Tips to buying a bigger home for growing families

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Now more than ever, we all need space – at work and at home. For homes, the need is more acute when there’s a work-from-home arrangement and when a family grows in size. The cozy home purchased years ago might start to feel a little snug and could soon be bursting at the seams. Here’s some guidance to smoothen the journey! 

© ake1150 / 123rf

Most home upgraders fall into one or several of the following categories. They want to:

  • Move to a bigger home
  • Move to a home with better finishes
  • Move to a different style of home (e.g. high-rise to landed)
  • Move to a home in a better or different neighbourhood

So, you’re already familiar with the journey of owning a home in Malaysia as you’ve purchased before, and having lived in your own home, you’re are more aware of what works best for your family.

Let’s take a look at key considerations when you’re looking to upsize your home to accommodate your family’s growing needs.

Key considerations when buying a home

The fundamentals of purchasing a property remains. Always. Just like when you purchased your first property, you’d still need to go through your process of due diligence when you’re buying your next home. You, and only you, would have answers to these.

  • Location / Neighbourhood

Do you prefer properties within or close to the neighbourhood you’re currently living in? Or are you looking for a new neighbourhood or community? If it’s a small radius within your current home, then there’s less groundwork required as you’re probably familiar with the charm, quirks, and truths of the area. If that’s the case, then you can start moving to the next stage – shortlisting properties there.

If you’re looking at an area new to you, then it’s starting from scratch. The factors to consider include security, profile of majority of residents, and amenities within a short drive (schools, tuition centres, parks, eateries, public transport, grocers, convenience stores, clinics, banks, pharmacies, and more). It’ll also be prudent to visit the area both during the day and night, to get a feel of the traffic, noise level, and overall vibe.

If the neighbourhood or township is relatively new, the area could feel less lively but if planned properly, it should flourish in time. Therefore, be sure to review the masterplan and layout for the development to ensure that it’ll cater to the lifestyle you and your family are looking for.

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© kinmeng / 123rf

  • Facilities

Most developments feature several facilities. High-rise residences and gated communities will usually come with a range of facilities such as a playground, park, jogging/cycling track, gymnasium, barbeque area, clubhouse, kindergarten, laundromat, and so on.

Some properties come with a long and luxurious list of facilities, and that could also mean higher maintenance fees. So, evaluate and match according to what you want or need. If the development or property has been around for several years, take a closer look at how well the facilities have been maintained. That’ll give a clue to how well the management company and selected committee members have managed the property.

  • Accessibility

Check the access to the development. Take a drive and take note of the entry and exit routes, and the inner roads. Are there enough routes to ease traffic during peak hours? Yes, heavy traffic is often one of the signs of a growing area, but it’s also a pain when you need to get somewhere! If there’s only one or two entry/exit points to the development and other residents in the area, then you’d need to ask yourself how patient are you when it comes to dealing with weekday traffic… with impatient children in the car as well.

There’s always public transport in the mix. But, is it within walking distance or does it come with convenient parking near the stations? Would you or your older children consider taking the LRT, MRT or monorail to get to work and school respectively? If it’s a clear no, then the next question would be whether you’re likely to rent the property out in the future. Properties near public transport are known to offer better rental yield as some renters, such as students and young working professionals, could rely on them to get around.

According to Savills’ research, a good investment property should be able to fetch about 4 to 4.7% rental yield, especially those located in the fringe of the city.

  • Capital appreciation

Generally, landed properties provide higher capital appreciation, while high-rise residences provide better rental yield. Based on iProperty transaction data, the median transacted price for intermediate terrace houses from Nov 2020 to Oct 2021 is RM330,000 or RM234 per sq ft.

Here’s a look at main residential categories for the same period.

Property type Median price Median price YoY Median price per sq ft Median price YoY per sq ft
Landed  
Intermediate terrace house RM330,000 11.86% RM234 8.7%
Bungalow RM550,000 17.02% RM103 13.07%
Intermediate cluster house RM222,500 11.81% RM260 0.03%
Semi-D RM550,000 10.08% RM163 7.46%
Town House RM350,000 0.57% RM294 2.03%
Non-landed  
Apartment RM260,000 4% RM307 3.77%
Condominium RM470,000 2.17% RM403 0.17%
Flat RM130,000 0% RM198 0.35%
Service Residence RM450,000 2.17% RM518 6.78%
  • Space

Once you’ve selected the area and type of home you’d like to buy, then consider the number of rooms and space you need for everyone to be able to live comfortably. For example, you might have a child now. Do you plan to have 2 or more kids in the future? Will they get a room each?

