15 Tips For Buying A House


Checklist for Buying Your First Home

When É and I were looking to rent our first place together, I hoped someone had given us advices on what to look out for. We had a case so bad we had to drag it to Singapore State Court!

Seeing it is a great time now for buying property in Malaysia, I’ve compiled some important things to look out for before renting or buying a house, that will definitely come in handy. So if you are want to buy a house or have been brooding over the idea, read on!

P.S. This a not an article about contracts technicalities or tips as a tenant, but more about the things I can’t imagine having to live with while being tied to a 1 or 2 year contract.



1. Water pressure

If you were washing dishes at the kitchen sink, would the other person in the shower suffer because the water started trickling instead of running? This can be SO frustrating and tricky to fix.


2. Water: heater and tank size

What kind of heater is installed? How long does it take for the water to heat / How long before it runs out?

Also important to check; does it switch crazily from hot to cold to hot again throughout 1 shower session? Unless you want Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold as your shower-karaoke song, go the extra mile to find out.


3. Toilet flush

How powerful is the toilet flush? Does it swirl in your face or does it actually flush everything down? Put in a reasonable amount of tissue and try flushing. Nothing worse than a shitty toilet that always needs to be flushed twice. Pun intended.


4. Lighting

I personally would never invest in a place that has insufficient natural light coming in, especially into the kitchen and master bathroom. If it was for me, this would top my list. Most likely, you are viewing properties during the day. How do they look like at night?

For renters, are the lights tungsten or fluorescent? (If it was for my own house, I won’t be able to stand the latter.) Do you mind changing them if you were like me?


5. Electrical plugs

Are there enough plugs around the house and are they located at realistic locations? You might want to charge your phone closer to your bedside or rather not have to use extension cords when vacuuming the floor. Maybe having plugs in the bathroom is an important requirement for you? While this is not a choice at some countries or for newer condos, for some this is still an option.


6. Windows and doors

Make sure they close properly without having to bang them, unless you are ready to CHANGE THE WHOLE THING. (Some doors shrink with the drop of temperature, which means they keep opening no matter how hard you shut them.)

Check if the locks are safe, that the door bell works, and all access cards / keys including the mail box’s are given to you.


7. Car park

How many car park(s) does the unit come with? If it is a landed property, how many vehicles can it fit?


8. Balcony and shoe rack

Alas! There exists apartments that boast a larger square feet, when some spaces are actually dysfunctional. Like narrow balconies filled with hydrofluorocarbons purged from your air-conditioners, or perhaps you’re simply not a balcony person.

I know condos that do not allow you to hang clothes at your own balcony or have your shoes in front of your main door. Nothing is perfect, hence depending on what matters to you, creative solutions or sacrifices may apply.


9. Nearby facilities

Ask your estate agent / landlord where the nearest MRT, bus stop, supermarket, clinics, 7E, etc. are, and double confirm the distances using Google Maps. Imagine having to drive a few miles just to buy a toothpaste or emergency cup noodles at midnight. Bah.


10. Do they allow pets?

Maybe you can’t live without your pet or can’t live with one barking occasionally next door. Consider the consequences because (condo) rules are rules (too).


11. Internet

This applies for buyers and renters. Hear me out – Is it fibre ready? What kind of internet services does the condo / apartment provide?

e.g. For Malaysia, you might want to use TIME but the condo only provides TM! Then welcome to slow internet for the rest of your lives.





12. Laundry

Is there a washing machine?

Does it come with a dryer?

If there a good balcony to hang clothes? Back to #8, do they allow it?


13. Fans

Does the unit have ceiling fans? Relying on air-conditioning 24/7 to cool the house everyday is damaging to your bill and the environment.

For buyers, of course you can still install fans, but it’s still a pain in the a**.


14. Bed

If the place you are renting comes with a bed, lie down to see if any springs are broken. Unless you wouldn’t mind investing in a good mattress, which is not cheap by the way, this is a point most people discover too late.


15. Electrical appliances

What’s essential can be quite subjective for #15.

Usually the things I’d check are: TV, washing machine, fridge, oven, dish washer, or even wine chiller (which comes with our current rented home in Cingapore)!


Buying a property is a HUGE investment and commitment, so don’t feel bad for being picky or knowing what you want. You are not buying a dress you can return as long as you still have the tag on.

Am I missing out something? Let me know and I will complete the checklist for all. I hope you find your dream home soon!


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One comment

  1. Sonia Aicha on

    great tips, I wish I was more careful about #2 when we bought our house last year, its almost time for us to change our tank 🙁
    thanks for sharing

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