Mums have a lot of say when it comes to purchasing a home for the family. In Malaysia, most mums work and earn, contributing a sizable portion of the household income. Therefore, a lot of decision-making also lies in their hands.\r\n\r\nMums are also better at making decisions about the functionality of the home. They will look at details since they will be the ones cooking and preparing meals for the family, taking care of the needs of the children, doing the laundry, mopping the floor and so on. They want a home that will \u201cwork with them\u201d in their daily flow of routines.\r\n\r\nThere are many new-launch projects that are worth considering \u2500 whether landed or highrise \u2500 and developers are creating housing suited to the current needs of buyers.\r\nA Home as Education Fund for your Children\r\nAnd it is good to buy rather than rent. In the end you will have a home that is yours. A home is always a great investment for the future. Homes give you capital appreciation \u2500 meaning it grows in value over time and this can be your nest egg for your future. You can sell that house say\u202610 or 15 years down the line and use that money to foot your children\u2019s higher education.\r\n\r\nAnother way to buy that house is to consider it as rental property \u2500 meaning you rent out that house and use your tenant's to pay off your mortgage. This means you do not have to fork out from your own pocket to pay your housing loan. In the end, the house becomes yours without you having paid much for it. That's the basic premise for rental properties.\r\nOwning a Home is a Lifetime Commitment\r\nBut, buying a home for whatever reason \u2500 whether you want a cosy abode to live in where you can bring up your children or whether you want to build equity for yourself \u2500 is going to demand a large commitment from you as it is a Big Ticket that you may be spending the next 35 years to pay off.\u00a0 The first of a series of costs would be making your downpayment as this would be your first step towards purchasing that house.\r\n\r\nThe good news is \u2500 when you buy a new development (meaning a new project\/building launched by a developer) \u2500 you get many things free, such as: Free legal fees for your Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA), free or at least discounted Stamp Duty fees, free Memorandum of Transfer (MOT), Zero Booking Fee and so on and so forth.\r\nNote that the above doesn\u2019t apply to every single new project in town. Developer offers differ from developer to developer and project to project. However, developers are very creative these days in helping buyers own their first home.\r\n\r\n\r\nSome of these projects are simply amazing, as can be seen in the pictures above.\u00a0 They are are lifestyle-conscious, breathtakingly beautiful and affordable too (from RM300,000). A lot of new residential homes are nowadays surrounded by and built as part of a townships.\r\n\r\nHowever, before you rush to sign on the dotted line or get infected by FOMO (just because your friends and relatives are snapping up units like hotcakes), mums (and dads of course) are advised to first do some homework regarding how to purchase a property.\r\nCheck out the following guidelines:\r\n1. Know Your Stuff by Doing Some Research First\u00a0\r\n\r\nAs with anything in life \u2500 before jumping into a lifelong commitment, do a little research in terms of the various types of homes and land types available such as Freehold, Leasehold, Bumi Lot, Malay Reserve and so on. Each comes with pros and cons. Then there is Strata Titles and Individual Titles, the former applies more to vertical homes like apartments and condominiums, although some landed properties are also strata titled. \u00a0Additionally, research what Commercial and Residential title means and the many hidden costs you may have to pay if you choose a home in a commercial-titled project. (Commercial titles are for homes built as a mixed development where there may be hotels, shopping malls and retail units built as part of the development).\r\n\r\nA lot of your early homework or research regarding your home's titles can be found online and\u00a0 read-up for free in the many property portals online.\r\n\r\n2. Study the Types of Mortgages and Lending Rates Available\r\n\r\nThere are all kinds of flexible homes loans as well as Fixed rate loans as well as Conventional Loans versus Islamic Loans. Don't rush into the first bank that offers you the loan. Then there are Bank Negara Malaysia\u2019s Lending Policies. Those bank loans based on the Base Lending Rate (BLR) will go up or down depending on the BLR. For example \u2500 since May 2019, the Indicative Effective Rate of a Standard RM350, 000 Housing Loan for 30 years in Malaysia is 4.35% as stated by Maybank. What does this mean and how will it affect your housing loan\/mortgage which you will have to pay off every month regardless of whether your household income rises or not?