Looking for the right property for you and your family or for investment can be a very stressful exercise! First you need to know what are you “talking about” and, for this, you attend countless talks and webinars to understand better how property works.
Once you start knowing the subject, the real journey begin and you find yourself going from one sales gallery to the next one and spending hours in front of your laptop surfing through property listings, such as iProperty or PropertyGuru, to do compare and contrast analysis. Later you talk with your banker friend and start checking your loan eligibility to buy a property. For few days you ask few friends what do they think, know and recommend about the projects you are scouting and then, one day, you’re finally ready to go and book your property!
Excited like a teenager at the first dating night, you visit the chosen developer’s sales gallery and after few more questions and clarifications you hand over your IC and credit card to complete the booking of your property with the chosen developer. It’s done! You are now a house owner, congratulations, but…..is that all?
“Buying a Property is a journey which might last 20 to 30 years!”
Not really, the whole above story, which in some cases might have been lasting several weeks and great efforts, it is actually only the beginning of a “property – journey” which might last 20 to 30 years!
Let’s walk through the few important “day-after-signing-the-sales-and-purchase-agreement” happenings to get you all fit and ready for a painless homeownership journey.
The Beginning of the Real Journey
Buying a residential property from a developer, normally, means you are not going to occupy the unit for quite a while as still under construction.
Few things you need to double check and get ready for:
- When your unit will be delivered to you? Normally, allowed construction time for residential projects vary from a minimum of 24 months to a maximum of 36 months depending on the type of property, high-raise or condominium/apartment. However many developers, for different reasons, request and obtain extension up to 50 plus months!
- How to find this information? Easy to say, you need to check the SPA’s (Sale and Purchase Agreement) clause which states the delivery time of the property. Remember that, by law, the clock for the developer starts ticking from the date of registration of your SPA!
- Why this date is so important? Because in case the developer will deliver your property late, compensation will have to be paid to you under the form of Liquidated Ascertained Damages (LAD) for the delay in completion.
- A residential project has a “progressive payment schedule” which will produce withdrawal from your housing loan according to the certificate of progressive stage completion issued by the architect of the project. The developer should be sending you a copy of the payment claim, original is sent directly to the bank. Remember to give a call to the bank and make sure the transfer is done punctually to avoid any charge for late payment which all developers are calculating on the day they will deliver the property to you! The normal term given is 14 days from the date of the payment claim.
- According to the withdrawal stage of your loan you will keep on receiving progressive payment interest claims from your bank starting from the month after the first withdrawal. Take them positively as a “warming up exercise” to get fit and ready for the full loan repayment which will start the month after the delivery of vacant possession to you
Taking Possession of Your Property
Finally the day has come! The developer has sent you a letter to inform you that your property will be ready for handing over to you from a certain day onward.
It’s the moment to set aside one full day for this important appointment with the developer’s representatives and get ready for it. By the time you will go to the developer’s site office to receive the right to occupy your property, construction work has definitely ended and the building is complete and ready to be lived in.
On the day you collect the property, signing a form and receiving the keys of your unit, the developer will also handover a copy of the certificate of completion and compliance (CCC) also known as Borang F, Perakuan Siap dan Pematuhan. This document is released by the local authority council and confirms that a particular property is completed and safe to be occupied.
From a legal point of view, the delivery of your unit, from the SPA that you have signed, cannot happen without this document being released to you. Make sure, before signing the vacant possession form, that the CCC has been released and a copy is ready for you!
The Key Delivery
When you meet the developer’s representatives to take delivery of vacant possession, there will be several documents to be countersigned by you before the keys to your property will be in your hands. There might also be a claim for interest for late payment which might need a bit of time to be controlled and accepted. Do not rush over this as the responsibility for the delay might be chargeable to others! Finally, after having settled all the above, keys are placed in your hand.
Defect Liability Period
Since that moment, another important “time frame clock” starts ticking. It is a 18 to 24 months window within which any workmanship defect that you will find in your property shall be notified immediately to the developer who will need to settle it promptly
It is your right and you shall exercise it in a proper way. Nowadays, the digital transformation wave in the property industry, has made available plenty of great and easy to use applications to resolve in a seamless way not only the research, booking and purchase part of your journey but, most importantly, the aftermath of key delivery.
ProFix, a recently released by ProSales application, for instance, has been designed to ease all the communication between you and the developer on all your property’s defect claims. It allows a real time checking on the status of your claim and you will be aware of all parties involved in finding a solution for you! Check it out here!
Even though the “property warranty period” lasts for up to 24 months, it is always good to do a throughout checking of your house, define all the visible defects and irregularities from what stated in the SPA and inform the developer about it.
In the market there are several good “defect liability consultants” who might be helping you, in exchange of a reasonable fee, to understand what can or cannot be claimed and, above all, to identify all the possibly hidden defect and claim their repairing before the warranty expires.
Even though the defect might appearing small while your excitement for finally having your house keys is big, do not ignore it as you might be having to bear the cost to fix it later on.
Purchasing of a partially furnished property
The majority of developers are nowadays offering partially or fully furnished dwellings and, maybe, your dream-home falls under one on the two categories above.
If that is the case, be aware that the developer, right after delivering the keys to you, will need you to return the keys immediately to let the renovations works to start. This is perfectly fine and you will only need to be patient for few more months, normally from a minimum of 3 up to maximum 9.
“Do not return the keys of your new home without completing a first inspection!”
A “5 cents” piece of advice for you is, do not return the keys without completing a first inspection of your unit. Renovation works might be hiding defect which, in future, will trouble you in all possible ways to get them sorted out or, even worst, will only appear after few years and you will have to take care of them on your own!
Strata Property, condominium / strata-landed and Management Companies
In case you have purchased your home in a strata property, be informed that there will be a management company, initially appointed by the developer, to manage all the shared common areas and well-being of the condominium estate or gated community.
The management company is definitely necessary and will help all home owner to keep up the quality and value of the whole estate. Remember that it comes at a cost under the form of management fees estimated from RM0.25 per square feet and calculated by multiplying it by the total built-up size of your specific unit.
“It is important for all home owners to punctually pay the management fees!”
It is important for all property owners to punctually pay this fee which will translate in an efficient service provided by the management company to the whole community.
Applying for Utilities
Most developers, trying to help all their property-buyers, are planning the utilities’ application ahead of time and, often, they are asking you to sign and pay for the application of all utilities while the project is still under construction.
It is a good thing and will allow you to receive your home in a “plug and play” mode. If your developer is not doing it ahead of time, then make sure that, as soon as you receive the keys of your unit you will apply by yourself for all your necessities.
Most common utilities are:
- Electricity supply with Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s, for peninsular Malaysia, new account application
- Water supply, which in KL and Selangor is under Syabas, for water supply application
- Gas supply, in case the project has a piped in gas supply, application with Gas Malaysia’s natural gas supply
- Internet where you can choose between quite a range of different suppliers. Better check with the management which are the best ones in terms of quality of service first.
And then? Well you are good to go, welcome into your new home and happy and blessed staying over!
About the author
The opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author, Dr Daniele Gambero.
Dr Gambero has been an expatriate to Malaysia from Italy, since 1998 and has more than 35 years of real estate experience. He is the co-founder and group CEO of REI Group of Companies, the Co-founder of Propenomy.com and the deputy president of the Malaysia Proptech Association.
In the past 10 years Daniele, as international and TEDX speaker, has engaged several hundreds thousand people talking about Property, Economy, Propenomy, Digital Marketing and Motivation. He is also a bestselling author and columnist on several magazines and main stream media.