Memorandum Of Transfer (MOT) And 4 Important Documents In Malaysia

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
When it comes to buying that dream home, there are more than a few documents you need to remember.
These legal documents are the official checkpoints on your property purchase journey, and one of the most important you’ll encounter is the Memorandum of Transfer (MOT) or Deed of Assignment (DOA).
The MOT/DOA is the clap-your-hands-and-laugh-in-delight part of purchasing a property. Sure, you’ve got your fancy Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with all the terms and conditions laid out.
That’s important too, don’t get us wrong. But it’s when the Memorandum of Transfer comes into play that things really get ownership-level exciting.

What Is MOT And DOA?

In Malaysia, a Memorandum of Transfer (MOT) is a document that the buyer signs to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer.
Signing the MOT means that the Land Title will be transferred from the developer or previous proprietors’ name to yours. Hence, it’s not issued if the property in question doesn’t have its Land Title yet.
In cases where the property to be bought had not received its relevant Land Title, a Deed of Assignment (DOA) form is used to transfer ownership of property, and a further document recording the Developers Consent will also be required.
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What Are The Steps In Transfer of Ownership?

Transferring ownership of something as important (and valuable!) as a property requires some crucial legal steps.
So once you’ve identified a realistic piece of real estate which you can afford and it shows good potential for capital gains yield, it’s time to start the legal process.
Here are the 5 key steps in the legal process of buying a house, and the documents that go along with them.

1) Home Loan And Lawyer Up

Searching for the right home loan is the first step towards owning a property, unless you’ve got reallyyy deep pockets, of course! It’s also the perfect point to contract a legal professional to help with the process.
It’s not compulsory for you to hire said professional, but with all the many legal documents to come, it’s probably a pretty good idea to get all the help you can!

2) Letter Of Offer (LO)

You’re at the start of the purchasing process, and you’re keen to put your name down for a property.
The Letter of Offer is a document which sets out your initial desire to purchase, and a seller’s willingness to sell.
It notes things such as the agreed selling price, relevant furnishings, and the date by which the SPA should be signed.

3) Sale And Purchase Agreement (SPA)

This is it, the legal document we’ve all been waiting for. The SPA is a comprehensive agreement setting out the terms and conditions of a purchase.
This important document sets out conditions such as the date of transfer, conditions of purchase, items included in the sale, as well as other relevant terms.

4) Facility Agreement

It’s time for the Facility Agreement! Don’t worry, this isn’t about setting out your access to the swimming pool and gymnasium.
This is the legal document to officially confirm the home loan agreement that you have signed with your bank.

5) Memorandum Of Transfer / Deed of Assignment

It’s the big one now! Here’s your chance to sign your Memorandum of Transfer (MOT), or the less excitingly titled ‘Form 14A’. MOT in Malaysia is the document which legally confirms the actual transfer of ownership.
It’s the legal equivalent of handing you the keys to the front door and saying the property is yours.
In cases where the property to be bought had not received its relevant Land Title, a Deed of Assignment (DOA) form is used to transfer ownership of property, and a further document recording the Developers Consent will also be required.
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Why Is Having A Lawyer Important When Buying Property?

We mentioned the value of getting a lawyer to help you through this process, and now hopefully you’ve got a good idea of ‘why’.
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The lawyer is essentially your champion in ensuring you get the right deal, and that everything is done properly and honestly.
They’re trained to draft up and check through complex legal documents (like the SPA) to ensure that the terms and conditions are fair and balanced.
That means making sure you’re not signing up to some crazy deal where it turns out you’re only allowed to use the front door of your property every third Tuesday.
Of course, in reality, that kind of extreme example is unlikely to happen, but there are all sorts of complicated legal jargon that are important to cross-check.
A legal professional is also experienced in navigating processes to:
  • Ensure everything runs smoothly
  • Making sure things like documents are stamped
  • Legal requirements are fulfilled within the right time frame
  • All sorts of other little miscellaneous things you’d never know to check
That also involves searching Land Office registrations to ensure the property you’re actually buying, really does belong to the person selling it.
There’s so much to remember that it’s easy to slip up, thus having someone in-the-know would greatly expedite everything!
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What Does Stamp Duty Have To Do With The Memorandum Of Transfer And Deed of Assignment?

When acquiring a property, you can expect plenty of legal documents, plus stamp duty tax on each document to top it off.
The MOT and DOA is no different, and in fact is one of the heftiest when it comes to stamp duty costs. MOT and DOA stamp duty varies between 1% and 4% of the property sale price. Scroll down to check out the detailed tiers.

What Are The Costs Associated With Each Stage of Buying A Property?

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Alongside the major payments of purchasing the property itself, there are actually a number of financial requirements and transactions linked to the various legal steps noted above:

1) Loan Agreement

As if the financial burden of a loan wasn’t "exciting" enough, you also have to pay the legal fees for it!

Loan Amount

Legal Fees Charge

First RM500,000
1% (minimum RM500)
Subsequent RM500,000
0.8%
Subsequent RM2 million
0.7%
Subsequent RM2 million
0.6%
Subsequent RM2.5 million
Excess of RM7.5 million
0.5%
Negotiable on the excess
(but shall not exceed 0.5% of such excess)

2) Letter Of Offer

This is usually the point where an earnest deposit comes into play. That’s 2% of the total value of the property, and counts towards the overall 10% down payment.
The earnest deposit is usually non-refundable.

3) SPA

Signing the SPA is when the big money payments begin. At this point, the full 10% down payment will be required. Any earnest deposit already paid will count towards this total.
This will also require payment of the SPA’s legal fees.