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n3. Check out the Developer\u2019s Reputation\r\n\r\nYou may not think this is important when told by a salesman about what a great buy a property is but reputation of its developer is key in determining whether you home will turn out to be the dream home investment it is touted to be or a dud. As a rule of thumb, stick with long standing, award-winning or recognised developers. A developer\u2019s track record is a dead giveaway as to the kind of property you will get in the end such as whether or not the home you are investing your life savings in might fall apart due to shoddy materials and workmanship, or if it will appreciate in a bustling township over time is determined by the name of that developer.\r\n\r\nCheck also the facilities promised in a project. They may look great in a brochure and some projects or apartments and condominiums boast 70 to 100 facilities designed for the multigenerational family unit \u2500 children, parents and grandparents \u2500 to use for the next few decades. Will your family use all of these facilities or will you just be paying a lot of money to maintain these 70 to 100 facilities? Remember, when purchasing apartments or condominiums, you have to pay maintenance fees on top of your housing loan\/mortgage as all facilities have to be maintained to keep them in good working condition for the residents over the years. Do not be swayed by pizzazz.\r\n\r\n4. Money, Money, Money \u2500 Can You Afford to Buy a Home?\r\n\r\nGenerally speaking, your monthly loan installment should not exceed one-third of your household income \u2500 the pay you and your husband take home after all the deductions. If your combined household income is RM12,000 for instance, then the monthly repayments of your first home must not be more than RM4,000.\r\n\r\nAlso, first-time homebuyers have to pay about 10% of the house purchase price. The remaining price of the home will be financed by the bank through a housing loan. If your target home costs RM300,000 \u2013 you will have to come up with RM30,000 as its initial downpayment.\r\n\r\nYou may utilise EPF Withdrawals for Housing using money from your EPF Account 2 to pay the downpayment. However, there are steps involved in the withdrawal of this money but it should not cause any delay if you submit your forms immediately after you sign your SPA.\r\n\r\nRemember too, to set aside some cash for the purchase of furniture, fixtures, fittings and renovations.\r\n\r\nFurthermore, there is also such a thing known as Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) and CTOS to ascertain your financial repayment history for your credit cards and so on. The information is stored in Bank Negara. Whether or not you qualify for a loan will depend a lot on CCRIS and CTOS.\r\n\r\n(CTOS is a private company, and one of Malaysia\u2019s leading Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) under the Credit Reporting Agencies Act 2010. They too provide credit reporting and is also widely used by financial institutions to determine an applicant\u2019s creditworthiness aside from CCRIS).\r\n\r\n5. Determine the Location of Your Would-be Home\r\n\r\nLocation plays an important role in your decision as to where to buy versus what to buy. Sure, a project may look like a value-for-money deal with many spacious rooms, a huge kitchen and wide living spaces for you to bring up your family comfortably in. But look beyond your front door. You don\u2019t live in an oyster and "No Man is an Island", as the saying goes. You will need to connect with the outside world.\r\n\r\nWill your dream home \u00a0be surrounded by a teeming hub filled with clinics, childcare centres, banks, schools, restaurants, supermarkets and an LRT or MRT for public transport, \u00a0or will you be stuck in the boondocks without accessibility to even your daily needs such as food?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe home may be affordable but cost in how much money, time and inconvenience will factor in to fetch and send the children to the nearest school everyday or for you to reach your workplace using your car and paying tolls or even to grab a bite or buy groceries.\r\n\r\nSometimes it takes developers at least 10 years to build up a masterplan. If you move in early to a proposed township further away from the city centre, you may have to contend with some inconveniences while the township gradually fills with life. Go back to Point No: 2 to get indications from developer track record to ascertain whether a township will materialize as seen on paper, or not.\r\n\r\nThe good part about buying a new project in a yet-to-be developed township is that you will usually enjoy a lot of early-bird discounts and freebies. It will save you a lot in the long run. Otherwise buy closer to town or at least where you will have easy access to all the amenities you and your family will need.\r\n\r\nFor more information on how to own a home, go to Motherhood.com.my.