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Property Investment 101: 3 Learnings from a landlord.

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3 Must-Do Actions for future first-time home buyer. (Advice from the landlord, yeah that’s me)

One Fine Happy Day, my tenant called me

My tenant called me one day and said, “Charles, I intend to move out in 2 months time. I have bought a new place.” For 4 years, the tenant (a Malaysian Indian engineer) was diligently paying his rental for my 730 sq ft apartment. He was driving a Proton Iswara though he is already a senior engineer in a multinational company. He was telling me that he will stop renting because he is buying a landed property from the secondary market. His new home is easily 2.5 times bigger than the apartment he is renting. Probably 2.5 times the price of the apartment he’s renting too.

I did share with him why property investment is compulsory (read here if you like to know too)

Once, during one of the conversations with my tenant, I also shared with him why buying a property is always compulsory. His rental is lost forever. I know, it’s like me telling the tenant that he should stop renting from me and getting a place of his own right? Haha. It’s okay, I prefer all my tenants to also benefit from conversations with me and if they accept my point of view, they can start making plans to get a place of their own. Nope, I did not ask him to drive an Iswara yeah. That was his choice. Haha. How much was an Iswara then? It was around RM35,000 I think. Something along the price of a base model Proton Saga today.


3 Must-Do Actions for future first-time home buyer

#1 Always have a PLAN even when we are renting from a landlord. 

I be honest even as a homeowner. By renting, you are only making the landlord rich slowly, over the years. All the money you ‘lost’ since rental is a cost will add into the ‘win’ for the landlord via the principal payments even if the home is still under mortgage.

Many years later, the wealth of the homeowner has increased by leaps and bounds and if we did not make plans to own a home, then a home will be out of bounds. Have a plan. Know where you intend to buy. Know how much you need to save. Always keep yourself updated on the listings of available homes. Who knows you may chance upon a good deal some day? STICK to the PLAN…

#2 After having a plan, then ACTION becomes key. 

Save money for downpayment for a home even as we pay rental. Save on rental by renting a place (or even a room) which is cheaper than what you could afford. Then, you can save money even as you rent. Drive a cheaper car (why not a second-hand car, no need to feel loss of image lah) than you can afford so that you also save money. Basic idea is simple, reduce expenses, increase savings and be ready!

We can spend RM500 for a small room or we could spend RM1,500 for the whole unit. This is savings of RM1,000 per month or RM12,000 per year.

We can spend RM7 for a meal or we could spend RM20 for a meal set in a nice air-conditioned cafe. That’s RM13 savings per meal or RM39 per day or RM14,235 per year.

We can spend RM800 per month for a new Japanese branded Segment B car paid over 9 years or we can get a new Proton Saga for RM450 per month. RM650 savings per month is RM4,200 per year!

Just doing these three things, we could have easily saved RM30,000 per year. Now, do you wonder where your money went to?

#3 Remember, AGE is an advantage for first-time home buyer 

The earlier one buys a property, the longer the repayment period could be stretched to. It could be up to 35 years or up to 70 years old, whichever comes earlier. This is why as we got older, the monthly repayment may get higher. This is also why many people who’s over 40 tells us that it’s so hard to buy a decent property!

One more important thing. After we retire, there may NOT be a need to own a home. Just sell that home and rent instead. The remaining amount, use it to travel. The world is such a huge place to visit. Lots to explore, lots to see, lots to try. This is if we truly believe there is no need to own a property. The right time is after retirement, not before.

Before that day comes, just hedge against inflation by buying a RM500,000 property. 30 years later, this same RM500,000 property may be priced at RM1,000,000 but that’s just because value of money has gone down… due to inflation.


Still renting? Think about it after reading this article yeah. As a landlord, I also hope for the best for you; first-time home buyer. If my tenant chose to continue renting, I will continue accepting the rental. However, I will always share with my tenants about the advantages of owning a place versus renting. Cheers.

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Next suggested article: It’s not an investment if we know nothing about it

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.


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