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What to look out for when buying a subsale property, according to experienced homebuyers


Not all subsale properties are subpar. If you too, find the appeal of a subsale property, here is some sound advice by people who have been there and done that.

© dragonimages | 123rf

If brand-spanking-new properties in young neighbourhoods aren’t your thing, you might want to turn towards subsale properties. For the uninitiated, subsale properties are ‘secondhand’ properties that you can purchase from an existing owner and not the developer.

Why purchase subsale properties at all? There are many reasons why some would prefer a subsale property over a brand new one. For starters, they’re located in a matured neighbourhood that’s already equipped with all the amenities you’d need: shops, banks, schools, and more.

© ake1150 | 123rf

As the property is already there, it’s also much easier for you to do an inspection of both the house and its surrounding environment. You get to experience firsthand if you have good neighbours, how the area is like during the day and night, as well as any potential misgivings during the peak hour traffic. Having an existing property for you to check also allows you to inspect any visible wear and tear.

Of course, there are also certain reservations that come with purchasing subsale properties. For one, you won’t have a developer to complain to if you find a problem with your property after you purchase it. If the property is old, you might also need to spend a fair bit of money to refurbish it. We spoke to several experienced homebuyers to get their advice on what future homebuyers should look out for when buying a subsale property, and it’s gold.

Get good lawyers

“Ensure that you have a good and experienced lawyer on your side. The lawyer will advise you on all aspects to check and also help you deal with any difficulties that you may encounter during the entire purchasing process, whether from the original owner or the property agent.” — Kelvin T.

“Appoint your own layer. It may save you a portion of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) legal fees by sharing the same lawyer with the seller, but you’ll want someone to represent your best legal interest in mind.” — L.G.

Do your checks

“Visit the house during the nighttime. If you’re buying a condo unit, check for soundproofing issues — you might have upstairs neighbours that enjoy partying or stomping loudly.” — M.X.

“Once you’ve narrowed your options, hire a contractor to do a thorough defect check before putting down a deposit. This will help you to better estimate your repair and renovation costs.” — Ashley

Home improvement and renovation concept with hands holding a blank clipboard and work desktop on background, top view

Better agent, better offers

“Liaise with a certified property agent that has an extensive list for better options. The unit that we ended up purchasing was not listed online when it was offered to us.” — Laura G.

Be prepared to spend more

“If the property is an old one, set aside a fair amount of financial budget for repair works. Once the property is over 20 years old, you’ll need a fair bit of major repairs done such as the main piping, and so on.” — P.N.

Good things take time

“Be prepared for delays and a longer wait for Vacant Possession. For example, with our Memorandum of Transfer (MOT), things were moving very slowly at the Land Office with their dropbox system. A small clerical mistake can set you back another week or two.” — L.G.A.

Still unsure of whether you should purchase a subsale or a newly-launched property? We weigh out the pros and cons in this article. However, if you’ve made your decision and are ready to go ahead with a subsale property, here is a 7-step guide on purchasing a subsale property.

Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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