What about a family pet? If yes, what kind of pet(s) you’re likely to get? Is the development pet-friendly and would there be enough space for the pet(s)? Many high-rise buildings aren’t pet-friendly. So, you’d need to check with the property’s management on the house rules.

Other factors to consider:

  • Balcony and the type of views you get
  • Garden to nurture your green fingers
  • Adequate parking for cars, motorbikes and/or bicycles
  • Enough bathrooms for all to avoid fighting over
  • Storage area
  • Kitchen for your MasterChef dreams
  • Work-from-home and/or study-from-home area
  • Dry kitchen needs
  • Enough power points at the right spots
  • Property’s orientation and where the windows are; to determine how much sun the property/unit will get
  • Parcel and delivery management

© eranicle / 123RF

Then, you’d also need to factor in renovations. Would you prefer loose furniture or built-in furniture? Does the space allow you to renovate it to your liking?

If it’s an existing property, check the fixtures such as lighting and air-conditioning. If they aren’t in good condition, it could add up to your cost of buying a home very quickly. One more thing – water pressure. Turn on the taps to gauge whether it’s an issue or not.

It’s paramount to plan for the space you need or want. After all, it’s why you’re looking to upgrade! Upsizing often means higher utility bills and possibly a bigger mortgage. So, would it be cheaper to renovate or extend your current home?

Finances

Apart from the renovation cost, of course there’s the cost of the property itself. This decides the What, Where, and How, when you’re upgrading to another home. We’ve a list of questions around finances from upsizing here:

  • Will you be selling or renting out your current home?
  • Will the current home need repairs prior to the sale or rent?
  • Can you afford the mortgages of both your current and new home?
  • Will your new monthly instalments be affordable? Try our mortgage calculator to see what the monthly payments look like.
  • How much more will the household bills and taxes be?
  • Will the new home need a lot of work and how much will that cost?
  • Will the renovations result in a good resale value?
  • Do you plan to renovate or extend the property now, or later?

You should also consider the resale value in the future, especially if you plan to move again in the short- to medium-term. It pays to know if it will be a good property to sell. Timing is also crucial. It’s a big decision to upgrade, and it’s always good to consider the timing of upsizing with any deadlines or important changes coming up in your life.

Are there other plans which you need to take into account, such as having more children or another person living with you (like your parents or an elderly relative)? Will the move disrupt your child or children’s school term or year? Are you in a financially stable place and do you foresee any major changes such as a change in job? Working backwards allows you to properly plan and make the upsize process as stress-free as possible.

It’s a good idea to contact a financial institution or a financial advisor to help your review your financial situation before purchasing your next home.

© kzenon/ 123rf

Alternatives to upsizing

  • Renovation – The cost of redoing a current space could be way less compared to buying a larger property.
  • Extensions – Adding extra room(s) could give you the space you need. Ensure that you get the necessary approvals from the authorities.
  • Other additions – If you have a large garden, you could build a structure or large shed for more space.

A selection of educational institutions

Now, let’s take a look at areas that are peppered with schools, colleges and universities. Do note that the list is not exhaustive and it features a selection of available options.

Area Educational institutions Residential transaction prices (YoY)
Bandar Sunway in Subang Jaya, Selangor
  • SMK Bandar Sunway
  • Sunway University
  • Sunway College
  • Sunway International School Sunway City
  • Monash University Malaysia
  • Eduwis Bandar Sunway
  • Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus
RM360,000 (2.86%

(Aug 2020 to Jul 2021)

Tropicana Damansara, Selangor
  • SK Tropicana
  • SMK Tropicana
  • St Joseph’s Institution International School Malaysia (Tropicana PJ Campus)
  • SEGi University
  • SJK (C) Damansara
  • Sigma School
  • Taska Tropicana
RM610,000 (0.83%

(Aug 2020 to Jul 2021)

Seksyen 7 in Shah Alam, Selangor
  • UiTM main campus
  • UNISEL
  • SMK Seksyen 7
  • Nuh’s Ark Islamic Montessori School
  • Brainy Bunch Seksyen 7
  • Eduwis i-City
  • Integrated Islamic School Shah Alam
  • Maz International School
Shah Alam: RM537,000 (31.19% ↑)
(Nov 2020 to Oct 2021)
City of Elmina, Shah Alam, Selangor
  • SRK Bukit Subang
  • HELP International School & University
  • Sekolah Seri Cahaya
  • SEGi University
Elmina East: RM910,000 (14.95%

