First property is always the hardest, especially for a white collar executive with less than 5 years of working experience. It’s the single largest item that one would be buying in their lives. Lots of doubts, questions and worry running in my head every time I think about my first property. What if, that first property turned out to be the wrong one?! I do have some savings. Yet not enough and simply not fast enough in terms of savings for the property that I feel comfortable with. With my ‘just enough’ salary, I still have to maintain my normal lifestyle, give some to my family and save a little for that elusive first property. I represent some of those who have graduated outside Penang and somehow have chosen Penang as their new home cum working destination.
I am a Johorean and I have worked in Penang for the past 2 years. So, what do ‘outsiders’ like me consider before buying their first property?
1) Try first, who knows if you are lucky?
In Singapore, it’s tough to apply for a HDB flat especially when there are so many applicants. Actually, it’s not that different in Penang. I applied for the medium cost apartment and got rejected. I had forgotten that with a total population of 1.7 million people within the state of Penang, I am still considered very slightly above average and thus should not have gotten a unit until those who are more qualified has one before me. It’s a bittersweet feeling, should I be happy or should I be sad? I did not want the low cost apartment but for the medium cost apartment, one’s salary must not exceed RM3,500. Somehow, I overqualified and yet when I look at the condo prices, I knew that I may join those who got rejected in their loan applications. I know the state government is pushing for more affordable homes costing less than RM500,000 in 2015. I hope I get one by then.
2) Acceptance of location
Where should we live? I want to live near to town. I want to live near my friends. I want to live near my workplace. I want a good location which is not far from everything that I want. Ok, perhaps that’s a bit too much. Yet, everyone would have an ideal location in their mind. Actually you can choose any location if you are rich enough. However, I think everyone should be willing to consider their second choice if they can still reach the places they want, just slightly further away.
3) Managing expectations
At our current age, there’s little reason to overburden ourselves. The reason is because the road to retirement is still many years away. If we simple can’t qualify, then don’t try. Just look at the high rejections for loan applications and you understand what I mean. Truth is, a 650sf apartment may be even more suitable for me than a 1,000sf one. Current low cost apartments include those of 650sf costing around RM100,000 and also those which are 850sf for RM250,000. If I can renovate it with some inspiration, I think it would be a home sweet home, for five years or until I can upgrade.
Last but not least, do not keep looking at just the new ones. Why not buy one which you can almost stay immediately? I have been to many secondary properties and the truth is, it’s not all bad. In fact, some can be considered very well maintained. Just do your research well, view a few more units. Use a little imagination and make that your home sweet home. I think I should be able to get one soon. Wish all of us luck in 2015.
written by Chloe Tyng on 2nd Jan 2015 and edited by charles.
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