Investment is the giving up of money now in exchange for benefits to be received in the future, such a an income flow and/or capital gain. As a corporate or an individual, you will have at least two businesses competing constantly for your attention. The first is your primary business (whatever that is) and the second is the business of real estate investing. You need to understand that these activities will often require a great deal of knowledgeable insight and outside expertise in order for each to be successful over time.

This article focuses on the most important investment to an individual, the purchase of a home.

Your Own Home

As an individual, the purchase of a home is the ultimate satisfaction. A place we go home to. A place our children will grow up in and a place that they will always have a roof over their heads.

When buying your home, the first thing you will need to do is to determine your affordability level. This would of course en-tail visiting or calling your friendly Real Estate Agent or Banker to determine what range of properties you can afford. Items you will need clarify with yourself and your partner include where your deposits are coming from and also how much deposits can you afford, and how much can your current or joint current incomes sustain a loan. (Do not forget the small amount you would like for improvements and renovations) It would be wise to do a lot of research of housing loans as there are a variety of schemes that are available and you will have to choose one that fits your lifestyle and financial profile.

Next, determine the location you like. Yes, what you like. As I always advise my friends, buying a home is buying a lifestyle and always choose a location that fits your lifestyle. For example, Putrajaya is a good location for an investment, but would you and your partner live there now if both of you are working in the Golden Triangle or Damansara Heights? I guess not. That's why choose a location that suits your lifestyle i.e. work, proximity to relatives (for the kids!!!), leisure choices and of course amenities and public transport.

You have narrowed down the location and the price, next is to determine the type of property you want. Again, this is a lifestyle issue. If you lead an active lifestyle and travel a fair bit and require security, condominiums are an excellent choice with the security, facilities and of course the beautiful views some of the offer. But if you are like me and enjoy having pets and a big garden, I guess landed properties will be your preference.

Next, sourcing for the properties. Do not buy in a rush. Go through all alternatives and the most common manner is of course to call your friendly Real Estate Agent or referring to the Classifieds in the local News Papers. Do call the numbers listed and the most important questions to ask are as follows:

  1. Tenure i.e. Freehold or Leasehold (if leasehold, how many years left)
  2. How old is the property?
  3. Land Area
  4. Built Up Area
  5. Number of Rooms and bathrooms
  6. Why is the owner selling
  7. Who was the occupant
  8. Condition of house (best is for you to see it yourself)
  9. What does the sale price include
  10. Is it with vacant possession?
  11. Is there built ins and kitchen cabinets?

Then arrange for a viewing (please make sure it is during the day or with a bit of natural lighting) and see it for yourself and with another party.

Things to look out for (and ask):

  1. If there are major renovations, inquire on whether approvals were obtained
  2. How recent were the changes done to the wiring and plumbing (for homes more than 15 years)
  3. Observe for leaks and any broken items
  4. Observe window panes and door frames for termite infestation (good to also ask on Pest Control Contracts)
  5. How recent was the roof changed (for really old houses i.e. more than 20 years)
  6. Quality of fittings
  7. Observe what you would like to change in the house to suit your lifestyle
  8. How long its been on the market?
  9. Is the price negotiable?

Remember that the first house you see could be the house of your dreams, especially if it looks right, feels right and priced right. It has happened before to some of our customers, so do not think that its too good to be true.

After each viewing, determine whether the micro location suits you, whether you like the property and how much it will costs you to do it up to suit your liking. Also remember you might not be able to do all the renovations at one go, so focus on the main ones i.e. wiring, plumbing, painting, built ins. Put a weight age to your decision making process so you will not be bogged down by just one reason. Make sure the decision is based on what is your liking and compatibility with your lifestyle. The decision is yours and your partners only.

Choosing a home is definitely challenging. With this in mind, it is always good to back up your decisions with ample information, a structured decision making process and reliable advise.

Previn is the CEO of Zerin Properties, a Licensed and Registered Estate Agency Service Provider. For feedback and inquiries, please call 013 3311 007 or e-mail Zerin Properties is a member of The Real Estate Network