(Sep 2020 to Aug 2021)

Setia Alam, Shah Alam
  • Odyssey The Global Preschool
  • Q-dees Setia Alam
  • Bright Kids Kindergarten
  • SK Setia Alam
  • Al Fateh Integration Kindergarten Setia Alam
  • Peninsula International School Australia
  • Tenby International School
  • Idrissi International School
RM640,000 (33.33% ↑)

(Nov 2020 to Oct 2021)

Cyberjaya / Sepang, Selangor
  • Limkokwing University of Creative Technology
  • Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences
  • Multimedia University
  • Universiti Islam Malaysia
  • Open University Malaysia
  • ELC International School
  • Futurise Centre
  • SK & SMK Cyberjaya
  • SJK (C) Union
  • Seri Puteri School
  • Malaysian Campus
  • Sekolah Kebangsaan Kota Warisan
  • Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Salak Tinggi
  • Islamic Science University of Malaysia
  • The Multimedia University (MMU)
  • UiTM Kampus Dengkil
  • Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
RM450,000 (1.1% ↓)
(Oct 2020 to Sep 2021)
Rawang, Selangor

 

  • Straits International School
  • Sasana International School
  • SMK Rawang
  • SJK (Tamil) Arwang
  • Knewton Global Schools
  • Brainy Bunch
  • Islamic Secondary School
  • San Yuk School
  • Q-dees Rawang Mutiara
  • SMK Seri Garing
  • Regent International School
  • SR Integrasi Hlira’ Rawang
  • SM Islam Global Ikhwan
  • SK Bukit Rawang Jaya
RM360,000 (20% ↑)
(Nov 2020 to Oct 2021)
Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur
  • French School of Kuala Lumpur
  • Mont Kiara International School
  • Garden International School
  • Kiaramas Primary and Secondary Schools
  • Taylor’s College
RM1,083,800 (3.23% ↓)
(Oct 2020 to Sep 2021)
Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur

 

  • Tadika Villamaria Good Shepherd
  • Anyaman Preschool
  • Little Caliphs Bukit Damansara
  • Stella Maris School Medan Damansara
  • Cempaka International School
  • HELP University
  • Universiti Malaya
  • SK Bukit Damansara
  • SMK Bukit Bandaraya
RM3,800,000 (8.94% ↑)
(Nov 2020 to Oct 2021)
Iskandar Puteri, Johor
  • Multimedia University
  • Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia
  • University of Reading Malaysia
  • University of Southampton
  • Sunway International School Sunway City
  • Marlborough College Malaysia
  • Netherlands Maritime University College
  • Raffles University
  • Raffles American School
  • Stellar International School
  • IDRISSI School Educity
  • Kolej MDIS Malaysia
  • Educity Academy
  • SMK Medini
  • Mount Kelly Malaysia
  • SJK (C) Cheah Fah
RM560,000 (5.66% ↑)
(Nov 2020 to Oct 2021)
Georgetown, Penang
  • SMK Georgetown
  • Wesley Primary School
  • SJK (C) Aik Hua
  • St Christopher’s International Primary School
  • Penang Free School
  • Shih Chung Primary School
  • SK Hutchings
  • SMK Hutchings
  • SMK (L) Methodist
  • St Xavier’s Institution
  • SMK St Xavier
  • SMJK (C) Union
  • Penang Japanese School
  • SMK (P) St. George
  • Penang Medical College
  • SEGi College Penang
  • UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College
  • Han Chiang University College of Communication
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia
  • Wawasan Open University
  • DISTED College
  • RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus
  • Sentral College Penang
  • Equator College
  • MSU College
  • Adventist College of Nursing and Health Sciences
RM289,000 (0.34% ↓)
(Oct 2020 to Sep 2021)

Estate planning

Once you have upgraded or upsized, it’s natural to want to establish and nurture a legacy for your children. The typical legacy planning centers around planning the transfer of wealth and assets from you to your heir(s). Depending on the size of your estate, this plan could be very simple or very complex.

To ensure that everything goes according to your wishes, it’s best to update your will accordingly, or get one drawn up one if you haven’t. Without a will, the distribution of inheritance could take 2 to 5 years.

Upsizing your family and your home is a major milestone. So, just be prepared by planning as much as possible, and get ready to make more lasting memories with your family!

SEE WHAT OTHERS ARE READING:

🏠List of legal documents required when buying a house in Malaysia
🏠What you need to know about living in a bungalow house in Malaysia


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