I was staying in the state of Arizona, the USA after the 9/11 incident in 2001. My wife was working for Intel and I was a self-employed musician. When we went back to Penang in 2002, the first thing we did was hunting for our first home.

The property is about double the price on the Penang island compared to similar size property on the mainland. Anyway, due to time-saving factor, we narrowed our search to properties within a 5km radius from Penang Intel where my wife works.

The Property That We Like

We can afford a property below RM300k. Since we wanted to move into our new home immediately, we didn’t even consider any new development project because we didn’t like to wait a few years and keep on renting and moving again.

It boiled down to two major choices to make – whether a well-maintained apartment or a landed single-story terrace house. For a freehold single-storey terrace, the price is above RM300k. But we have a lot more choices if we are fine with leasehold title. We view a few high-rise apartment and some were very well maintained.

But both of us has been staying on landed houses all these while. So we treasure the convenience of being able to park our vehicle within our housing compound, and don’t have to pay a monthly maintenance fee for the common facility.

After viewing more than 20 properties within your budget, eventually, we bought a fully renovated single-storey terrace house. The property was nicely renovated and furnished with almost everything e.g. water heater, sofa, air-con, fridge, auto-gate, kitchen cabinet etc.  So we moved in after a paint job and thorough cleaning.

The location is superb! My wife could reach her office within 5 minutes drive. Within 100 meters, I could reach the biggest wet market, the biggest public swimming pool, the biggest convention centre and also a supermarket. Even the major banks and famous eateries are just within 100 meters walking distance.

Cut the story short, we are happy to have made that wise decision because we got to enjoy a very cosy property without much capital outlay. Some people fear about leasehold status, but yet we managed to sell the property in 2013 for RM510k, more than double the price we paid which is RM250k back in 2002.

Moving To A Landed Property

Years later, we moved to a new semi-detached landed property. We liked the property too. But there is a major problem that we couldn’t control. The owner of the property next to us is an investor. We never met him and the disturbing fact is that he let out his property to foreign workers. This is something we never expected because logically, who would buy a semi-detached landed property for foreign workers to stay in? Well, my neighbour did!

There were 16 aliens staying next to us. We don’t mean to discriminate any nationality or race, but if I have a choice, I would prefer to stay in a good neighbourhood. A few years later, we moved and the property is still stuck there until today. I tried to sell it and the major concern of any potential buyers is the “special neighbour”. Who would want to spend millions ringgit to stay beside foreign workers?

Then we realised that whenever possible, it is best to buy a sub-sale property for our own stay because we get to choose who will be living next to us!

Your Experience

I am sure that you too experience something similar or other difficulties in acquiring your property. So, if you have any stories or tips on purchasing home, good or bad, share them! I am sure many will benefit from your experience. Send it to PropertyGuru and stand a chance to win RM10,000 cash.


Personal finance author and trainer

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