knowledge pays the best interest
04/03/2005 The Sun
For many people, purchasing a home could well be the most important
financial decision of their lives. Therefore, it makes sense to approach
this decision carefully. Buying a home is unlike buying any other consumer
product as it covers several grounds including legal, financial, technical
and emotional considerations. To not educate yourself and learn from the
mistakes of others only sets you up to be, at best, disappointed and at
worst, "house poor".
Caveat emptor! Let the buyer
beware - this means that buyers should take responsibility for the
condition of the items they purchase and examine them before purchase. How
true is this for property buyers? It works well for buyers of completed
units but not for those buying from plans, when the construction has not
even commenced and there is nothing for the buyer to inspect or assess. At
least, with knowledge, you can enter the world of homeownership with more
First-time home buyers normally have little knowledge of
what aspects to look out for when they are ready to acquire a home. The
construction of a project involves numerous parties and legislation, and
when problems arise, help in any form is often time-consuming and costly.
Thus, the onus is on a prospective house buyer to be well educated on his
rights and to seek help from all sources available before making the first
In reality, there is no one-stop centre for a study of a
developer's record. It is common practice for big corporations to start a
new private limited company for every project; as such, you might not be
able to check track records unless you have the names of all the
subsidiary companies formed.
There are also instances where the project is a one-time
venture that the company or individual undertakes. You will have to do
some investigative work to get the information you want.
Here, we list some sources where a potential house buyer
can do his research.
From the National House Buyers Association (HBA)'s
website at www.hba.org.my. There are well over 2,000 pages of information,
a forum board, publications, frequently asked questions as well as links
to much more information. Numerous guides are available on specific
If the parent company is listed - check on Bursa
Malaysia (formerly known as the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange)'s website at
www.klse.com.my for the background and subsidiaries of the company. Also
read all announcements for litigation news and public reports;
If the company is licensed by the Ministry of Housing
and Local Government, check for information based on housing developers,
licence and permit numbers, projects, list of the addresses of
consultants, architects of projects, statistics and so on at
www.kpkt.gov.my/idaman/index.htm. However, the information is only
restricted to the subsidiary company or vendor and there is limited
information on past performances. In some cases, the information has not
been updated. Write to the ministry if the information that you seek has
not been updated or make an attempt to visit the ministry's monitoring and
Check the archives of some online news providers that
provide this service;
Ask the developer for the names of the projects it
claims to have developed, so that you can go look for yourself and maybe
contact some of the past buyers for feedback. Most developers would not
hesitate to provide these references of their past projects and those with
websites would have proudly listed all their subsidiaries and past
projects on the websites;
Check also from websites that provide court decisions;
for instance, www.kehakiman. gov.my or www.ipsofactoj.com. These sites
provide a selection of cases of companies involved in lawsuits; and
Keep yourself up-to-date on news of housing-related laws
and so on by reading and keeping articles of relevance in your own file:
The "I didn't know that" expression seems to be a common grouse among
aggrieved house buyers.
That makes us realise that house buyers often do not
acquire enough knowledge in their own interest at the beginning of their
quest for homeownership.
To help house buyers ask the right questions before
purchasing, HBA has published a book entitled House Buyers Guide Book. It
is designed to provide valuable information that house buyers are expected
to know before they proceed with a purchase.
It is also to help them be aware of their rights as
purchasers so as to be constantly on guard and to avoid the likelihood of
possible and future pitfalls, vis-a-vis housing developers, in their quest
to purchase a property "off the plans" - that is, incomplete units not
readily available but under construction. The book, which is available in
three languages, costs RM5.
Those interested may purchase by mail order via the HBA
website or from its secretariat.
However, these are just the initial research stages.
There are pros and cons of buying a new home from a developer. The
pitfalls of buying "off-plan" are just too numerous to mention here. As
such, a developer that understands the anxieties of a new house buyer,
treats individual buyers with respect and assists in minimising problems
is the kind of developer you would want to deal with. - The National House
The National House Buyers Association is a voluntary, non-governmental
organisation that strives to protect house buyers' rights and interests.
For more information, visit www. hba.org.my