House Price

Legal Fees Charge

First RM500,000
Subsequent RM500,000
1% (minimum RM500)
0.8%
Subsequent RM2 million
0.7%
Subsequent RM2 million
0.6%
Subsequent RM2.5 million
Excess of RM7.5 million
0.5%
Negotiable on the excess
(but shall not exceed 0.5% of such excess)
As for the stamp duty, the cost is RM10 per copy of SPA and normally you will need 4 copies, which works out to RM40 in total.

4) Instrument of Transfer: MOT / DOA

It makes sense that the Instrument of Transfer document, i.e. MOT or DOA is also the part where the largest stamp duty is owed!
The stamp duty for MOT and DOA is payable upon transferring the deeds to your name.
So, if you’re buying a new property that’s yet to be built or under construction, the stamp duty will comes later. If it’s a completed new or sub-sale property, the stamp duty will comes much quicker.
These are the stamp duty charges that will be due.

House Price

Stamp Duty Charge

First RM100,000
1%
RM100,001 – RM500,000
2%
RM500,001-RM1,000,000
3%
RM1,000,001+
4%

PropertyGuru Tip

First time homeowners currently benefit from various government exemptions, which you can find out more about on our stamp duty guide.

Stamp Duty and Legal Costs For Purchase Of Property

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Now, let’s put that into perspective shall we?
Here’s an example of how much it will cost you in stamp duties and legal fees when purchasing a home. To illustrate, let’s say you’re purchasing a house at RM800,000 with a loan of RM700,000.

Example of Total Stamp Duty Calculation

Stamp Duty for Loan Agreement
Legal Fees for Loan Agreement
A fixed rate of 0.5% on the loan amount
1% on first RM500,000 of loan amount
0.8% on subsequent RM200,000
= RM3,500
= RM5,000
= RM1,600
Stamp Duty for SPA
Legal Fees for SPA
RM10 for each copy x 4 copies
1% on first RM500,000
0.8% on subsequent RM300,000
= RM40
= RM5,000
= RM2,400
Stamp Duty for MOT / DOA
1% on first RM100,000
2% on subsequent RM400,000
3% on subsequent RM300,000
= RM1,000
= RM8,000
= RM9,000

Total Stamp Duty and Legal Costs Involved

RM35,540

Stamp Duty Exemptions In 2020/2021

Ouch, that’s a lot of money for stamp duty alone… good news though! If you’re a first-time homebuyer or buying a property under the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC), there are stamp duty exemptions in place to help you shave off some of the costs.

1) Stamp Duty Exemptions for First-Time Homebuyers

Under Budget 2021, full stamp duty exemption will be given on both the Instrument of Transfer (MOT/DOA) and loan agreement.
The eligibility criteria include:
  • For first-time homebuyers only
  • Property worth not more than RM500,000
  • This exemption is for the Sale and Purchase Agreement completed between January 2021 to 31 December 2025
If your property is priced at RM500,000 (which is the maximum price tag to be eligible for this exemption), that’s about RM11,250 in savings!

2) Stamp Duty Exemptions under the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) 2020/2021

*HOC has ended on 31 December 2021
That’s right, if you didn’t already know, the HOC is back for 2020/2021. Find out all about it here.
Under the Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) announced on 5 June 2020, two stamp duty exemptions were introduced.

Full Stamp Duty Exemption on MOT and Loan Agreement

  • For residential homes priced between RM300,000 to RM2.5 million
  • Subject to a minimum 10% discount by the developer
  • Exemption on MOT is limited to the first RM1 million of the property price.

Full Stamp Duty Exemption on Loan Agreement

How About Closing Costs When Buying A Property?

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The fees don’t stop there, there are closing costs too. Closing costs are the necessary fees to be paid by the buyer during the final steps of the property transaction. In Malaysia, these are mostly paid by the buyer.
Stamp duties aside, some closing costs that you may incur are:

1) Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT)

RPGT is a tax imposed on gains derived from disposal of real property. In simplest terms, it’s a tax on your net profit when you sell a property. If you’re the seller, this cost may be applicable to you.
RPGT is taxed on a tiered basis between 5% – 30% depending on various factors such as how long you’ve owned the property for before selling it off. Just as with stamp duty however, there are RPGT exemptions too!

2) Legal fees

Legal fees are the fees charged by the lawyer to draft the Letter of Offer as well as the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) as well as other legal matters associated with the sale. In Malaysia, the legal fees are typically split between seller and buyer and are charged on a tiered basis.

3) Valuation fee

The valuation fee is paid to a bank-appointed valuation expert to estimate how much money the property is likely to be worth. This fee typically costs about 0.3% of the final property value.

4) Property agent commission

If you’ve enlisted the help of an agent to assist you in the sale or purchase of a property, it will typically cost you a commission fee. This fee is stipulated by the agent, but regulated at a maximum of 3% of the property’s sale price.

5) Mortgage insurance

Your mortgage insurance will either come in the form of Mortgage Level Term Assurance (MLTA) or Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA), with the MRTA generally ten times more affordable than the MLTA.

6) Home renovation and refurbishments

Aside from the costs associated with the legal documents involved, let’s not forget about the renovation costs! Before closing the deal, you’d want to settle any pressing renovations such as leaks or tiling.

What Does A Transfer Of Love In Property Mean?

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A transfer of love is (maybe) the sweetest-sounding property transaction you’ll ever hear of. What it relates to, is use of an MOT to transfer property between family members.
That means situations like husband to wife or parent to child. In these cases, the stamp duty for the MOT is waived either fully or partially.
You receive 100% exemption in the case of wife to husband and vice versa, and 50% exemption in the case of parent to child or vice versa.
Relevant Guides:
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