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Planning to visit Penang

Planning to visit Penang

Old Feb 4th 2016, 9:32 am
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Default Planning to visit Penang

Hi there

My husband and I are planning to visit Penang in late May/early June 2016, for a holiday but also to investigate property with a view to retirement in Malaysia. My husband has investigated the My Second Home programme extensively.

Can anyone help with contacts for viewing types of property available please? I realise there may not be estate agents in the well known form - not sure. We would like to see what sort of houses/condos are about and get to know the property market better. Obviously we have looked at property online but there may be aspects that are not so obvious that we would like to investigate.

We will be staying in Georgetown at the E&O Hotel.

Many thanks
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Old Feb 4th 2016, 1:04 pm
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Hello and welcome to the forum

I've split your post out from the Penang Food thread to your own topic, as it's a different subject. Re MM2H you will see that we have a dedicated section on here about retirement so do have a good browse through the existing topics. You'll find a lot of information on here.

If this is your first trip to Penang and you're considering retirement, I would recommend you hire a car and familiarise yourself with the very different areas around the island, especially from Gurney Drive over to Batu Ferringhi where most retirees are.

I'm sure you will enjoy the E&O but remember that George Town is not Penang, so do view areas with retirement in mind, if that is what you are planning.

Enjoy.
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Old Feb 4th 2016, 4:42 pm
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Hi and thanks - I'd already realised it was essentially the wrong thread so I started a new one as well!

We do intend to take a good look around.
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Old Feb 5th 2016, 2:14 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Hi Haachi,

Welcome to the British Expats Malaysia forum.

Can I suggest you make another post on this forum?
Once you have made three posts people can send you a Private Message (PM). You are more likely to get personal recommendations through PM than in the open forum.

If you could provide some more detail, it may be easier to point you in the right direction. E.g:
  • How many times have you been to Penang?
  • How familiar are you with the island, locations etc?
  • Where will you be moving from?
  • Are you looking to rent or buy?
  • What month do you intend to move to Malaysia?
If you intend to rent and the time lapse between your May/June recce and the start date of your tenancy is more than a couple of months, I think you may find many owners’ agents won’t help you much / or are unresponsive. They want a fast buck.

I suggest you engage your own agent to work on your behalf. That way you get someone that can speak the language, make the appointments, drive you around in their car to view, point out pros and cons etc. Doing this on your own is very hard work.

Normally you would pay your agent a commission only once you rent, equivalent to about two weeks rent – but you can agree any terms you like. If you’re not going to rent for a while and it’s only a recce maybe a flat fee arrangement would work best.

You are spot on about there being “aspects that are not so obvious”. There are plenty of pitfalls to be aware of, many of them discussed on this forum. I think your best bet is to try to meet some expats already living in Penang whilst you are there in May/June.

Meanwhile, I suggest iproperty.com.my is one of the best property websites for getting an idea of what’s available to rent or buy. For properties on Penang Island located in the areas that are most popular with expats I suggest:
Under ‘All States’ you select: ‘Penang’
Under ‘Areas’ you select:
  • Persiaran Gurney (Gurney Drive)
  • Pulau Tikus
  • Tanjong Tokong
  • Tanjung Bungah
  • Batu Ferringhi
  • And possibly ‘George Town’
It may be worth noting that the advertised asking prices are often way higher than what you can negotiate. For rentals I'd suggest a discount of 15% - 40% is achievable (there's an over supply in Penang).

Blimey, I'm beginning to sound like an agent.
Don't worry, I have nothing to sell you!

