find out what is standard on your block.

6. Roof

Some buyers concerned about the age of a home's roof. inspect the roofs if it is more than ten years old. If it makes the grade, include the inspection report in your buyer's packet. If you must replace, cut costs by choosing 20-year material over 30-year material.

7. Siding

A dated exterior can be fatal to your home's curbside appeal. Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint is all you need to cover a multitude of sins. In other cases, you may need to replace the siding altogether.

8. Water heater

Water heaters usuallt last about a decade before running out of steam. Installing a high-efficiency water heater can cut energy use by between 10% and 50%, making your home more attractive to cost-conscious buyers.Some house doesnt have water heater.Add on in bathrooms.

9. Termite inspection

Termites are tiny insects that love to feast on wood,such as woods of cabinets,sides of windows etc.Termite inspections are relatively cheap and are especially important in older homes.

10. Windows

Single-pane windows have gone the way of lava lamps and beanbag chairs, so be sure to upgrade those aluminum slider windows. Not only will your home look more enticing, but you'll also trim heating and cooling bills by 25%.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Malaysia info

: "Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu"
"Unity Is Strength"

Anthem: Negaraku

Capital (largest city): Kuala Lumpur 3°08′N 101°42′E / 3.133, 101.7

Official languages: Malay

Demonym: Malaysian

Government: Federal constitutional elective monarchy and Parliamentary democracy

Yang di-Pertuan Agong: Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin

Prime Minister: Abdullah Ahmad Badawi


from the United Kingdom(Malaya only) : 31 August 1957

Federation(with Sabah,Sarawak and Singapore) : 16 September 1963


Total: 329,847 km2 (66th) 127,355 sq mi

Water(%): 0.3


sep2008 estimate : 27,730,000 (43rd)

2000 census : 24,821,286

Density : 84/km2 (114th) 218/sq mi

GDP(PPP) 2007 estimate

TOtal :$359.271 billion[2] (30th)

Per capita: $13,385[2] (59th)

GDP(nominal) 2007 estimate

Total:$186.718 billion[2] (39th)

Per capita:$6,956[2] (63rd)

Gini(2004) :40.3

HDI(2007) : ▲ 0.811 (high) (63rd)

Currency:Ringgit (RM) (MYR)

Time zone:MST (UTC+8)

Drives on the:left

Calling code:+60

The current terminology as per government policy is Bahasa Malaysia (literally Malaysian language) but legislation continues to refer to the official language as Bahasa Melayu (literally Malay language). English may continue to be used for some official purposes under the National Language Act 1967.
Putrajaya is the primary seat of the federal government.

Singapore became an independent country on 9 August 1965.
Calculated based on latest population estimate.
020 from Singapore.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

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