Personal, Personal Finance

Renting our first apartment in Malaysia.

Hello!

As I mentioned in my February 2020 expenses, Aiman and I recently moved into our first apartment in Malaysia. No, we did not buy our own house yet, as we didn’t feel like it was the right time to buy a house. Personally, I also feel like it’s a little too early, considering how we’ve just returned home to Malaysia and our careers are just starting.

At first, we were not planning to rent our own place just yet, at least until later in the year. But I guess things changed a little and we had to change our plans.

Anyhow. I just wanted to document the process we went through in renting our first apartment in Malaysia. It’s more of a personal journey, but, who knows, maybe it’d be useful for any first-timers in renting out there.

First things first – picking the location.

Before anything else, we had to know where we would want to live in. For Aiman & I, one of the main purposes of us renting our own place is for me to be closer to my workplace. Driving from Bukit Jelutong (where my parents live) and Seri Kembangan (where I work) requires me to leave the house immediately after Subuh (6:30 or 6:40 am, at the very latest). The tolls were also adding up (~RM11 a day for a return trip), so we were looking for a place that would allow me to cut down my commuting time and cost.

So, for us, it was mainly looking at places around Seri Kembangan and/or Taman Equine area. We also expanded our search range to nearby towns, such as Kajang, Bangi, Puchong, and a few others.

Second step – calculating your budget for the rental payment.

Since it was our first time renting a place in Malaysia, we didn’t really know what would be the ‘appropriate’ rental price to pay. However, I did know that people said that we shouldn’t spend more than 30% of our income on rent. That 30% estimate gave us a rough budget on how much to spend on rent.

renting apartment malaysia
Our home sweet home.

We also looked at the average price of rent in the areas we were looking at. Some places, such as bigger towns and places closer to LRT stations or other public transportation, have higher rent. Furnished apartments also cost more, obviously, so we surveyed various places and adverts and came up with a rough idea.

Step three – Decide on what you’re looking for in your rental property.

For Aiman & I, we’ve decided in advance that we didn’t want a big place. We just needed either a studio apartment or a 1-bedroom apartment to start with, mainly because we didn’t feel the need to get a bigger place just yet.

We also didn’t really mind whether to rent a furnished or unfurnished apartment. However, we were more inclined towards renting a furnished apartment, mainly for convenience. After all, we might not be renting this place for too long, maybe a couple of years at the very max. Renting a furnished apartment would make it easier later on when we move out, as we wouldn’t have to worry about taking out the furniture and everything.

And then there’s the usual facilities and services offered in the apartment building or nearby areas. Security, pool/gym, food areas, laundry services, etc. All of those can be taken into consideration, depending on what’s important for you and/or your partner.

Next – Start surveying and looking at places.

Finding and renting an apartment in Malaysia is not hard. There are definitely a lot of places to look for rental properties online. I’ve listed some here, but you should definitely check out the others as well.

Definitely take your time to survey the market, check the average prices of apartments and reach out to different agents. If you’re looking for a furnished apartment (like we were), check out different units in the same building, as different units may have different sets of furniture, depending on the owners.

Enjoying the new place so far.

You should also read up reviews from other people, especially those who have previously rented in the building or own a unit there. Go through forums like Lowyat or Reddit to learn about people’s prior experience. Find out if there have been prior issues with the management or security of the building.

If you would be moving into a new area, as I did, it’d also be good for you to scout out the neighborhood. See where the closest amenities are around the place, such as the mosque, public transportation, main highways and all. If the building has facilities (gym, pool, etc), make sure you check them out too.

If you’re moving into an apartment complex, double-check on the parking and security. Maybe ask about how it would be if you were to have guests over, and where the guests would be parking. If you’re moving into a place with your partner, check if they provide one or two parking lots. Ask about access cards or keys as well.

Final step – signing that rental agreement.

Once you’ve found the one place that you like, congratulations, you’re almost ready to move in!

But, before you sign that rental agreement, make sure you’ve done the following:

  1. Completely check every nook and cranny in the house/apartment. Test every faucet to ensure the water runs well. Check every socket to make sure they’re working. Check the paint job on the walls.
  2. If it’s furnished, confirm what furniture would be included. Request and negotiate for additional furniture if you want to (i.e. I requested the owner to add in a side table for the bed and a shoe rack).
  3. Confirm the monthly rental amount and payment methods. Also, confirm when the rent would be due each month. Don’t forget about utility payment as well!
  4. Confirm who will be responsible for certain things, such as airconditioning maintenance, house leaks, security fees, and other miscellaneous payments. Checking this in advance would prevent further problems down the road.
  5. Double-check the tenancy agreements and make sure you fully understand what you’re signing. Confirm your tenancy start and end dates and the possibility for extension or renewal. Understand what you can and cannot do as a tenant. This includes things like having pets, redecorating the place, painting the walls, etc.
  6. Confirm the deposit payment. Usually, a tenancy agreement would ask for a 2 months deposit + 0.5 months for the utility deposit.

And that should be good, I think. If you think I missed anything out, do share in the comment section for other readers to learn as well!

Home sweet home!

This is our first time renting an apartment in Malaysia, so I’m a little excited and happy about this milestone in our lives. And we were lucky because we found a pretty good one that is super close to my workplace. When I mean close, I legit mean close – I can literally see my office from our living room.

Had some friends over last weekend, just before we all had to practice social distancing and restrict our movement and all.

I still have no idea if we’ll be renewing our lease for this apartment. It would all have to depend on the next few months and how it’d be when Aiman starts working. So, we’ll just figure it out when it comes along.

So, that’s pretty much the process we went through when renting our first apartment in Malaysia. It’s not that much different from when we rented our student accommodations back in the US/UK, but I feel like it’s a lot more independent work now. Well, obviously, because when you’re a student, you have the university’s accommodation office to help you out and everything.

But I pretty much enjoyed the whole renting process. I definitely enjoy apartment hunting, so that kind of help. And I’m thankful that Aiman’s not the picky type, so basically it was just me looking for the place that I want (hihi).

Alright then, until next time! Take care & stay awesome! 🙂

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