What’s wrong with buying a secondary property today?

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My first property, a 730 sq ft apartment was purchased from the secondary market for RM123k. That was 13 or 14 years ago. I spent RM25,000 on renovations and electrical goods. Yes, only RM25,000 because it was already a renovated unit. The current home I stay in was also bought from the secondary market over 3 years ago for RM540k. It was also fully renovated and furnished. For example it came with even a twin-door fridge, 6 air-cond units and built-in cabinets throughout the home. The total renovation expense for this current home was just RM10,000. I retiled two out of three bathrooms because I did not like the original colour. The reason I bought from the secondary market is because I needed a place sooner rather than later. First property was because my father-in-law pressured me, else he would not allow me to get married to her daughter. Current home was bought because after moving from Penang to KL, we stayed in my 1,053 sq ft home in Kelana Jaya and my wife said she wanted a bigger place. Our daughter needs a proper park to run around too. Thus, if we require a place fast, secondary property market is a great choice.

Beyond just speed, actually secondary properties are good for the following reasons:

What you see is what you get, usually. This is not buying off a shiny brochure and completed only 36 months later. This is a real property that you can view, touch, feel and even SMELL. So, there are usually no surprises. Just remember to switch on the lights and turn on all the taps to see if everything is working too.

It is COMPLETE. Do not worry. There is no chance for the developer to run away with your money halfway or even stop building due to some unforeseen circumstances. For this one, the day you get the key, you know you are walking into a completed unit and you need to only think about making it awesome.

Savings, lots of savings. Buying a renovated unit for example saves you lots of money. Well, unless you need to do lots of renovations or you hate the renovations done by the previous owner. (If you hate the renovation, perhaps don’t buy?)  As long as you are buying a unit which has been occupied, chances are the owner would have done a lot for the unit.

Choices for negotiation. As there are choices, prices are more flexible. Negotiations are usually possible because the real estate negotiator representing you can help as well. If it is advantageous, show them the transacted prices of other units and get a better price. Here’s one site for you to check. brickz.my

Location decision. It is possible to drive around the neighbourhood and see the things you like and dislike before deciding. Usually, we could buy into a location we like or familiar with. In fact, we can even survey the neighbouring units too. Are there units which are doing some ‘unbelievable’ stuffs like painting the whole unit into some special colours?

Rental advantage.  If it’s buying with the intention to rent, then only secondary unit provides almost immediate returns. Besides that, for young professionals, it is possible to buy a unit and rent out the other room for extra income. The rental income helps a lot with savings for the next unit.

Usually cheaper in price.  Just compare similar sizes and types and you may notice that some secondary units are actually cheaper than buying new. Well, that’s also because people love something new and not secondary. A cause from perception too.

Before you rush to buy a secondary unit instead of a new one, do note the cons of buying a secondary units yeah. There’s no such thing as everything rosy. 🙂  (Unless you are Phua Chua Kang’s wife)


No special deals. Many developers may provide special deals now and this is something extra that secondary property owners will not give you. 😛

Not latest design.   From external, the paint may even be peeling off. They are secondary units. Depending on long they have been in the market, they do not usually look modern.  They may not have inifinity swimming pool on top of the building giving you great views for example.

Choices of units.  You would usually have lesser choices compared to a new development. In a secondary market, it is almost certain that the number of units up for sale is limited. Thus, it is not easy to get a unit with a view you like for example.

Maintenance costs may be higher.  Depending on the number of years, it may require some maintenance especially the electrical wirings and pipings. Best to do them before we move in, else it is very troublesome later. That’s why it is a must to try all the switches as well as switching on all the taps and let it run for a while to see if there are water leakages seeping through the wall for example.

As someone who has purchased both secondary and new units, I can safely assure you that both have their pros and cons respectively. Choose one which you feel gives you more advantages and you will enjoy your home sweet home in the near future. In terms of price appreciation, both would appreciate too. Imagine if our property prices remain stagnant, then no one would buy and no one would sell too, since there’s really no advantage whatsoever. Happy buying one.

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written on 9 Dec 2017

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