The Complete Guide On Buying A Subsale Property In Malaysia

The process of purchasing a subsale property may look intimidating to the uninitiated, but it doesn't have to remain that way with this comprehensive checklist. Follow it, and hopefully you'll soon find the best deal and right fit to call your 'home'.
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Just because it’s a subsale, doesn’t make a property sub-par! According to the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), secondary market transactions account for about 80% of all property transactions in Malaysia.

While primary market properties offer a great buy for some, the secondary market offers an exciting opportunity for many.

So how do you make the most of the subsale property opportunity? Here’s our ten-step guide on getting the best deal on a subsale home, as well as the pros and cons of choosing one!

Click here for the guide to buying a newly launched residential property!

 

Step 1 – Determine your budget

Working out your budget is the first step on any property purchase journey. Only by finding out what you can afford, can you decide on the right deals that are suitable.

Take a look at some of our handy resources to help you on this:

Don’t forget about that downpayment (which can be hefty) when working out your finances! That’s 10% of the total price of the home, which must be paid at the point you sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA).

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You should also remember to consider things like the stamp duty, legal fees, and even the cost of renovation, if the chosen property requires work.

There are incentives out there to help you purchase a subsale home, although admittedly they tend to be more limited compared to those that cover focused new-build projects (like the PR1MA scheme).

Funding initiatives are available to help with the downpayment for qualifying citizens. Here are a few that are worth checking out:

 

Step 2 – Find your awesome subsale home

There’s nothing more exciting than shopping for property. That’s why it’s so important to get a good deal.

There are many economic, geographical, and property factors which can impact the cost of a subsale property in Malaysia.

The trick is finding the right balance to suit your needs. It’s worthwhile (and worth every cent!) getting in touch with a knowledgeable local property agent to help you.

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Choosing someone with good familiarity of an area means all sorts of valuable insight on local trends, best neighbourhoods to live, and even insider knowledge on property types and what you might expect.

Of course what’s great about a subsale home is… there’s an actual property home to go and visit!

You can walk around the area, chat to the neighbours, and enjoy the pleasure of exploring the unit itself.

That chance to see the potential property with your own eyes, touch it with your own hands, and get to know the available amenities is an important part of getting the right fit for you.

Subsale homes also provide a unique opportunity to get a better deal with your property. A subsale home that needs beautification works can actually provide great potential for return on investment (ROI).

For example, if you’re the kind of person who wants to manage a property upgrade, you might be able to buy a cheaper property in order to renovate and thus increase its value.

The flip side of that coin though, is that subsale properties do not come with a defect liability period (DLP).

PropertyGuru Tip
A defect liability period is basically a warranty that's provided for brand new properties, where the developer is required to fix any defects in the unit within a given timeframe.

That means you'd need to pay close attention to even the smallest details when you visit, keeping an eye out for any common (and expensive) defects such as a water leakage.

 

Step 3 – The price comparison

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By their nature, subsale homes tend to have more varieties in the price range compared to shiny new units stamped out in a tower block.

Subsale properties have obviously been lived in, which means wear and tear or upgrades can impact the final price. Don’t forget to factor in any renovation costs to your budget!

Trying to save money on a faded subsale home, but then paying twice as much in upgrade costs, is a bad trade-off that’s best avoided.

Your local real estate agent is a great resource to help guide price understanding. Someone with good market knowledge should have experience of the trends to help inform your decision-making process.

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The secondary market also offers the added bonus of aiding your decision through real data (i.e. a history of previously transacted prices), rather than assumptions and projections.

Check out these great resources to gauge the local property market:

If you want to make extra sure, you can always have an independent valuation completed to confirm the value of a property with credited professionals.

The fact is, a subsale home is an established property, located within a matured neighbourhood, which means additional information at your fingertips which allows for added insight.

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That also means existing information for the bank to provide a more comprehensive valuation for any potential home loan application.

