There’s no place like home. That’s especially true if you live in a tropical paradise like Penang. Known for being a foodie haven with its fusion of Chinese and Malay cuisine, Penang island has long been a favorite among local beach lovers. Sandy shores lined with palm trees and charming fishing villages provide a refreshing backdrop to the Old-Asia vibe of George Town, Penang’s main city. Lonely Planet describes it in sumptuous detail: the street hawkers, the shop houses and the surrounding landscape. Anyone who’s ever wanted to spend a day in a tropical retreat would find the place ideal.
That’s probably why, in recent years, it’s also caught the eye of many foreign retirees for low-cost living it provides, where a Singaporean dollar or Australian dollar could go a long way. If you’re looking for a residential property, you might want to consider the potential benefits of buying a house in Penang.
Here are a few suggestions, with some taken from Malay Mail Online, to help point you to the right direction.
Tip #1: Use Property Portals
With comparison sites springing left and right, you could save time, effort, and money using one of these free services to narrow down your search or give you a list of locations to consider. Sites like Property Guru offer Penang property estimates so you can look over the list and see if it matches what you want or have in mind. At the very least, a list will give you a good idea on where to start.
Tip #1: Get a Real Estate Agent
To start your search, ask among family and friends for a name. They might put you in touch with someone they personally know but who hasn’t got plenty of experience, so be on the lookout for that. Instead, you want someone who has the right qualifications and training to guide you every step of the process. Buying a home can entail a ton of complicated legal documents and if you aren’t very savvy with paperwork, you’ll need to have someone on your side to offer ample guidance and assistance.
Tip #3: Check out the Landscape
When you finally start looking at properties, don’t neglect the landscaping. Most people make the mistake of spending too much time to look into a home that some of them spend little time looking over the outdoor portion of the property. Keep yourself from making that same mistake. Take a thorough tour of the property and that includes inside and outside of the house. See if the landscaping has been well-maintained. Look for potential drainage issues or problems. You wouldn’t want to move in only to discover a massive drainage problem right on your backyard.
Tip #4: Consider the Location
In Penang, much of the land is protected by the state government so residential properties are concentrated near or along George Town. That’s an ideal location because it’s near the beach and the center so whether you want to go for a swim or a grocery run, it’s incredibly easy to pull off both. Known for being “The Pearl of the Orient,” Penang lies along the Strait of Malacca and is often regarded as a nice entry point for tourists going from Europe to Asia.
Tip #5: Look for Schools
Easy access to schools has always been a huge selling point for families looking to relocate. Most want to send their kids to school. Being in the neighborhood also gives you and your family the chance to be a part of a community of parents. Such support systems are invaluable, making the home even more attractive to prospective buyers. In Penang, though, you’re likely to find schools close to George Town, along the north portion of the island.
Tip #6: Apply for the Malaysia My Second Home
If you’re a foreigner looking to retire in Penang, look up the requirements of the MM2H scheme to see if you qualify. If you do, you can look forward to a ten-year visa, get a lower minimum purchase rate for a home and enjoy bringing in your personal belongings, tax-free. For more information on what requirements you need and how you can qualify for the My Malaysia Second Home Scheme, check it here.
Tip #7: Stick to Your Budget
All throughout your search for the perfect property, you’ll come across dream homes that will out of your range. Never forget your budget. Know just how much money you can shell out without draining your bank account dry. That should include the other expenses too, like stamp duty for the transfer of property, the anti-flipping tax, along with the legal fees. They’re not huge but these fees do add up to a sizable amount so calculate that into your costs as well. Knowing what you can afford gives you a better experience in shopping around for the perfect island home.