International Women’s Day: Women Who Purchased Their Own Property!

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
International Women’s Day: Women Who Purchased Their Own Property!
International Women’s Day is here, and we’re in the spirit of celebrating women and their accomplishments the world over!
With that said, we’re about to tell the stories of the young women who decided to step into the world of property — all on their own.
While it isn’t exactly the easiest thing to enter the property market these days, it isn’t impossible.
All it takes is some financial planning, resource management, and plenty of determination to ensure a successful deal. And these women have certainly proven that they CAN do it.
If you’d like to know how these lovely (and awe-inspiring) ladies found their dream homes, well buckle in and read on. Who knows, you could come away feeling inspired to own your home!

1) Carmen Lee, 28, Senior Real Estate Negotiator

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What Made You Want To Buy A Property?

I’m a property agent myself. So I do understand the importance of investing young, in a secured asset like property and leveraging on the maximum loan tenure.
So when I started property hunting, I had a list of requirements that the property should have before I decided on it:
  • Location: I liked it because it’s in an upmarket neighborhood with ready amenities.
  • Rental: I knew the rental potential, for both long-term or if I decided to lease it out via Airbnb. The monthly rental could almost cover the monthly repayments.
  • Price: The price per sq ft was quite close in value to the subsale pricing of a similar development in the neighborhood.
  • Down payment: Zero down payment was needed because I bought it directly from the developer.

Do You Think Buying A Property Is Difficult?

I didn’t find the process of purchasing a property to be all that difficult because I’ve been in the industry for 5 years.
I’m aware of what to look out for, the hidden costs, the necessary calculations, the risks, and what questions to ask to lessen those risks.
However, I must admit that it took me some time to finally pick the right one that ticked off all the right boxes! And I only dived in after I was sure I had enough financial security.
I think it’s crucial for people to ensure they always have extra savings which they can fall back on if anything goes wrong in between. Don’t invest your all, but always stay invested.

Based On Your Experience, Any Advice For Other Women?

Ladies, remember, there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect property’, just as there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect man’! Each property comes with its strengths and flaws.
So we just need to do our due diligence, and know what’s important to us in a property. Be open to different views and seek to have our paradigms shattered.
Once you have the grounds covered, just trust your analysis and dive right in.
Most importantly, know deep within you that a property will always be a long-term investment. I have never met an old man/woman who said “I regretted buying this property decades ago”.
A large majority of people have amassed their wealth through real estate. With the scarcity of land and inflation, I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.
But if you’re hoping to make a quick buck, I don’t think this is the right time and investment vehicle.

Do You Think There’s A Social Stigma On Women Owning Their Own Home?

There’s absolutely no disadvantage that a woman has (compared to a man) when it comes to any form of financial investments. I think property ownership is never a gender issue.
It’s more of a financial capability and financial knowledge issue. I hope to see more women taking control of their financial future. It’s part of being a financially savvy adult.
Don’t let any self-limiting beliefs tell us otherwise.

2) Mia Ong, 29, Manager – Business Development & Accounts

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How Did You Decide You Wanted To Buy A Property?

I definitely wanted to own my own home, and hopefully it could also be an investment for the future. There were some factors I considered before deciding on the right one:
  • Location
  • Price
  • Investment value.
I finally decided on one that’s located at a strategic area and at a price I can afford. It also has a good investment value in case I decided not to stay in it when it’s completed (it’s a pre-launch).

How Was Your Property Buying Journey Like?

To be honest, I was actually clueless for 3 years and needed to do tons of research and asking around before I could finally make a decision!
At the time of my purchase back then, there were no online tools to help with the calculations and to determine whether I would be eligible for the home loan.
So, I paid a non-refundable booking fee and sadly the bank rejected my loan, which meant I lost out on resources and time.
Lesson learned the hard way! I wish I had PropertyGuru with me then, which I’m sure would have made the process for me much easier and less tedious.

Do You Have Advice For Other Women?

To have a healthy savings is a must — the sheer discipline to save first before spending, and to plan well on what to spend. To those who want to own a property, make sure you’re ready for the financial commitment.
Don’t rush into buying, and consider all possible risk factors to ensure you’re okay with it, and that you can handle any financial emergencies.

Would You Say There’s A Social Stigma On Women Owning Their Own Property?

In the eyes of today’s society, while people claim to be modern and progressive, it’s unfortunate that a lot of them still think it’s not a necessity for women to own their own property.
Although I think that kind of mentality is not an entirely bad thing for women (there’s less social pressure on them), it’s still reassuring to know I have something I can call my own.