Subsale properties do come with a risk of owners pricing their units far higher than a real valuation would deliver.

So, it only makes sense that negotiation around the price tag and value is something you need to be careful about. Here are some valuation tactics to be aware of:

  • Inflated price – Higher price tags (above loan value) can try and create the impression of a property worth more than it actually is.
  • The ‘high-interest’ offers –Suggestions that lots of offers are on the table to bump up the price you pay.
  • The ‘bargain price’ If the original price is inflated, it’s easy to pretend you’re offered a bargain/discount. Always assess against the true valuation report provided by an independent professional.
  • The ‘uncertain valuation’ Some disreputable agents might reveal a valuation at a far higher price from a third-party. This can sometimes be a trick to bump up prices in an unethical way. Always compare against the bank's, and get multiple bank valuations if you want some certainty.

 

Step 4 – Time for financing

You need a lot of cash to buy a property! But don’t turn up with it in a suitcase. Instead, the best way to pay for your subsale property purchase is with a tried-and-tested home loan.

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A home loan is a significant financial commitment, so making the right choice to fit your repayment capabilities is an essential element of getting the right financial deal on a home.

You should recognise that a bank will loan up to 90% of the total value of the home as they assess it.

For example, if you’re buying a house for RM500,000 that THEY think is worth only RM450,000, you’re only going to get 90% of their valuation = RM405,000.

That’s why a budget with a little more leeway can be crucial to sealing the deal (and preventing any future heart aches).

Malaysia is blessed with some great banks offering loans following both Islamic financing and traditional financing models.

Another element to consider checking are your CCRIS and CTOS reports. The former, CCRIS, is a standardised credit report used by financial institutions to assess your home loan application.

Whereas the latter, CTOS, is a record to assess the creditworthiness and repayment capabilities of both individuals and businesses/companies.

PropertyGuru Tip
Do remember that these reports only provide cold hard facts; they don't make the call if your home loan gets approved or not, that's up to your lender to decide!

Remember, if you’re uncertain about either the valuation or the loan offer, you can always speak to another bank to compare and contrast different offers. It never hurts to shop around! 

 

Step 5 – Lawyer up!

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You’re not obligated in Malaysia to hire a lawyer for a property transaction. It’s probably a good idea though, right? Hiring a lawyer is the best way to ensure you get a fair deal. 

You see, unless you have extensive experience in tackling bureaucracy at the Land Office, or negotiating tweaks to legal documents, you’re at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to the legal world.

You wouldn't want to put down thousands of Ringgit only to find out later on that there's a hidden clause in the SPA that causes you no end of heartache!

 

Step 6 – Be earnest

Once you’ve found the right subsale property for you, it’s time to lay your claim. This is done by way of signing an Offer to Purchase and/or Agreement to Sell, and the payment of an earnest deposit.

These documents commit the buyer and seller to the transaction of the property, while the earnest deposit shows the buyer's commitment in ensuring the deal goes through.

It’s essential you use a third party to hold the earnest deposit at this stage of the transaction.

The real estate agent or appointed lawyer is frequently the party used to hold this money in escrow ahead of the completed transaction.

PropertyGuru Tip
The term 'escrow' refers to that neutral third party holding on to the sum of money, and will only release it once a transaction has been fulfilled.

 

Step 7 – Time for the SPA

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The Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) is the next big hurdle on your journey to purchasing a subsale home.

But there are some important steps you (or hopefully your lawyer) will undertake first. A crucial one is checking the ‘seller’ actually has the right to sell! 

It might be uncommon, but cheeky fraudsters trying to sell homes they don’t own has been heard of in the past. Checks at the Land Office should be made to establish the owner is really the one you're dealing with.

The SPA itself is the complex legal document that sets out the terms and conditions of the sale. This is where your lawyer proves his/her worthiness.

It’s important to ensure both parties are happy with, have thoroughly checked, and agree to the details on the SPA.