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Old Feb 5th 2016, 7:53 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

If you intend to rent a place: do you want it furnished or unfurnished? A lot of owners seem to assume that foreigners arrive with nothing but a suitcase of clothes. So condo's are often fully furnished to the level that there is virtually no space to add anything of your own. Unfurnished, or partially furnished, condo's are more difficult to find.
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Old Feb 5th 2016, 9:32 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Thanks for the replies - we are interested in any advice/information we can get. It's all very helpful.
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Old Feb 5th 2016, 9:45 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Thank you particularly JC3. In answer to some of your questions:
~We've spent time in Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur but not Penang so far, although other family members have visited Penang and loved it. We have travelled a fair bit in the Far East/South East Asia.
~We would be moving from England.
~Rent/buy? Good question. Whatever is the most suitable once we have seen more of what's on offer. Buying property is ingrained in us, but it may not be the best option here, which is what we want to try and establish.

Your comment about time lapse is very relevant as this is a fact finding mission with no immediate emigration plans.

Best,
Haachi
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Old Feb 5th 2016, 11:40 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Originally Posted by Haachi View Post
Thank you particularly JC3. In answer to some of your questions:
~We've spent time in Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur but not Penang so far, although other family members have visited Penang and loved it. We have travelled a fair bit in the Far East/South East Asia.
~We would be moving from England.
~Rent/buy? Good question. Whatever is the most suitable once we have seen more of what's on offer. Buying property is ingrained in us, but it may not be the best option here, which is what we want to try and establish.

Your comment about time lapse is very relevant as this is a fact finding mission with no immediate emigration plans.

Best,
Haachi
Hi Haachi,

OK great. I'll send you a Private Message (PM). You should see a Private Messages link at the top right of your screen.

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Old Feb 5th 2016, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Originally Posted by Haachi View Post
Buying property is ingrained in us, but it may not be the best option here, which is what we want to try and establish.

Best,
Haachi
Yes I am like that too. There are both Pros and Cons to Renting or Buying and you just have to work out which is the best option to suit you.

Personally I would not wish to rent long-term but that's mostly because I am thinking of the long-term plan and later retirement, and don't fancy being moved around rental wise when I am in my senior years.

If you were thinking of buying from an investment point of view, I personally wouldn't bother, since markets are so volatile.

I see more and more friends selling up and renting here in Penang. It is a Renter's market right now. So many empty flats. But, of course, you are always at the mercy of the Landlord.
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Old Feb 6th 2016, 6:19 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

But I think it is wise to mention the "lock up" period when you buy property: a foreigner is not allowed to sell his/her property shortly after buying it.
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Old Feb 6th 2016, 7:29 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Yep, true Sushifan. There is a 3 year lock-in in Penang for foreigners. You cannot sell your property until 3 years after signing the S&P. That includes new-builds. So, if you bought a unit for something not yet built, the clock starts ticking from the time you sign the S&P.

And there's RPGT, Real Property Gains Tax, as well Best to be sure you are going to stay a while.
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Old Feb 6th 2016, 7:39 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Exactly. I had forgotten the details. But because of these limitations have I decided to rent first (a couple of years?) before deciding whether I do want to stay here for a real long time and buy property.
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Old Feb 6th 2016, 7:59 am
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

Originally Posted by SushiFan View Post
Exactly. I had forgotten the details. But because of these limitations have I decided to rent first (a couple of years?) before deciding whether I do want to stay here for a real long time and buy property.
Very wise.

I must admit I (we) jumped straight in and bought a new build off-plan (something we said we would never do) but we've always done daft things. Anyway, I'm still living here 6 years later so I guess it wasn't too bad a choice.
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Old Feb 6th 2016, 4:21 pm
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

It's great to hear of all your personal experiences - thank you. This is the sort of information we need to know. I don't like the idea of being moved around renting-wise but we need to think the options through very carefully.

We will gather together a little file of info for our visit in May/June. We would not be looking to buy investment property over in Malaysia, only somewhere to live.
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Old Feb 6th 2016, 4:35 pm
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Default Re: Planning to visit Penang

On a more hobby-ish note - I am a keen horse rider and would always want to carry on riding if I could. I see Countryside Stables has a good reputation (thinking of this on the holiday coming up as well) - does anyone know about the horsey scene in Penang, costs etc?
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