3) Ting Jia Yi, 30, Engineer

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When Did You Decide It Was The Right Time To Buy A Property?

It was difficult for me to make a decision on which property to get – there were so many questions running through my mind at that time – so it actually took me quite some time!
Should I get a condo or a landed property; which location is good; how is the neighbourhood like; will there be traffic jams; should I get somewhere nearer to my office and etc.
There were also too many housing projects that were being developed that I would have to consider the developer’s reputation as well before making a decision.
The main reason I decided to get a property all those years back was because of my family.
My siblings and I were all studying and working in KL, so I thought it would be better if we could all stay together and take care of each other.
The other reason is that this decision would (in a way) force me to save money, in that a portion of my monthly payments will go to the principal of the loan and it’s a savings plan.
Lastly, I would have a place to call ‘home’ after a hectic work life, and have a peace of mind of owning a property under my own name.
No need to worry about rent increases or annoying housemates; I will be able to live in my home for as long as I like and have fixed payment for the coming decades.
No more unwelcome surprises, and I can do what I want with the property!

Would You Say The Process Is One That’s Difficult?

Frankly speaking, before buying this property, I had always thought that the process would be simple and easy. But it actually involves more mental and monetary efforts than I had expected.
The savings for a down payment is kind of the biggest barrier to home ownership a few years back when the properties were much more expensive.
I didn’t use any tool for the calculations of monthly home loan repayments before applying for one, but I did seek the advice of my family members based on their experiences and a (very helpful) bank loan officer.
I do still have some savings after buying the property, so that’s a good thing!
My monthly savings may not be a lot, but I will always ensure I keep a fixed amount (at least few hundred Ringgits) for an emergency fund each month.
I have a spreadsheet to keep track of the payments I have made for the home loan and my education loan repayments each month.
I’ve also managed to keep my shopping list as minimal as possible – to ensure that I have enough funds to tackle any emergency.

With Your Experience, Please Give Some Advice For Women Who’re On The Fence?

First off, I think self-discipline is very important for financial management.
Buying a property is not like how we do shopping in a mall as it involves a huge sum of money upon a decision made.
You wouldn’t want to keep paying for your mortgage well into retirement, so buying a home that you love and that doesn’t hurt your future money goals is the most important thing.
Before you get emotionally attached to a beautiful property, check your monthly budget with an online tool to determine your home loan eligibility first.
You need to leave room in your budget for other things, so make sure your monthly housing costs (including maintenance fees, taxes, insurance, etc) will not overwhelm your finances.
Always remember to keep a pool of money for an emergency fund so that you won’t have to scramble to raise enough for huge expenses that suddenly come your way!

Is There Still A Social Stigma On Women Owning A Property Under Their Own Name?

I personally don’t think that there’s a barrier for women to own a property nowadays.
If they have the purchasing power to get their own property, the positive thinking and strong will to own one, they can ALWAYS do so.
I would think that the best option for each individual depends entirely on their respective circumstances and personal goals.

4) June Lum, 30, Financial Advisor

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Why Did You Decide To Buy A Property?

My family only manages to make ends meet and I hope to provide them with a better life. Also, my mom is a very strong and independent woman.
Since I was very young, she had planted the thought in me that women should always own their own property and never depend on their men.
I was also very thankful to have an English teacher who exposed us to Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘CashFlow’ game in secondary school to let us learn about investment and passive income.
Hence when the opportunity came, I knew it was the right time for me to become an adult.
I actually decided on my property based on a few key factors. First, it was the location. The area was right next to a prime city and I thought it had potential to grow.
Secondly, the price. It was already rare to find a property at that price (at that time), and I knew that if I didn’t get it then, I will only find a similarly priced property in much far-away areas like Cyberjaya or Setia Alam later on.
Thirdly, the package offered by the developer was attractive. The property didn’t require me to pay any down payment and it was on the Developer Interest Bearing Scheme (DIBS).
I actually didn’t have to pay anything except the stamp duty until the property was completed 2 years later! As I was only 23 at that time, I thought “Why not”?
I will be 25 by then, and definitely earning more to take up this commitment. I’m really glad I made this decision because the very next month, the government removed the DIBS scheme.

Tell Us If You Found Property Buying To Be Difficult.

