If running away to live in a tropical paradise is on your bucket list; consider Malaysia. This multicultural Asian nation attracts throngs of expats every year.
The national government of Malaysia understands the economic value that foreign retirees and entrepreneurs bring to the country and provides a more welcoming environment for expats than other regional destinations such as Thailand and the Philippines.
Persons wishing to live an expat lifestyle in Malaysia or elsewhere should consider the following tips when looking for housing.
• Use the internet to get a general idea of what is available and at what costs. Note that prices listed online are generally on the high side with many brokers and landlords seeking to take advantage of the new arrivals lack of knowledge on the local housing market.
• Consider using serviced apartments during your initial stay. While more expensive, the absence of a long term lease will allow you time to get a better feel for both the area and the market.
• When purchasing, always find out what the local banks are willing to lend on a property even if you are paying cash or utilizing in house financing. Local banks know local property values and will not lend beyond what they believe is recoverable in the event of default.
• When renting, calculate a reasonable annual rent at one tenth the selling price for comparable properties in a healthy market. Use this number as a starting point.
• Negotiate respectfully and be prepared to walk away from the deal when it isn’t right. Talk to other expats more familiar than you with the area. Take into consideration the demand for available properties in the area you are interested in. The recent rise in many Asian economies has led to a surplus of available properties. For condominiums in the city, take a walk at night and note the number of lights on in any building you’re interested in. This will give you a general idea of the occupancy rate and will give you valuable information prior to entering into a negotiation.
The expat lifestyle can be very rewarding. Educate yourself thoroughly utilizing online resources, personal contacts and even language training in order to ease what can be a difficult transition. Finding the right home at the right price should be the first in a series of rewarding experiences in your new life.