7 tips to buying your first family home in Kota Kinabalu

By Natasha Sim | Parents Avenue’s Writer | Images courtesy of Juliana Chai & Freepik

Owning a home is truly the milestone that all of us are waiting for once we hit the #adulting years. It is especially so if you’re just newly married and are looking to welcome a new bundle of joy!

But what do we have to know before signing the dotted line? 

Parents Avenue sat down to speak to veteran negotiator of Property Hub Juliana Chai who shares with us some tips on buying your first home in Kota Kinabalu.

#1 Location, location, location!

This cannot be said enough. Juliana says to first determine the location of where you’d like your first home to be. This can be a place that’s closer to your workplace, or closer to school if you have children. 

Other than that, think about what other conveniences are you looking for that is close to home. Once you’ve determined a preferred location, a property agent can then help you narrow down prospects within your budget. 

Juliana Chai is senior property negotiator at Property Hub
#2 Know how much you can afford

Which brings us to the next point—be honest about how much you can afford when buying your home! “Look at the homes you’re interested in and check your income against the price range of those homes,” Juliana said. 

At the end of the day, it is really about making sure that you are financially eligible for purchasing a first home. “There’s no point in viewing 10 homes then being disappointed when you cannot afford even one,” she added. 

#3 Do your research on property developers!

“Once you’ve set your sight on a prospective home, please make sure you do your research on the developer,” she said. It is very important to check your developers background because this informs you on the workmanship of your future home and other details during the process of purchasing your home.

Your developer should have a good profile and track record of launching projects on time. “You’d want to avoid almost bankrupt developers who are still launching new developments,” she said. 

#4 Start shopping for a loan

According to Juliana, there are plenty of free services online and through mobile applications that will help you get a pre-approval loan check done. That way you can roughly determine where you stand financially in your quest to purchase a home.

The next step then is for you to start shopping for a loan. Compare rates from different banks to find the best fit. For first home buyers, Juliana says most banks would normally offer a loan of up to 90% of the property’s price.

#5 Look into new projects for your first home

A typical question when purchasing a house would be: should I buy a new or secondhand? In this case, Juliana advised to look for new projects or development especially if you are going to be a first home owner!

You would typically fork out less upfront when buying a brand new home compared to secondhand. “It’s higher cost to purchase for sub-sale properties,” she said. 

On top of paying for your new house, you’d have to pay other miscellaneous fees and charges such as stamp duty fees, legal fees, transfer of ownership fees, amongst others.

Most developers would help cover such fees when purchasing new property, whereas you’d be required to settle miscellaneous payments in full when you buy a sub-sale property. Other than that, you are required to make a 10% down payment upfront for sub-sale lots.

#6 No need to wait for your dream home 

Start small with something you can afford when buying your first home. There’s no need to wait for your dream home that’s too big or too expensive for you to upkeep in the long-term, Juliana advised. 

Meanwhile, she spoke frankly that renting a place means that you’re paying to cover the expenses and loan of someone else’s property. You could be better off paying for your own home. “Why not pay for capital appreciation for your future,” she says.

#7 Try not to overthink your decision

When asked what she thinks is the most common mistake first home buyers make? Most miss out on really great deals because they overthink their decision to buy!

According to her, it’s totally understandable to feel fearful and have a little anxiety over signing the deal to purchase a new home. But because of this fear, a lot of buyers tend to overlook or pass up some fantastic opportunities to purchase.

#8 Stay away from coffee shop talk

Lastly, keep up to date with the latest property market information from property agents themselves! Or at least those that work in the property industry.

“A lot of decision making by first home buyers are influenced by talking to friends and family, of which some of the information might not even be true,” Juliana said. 

Talking to property agents and valuers would give you a glimpse of current market prices and any other relevant information that are based on actual facts and figures. Hearing the right opinion counts!  

Juliana Chai is a senior real estate negotiator for Sabah’s premier real estate agency Property Hub. One may view her listings by visiting Julianachai.iagent.my.

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