The only difficulty I found was the huge cost I had to incur for the renovation works, in which I had 2 years to save up for.
Or rather, work hard for! Since I was a finance student and I was working in the bank, the only tool I had was a financial calculator to do the math to check if I was able to afford it.
The manual way! Buying this property actually became a huge motivation for me to strive harder in my career.
Savings and an emergency fund are equivalently crucial.
I ensure that I have at least 1 year of emergency fund which is able to cover my monthly expenses in case of a retrenchment, bad economy or emergency situations.
It’s also important to take into account the scenario where your tenant suddenly leaves and you need a few months of buffer before finding a new tenant.
If you ask me how I do it, it has to come from the motivation of buying that property.
I plan my finances carefully and only spend on my wants when I have additional savings put aside from the fixed savings I set for myself.

Do Share Some Advice You’d Like Other Women To Know!

The most important thing when it comes to buying a property is our mindset. Many women are uncertain to take that first step because of the fear of commitment or making the wrong choices.
It’s the same as when babies start to walk, they’re only able to do so with their parents’ guidance and training.
But if we equip ourselves with sufficient knowledge on property and finance, we’ll be more confident in making decisions.
And that’s exactly what I did. There was a lot of research and seeking of advice from my seniors prior to buying the property.
With proper planning, I managed to rent out my property within 1 month after getting my keys.
I engaged both the contractor and property agent before getting my keys, hence, they were able to renovate the place and find me a tenant as soon as I got my keys.
Google and books were also good teachers for me! Also, women shouldn’t be shy to ask those who have already ventured into property ownership, as they have more experience to share with you.
The few things to take note of when choosing a property would be the developer’s reputation, location, neighbourhood, price and unique selling points.
Do take the effort to drive around the property to assess the potential growth of the property.

Do You Think There’s A Social Stigma On Women Owning Their Own Home?

The women I know will buy their own property, don’t own any at all, or they have a property under their name but it’s being paid for by their parents/spouse.
When I asked the women who did the latter, they are either afraid of commitments, afraid they’d make a wrong decision or they expect the parents/spouse to be helping them.
However, we all know that more and more women are buying their own property in our current society, as opposed to our parents’ era.
I believe that family upbringing, education and exposure are the most important factors in shaping a woman’s mindset today.

5) Cheryl Wong, 33, Regional Manager

What Are The Reasons You Wanted To Have Your Own Property?

Well, the top 3 reasons that made me finally decide on which is the right property to buy would be the location, developer’s reputation and the size of the unit.
Plus it’s also what I consider a ‘good buy’! I do consider this purchase as a sort of milestone to mark the coming of age: owning your own property.
Eventually it would also be a place for my parents to stay as a retirement home.
With my current pay itself, I’m able to still have savings for rainy days. I would need to, as I have more than just a housing loan to repay; I also have my car loan, monthly bills, insurance and health bills.
It wasn’t easy actually, to make the decision to buy a property as there are so many sacrifices that you’d need to make in order to still have a comfortable lifestyle while remaining capable of paying for the monthly instalments.
But it’s not one that I regret, for now more than ever, it has taught me a greater sense of responsibility and maturity.

Do You Think Buying A Property Is Difficult?

The early stages of buying a property is one that I definitely consider to be difficult, especially on the financial aspect where you’re required to fork out for the down payment.
Considering that the usual minimum amount for that is 10% of the property price, it’s safe to say that not many could actually afford their dream home if they don’t earn enough to make ends meet.
In addition, I didn’t rely on any online tools to help me with the calculations of home loan eligibility or monthly repayments.
Rather, I did my surveys around the market with some of the bank officers at a few show houses to know what the rough payment per month would be like (for the amount stipulated, plus interest).
You see, I already knew what type of property I wanted in my mind, so it was just a matter of finding the right one to match my financial capabilities.

How Would You Like To Advice Other Women Out There?

To all the women out there, the most important thing to remember is to make sure you decide wisely on the property which you would be purchasing:
  • Does it fit your budget.
  • Is it a commitment you see yourself taking on for many years to come.
  • Is the property for your own stay or for an investment.
  • Do you have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong.

Finally, Would You Say There’s Still A Social Stigma Regarding Women Owning A Property?

I would say that society has definitely changed its standing on women owning their own property; times are rapidly changing after all!
While there’s still more incredulity when a woman buys one (compared to a man), it’s also met with more respect and admiration.
So to all the women out there, the only thing that’s stopping you from getting your own property, is YOU.
Don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise, go out there and show the world exactly what you’re capable of!

Time to go out there and conquer!

So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Some of Malaysia’s finest young ladies have spoken up about how perfectly possible it really is for you to own your own property.
And they all have the same message: plan your finances well, and everything else falls into place.
Above all, don’t give in to doubts and the cynics – once you’ve set your mind on your dream home, don’t stop till you’re holding your keys!

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