This does highlight another important point of subsale homes - making sure they’re properly described on the SPA.

Since these properties can often include renovations, additions, or extensions, it’s crucial for you to make sure what is down on the paper matches up with what you see in real life.

The Inventory List is also an important part of the SPA that you need to pay attention to when it comes to subsale properties.

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It sets out what moveable items and fixtures are agreed to be left, and which are agreed to be removed as part of the agreement.

So if you don’t want to dispose of that neon purple sofa yourself, you'd better make it clear (in black and white) that the owner will deal with it somehow.

In essence, the SPA is the nuts and bolts of your house deal. That means if you want a ‘good deal’, ensuring you’re signing a ‘good SPA’ is essential.

 

Step 8 – The MOT and Loan Agreement

You’ve got the dream home in sight, now you just need to confirm the funds. The Loan Agreement should be signed with the bank to confirm the financing of your home loan.

This is your last chance to assess and ensure that the amount you’re borrowing, the interest rates, the tenure etc are forming the right financial foundation for your purchase.

Your lawyer should also have a final look through the document to ensure the bank’s terms and conditions are standard and acceptable.

Then it’s over to transfer of property! In subsale homes this should usually be by way of a Memorandum of Transfer (MOT) between the seller and the buyer.

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There have been occasions when this hits a snag, in circumstances where the seller hasn’t been granted the Individual Title or Strata Title by the developer. If that happens, you have two options:

  • Undertake a simultaneous MoT from developer to seller, and seller to buyer.
  • Proceed down the slightly more complicated path of completing a Deed of Assignment and/or completing a form to show Developer’s Consent.

 

Step 9 – Goodbye money, hello property!

Say goodbye to your money, and hello to your property. With all the required forms completed and submitted, it’s time to pay what’s remaining of your 10% deposit.

If you’ve undertaken appropriate financial diligence throughout the process, you should have a good idea of additional costs that might be incurred.

But in case you're still in the dark about the relevant stamping fees and legal fees required, we've got you covered in this guide here!

 

Step 10 – Make a house a home?

Now it’s time for you to call your house a 'home'! Of course, being property… there’s yet another document for you to get through as well.

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The Agreed Apportionments is a list that's presented by the seller’s lawyer, to show details of all the bills that have been paid up to the point of transfer. Some of the payments include:

  • Management fees
  • Sinking fund
  • Water bills

You'll need to reimburse the property seller for any portion which he/she has already pre-paid, since once you get vacant possession, the seller will no longer be enjoying the use of the property.

Don’t worry though, you'll get some keys in return! The key handover is an exciting opportunity to make the most of your new home.

With all that done, it’s time to kick back, relax, and start organising the housewarming party.

 

The pros and cons of subsale property

Subsale property is an exciting opportunity, but it’s one that comes with some important considerations for the buyer. So is it for you? Here’s a handy pros and cons guide.

Pros of Subsale Property

Cons of Subsale Property

An established community to explore.

More variation can also create challenging valuations.

Often in mature neighbourhoods with developed amenities and facilities.

Generally less access to financial incentives or new development initiatives.

Connectivity often improved by maturing neighbourhoods.

Lived-in also sometimes means worn-out.

Generally faster transaction times (move-in anytime) as no need to wait for construction or further development.

No defect liability period to rectify faults at seller’s expense.

A substantial market of subsale properties to explore with unique features and opportunities.

Bank valuations can differ from asking price creating a financing gap.

Potential for real return on investment by renovating a faded property.

More reliance on real estate agent for local professional insight.

Mature neighbourhoods remove the chance of new developments disturbing the community and the views.

Shared facilities within a development can become faded over time.

Avoid the risk of abandoned projects that can occur in new developments.

May require more work to turn the old property into a home that feels like yours.

 

Are you ready to make your newly purchased subsale property fit to be called a "home"? It all starts with the living areas! Check Out These 7 Living Room Design Ideas To Inspire You.

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