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Should I buy or rent a home in Malaysia?

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If you have not spent a lot of time in Malaysia, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision...

"We have rented an apt, fully furnished. It's wonderful. We pay more than the average rent for a local because of the location and size. The best way to find good apartments is to walk around in areas you like and talk to the security guards. They know everything," said another expat in Penang, Malaysia.

"If you are over 50 or have children attending a Sarawak school (including International Schools) you are not REQUIRED to purchase property. Those 40-50 without kids can purchase a property to qulify though. BUT anyone on S-MM2H CAN buy property if they wish. There are some restrictions. It must be zoned residentially and have a structure on it or being constructed. It cannot be land zoned exclusively commercially, zoned for agricultural, or reserved native land. And if Landed Property it must be valued above a floor of RM600,000 in Kuching, or RM500,000 elsewhere. That's about US$135,000-$113,000. According to the Sarawak Lands Ordinance of 2019 one can purchase strata property (apartments or condos with no ownership of the underlying land) at any price. There is no floor. And one can rent property virtually anywhere and at any price. I rent, primarily because the property market is a buyers/renters market with a lot of vacancies. If a bargain dream-home emerged I might jump. But I live in the midtown area and prices are a little higher here. Downside of condo life is that many units don't allow pets," wrote a member who made the move to Kuching, Malaysia.

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Should I buy or rent a home in Malaysia?

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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