No Agent? No Problem

OK, this is my follow up post to the article on FSBO which I have wrote earlier. reader LC Lew had emailed me,

That’s fine if you’re selling. What if you’re “buying” solo? – LC Lew (

Here’s my answer:

LC Lew, Brave are those who sell their Malaysian house without an agent, but braver are those who face the risks, the work, and the confusion that is buying a home sans the aid of a pro real estate agent. Buying a Malaysian house without an agent is one of the rather odd moves that buyers these days take; with all the perks and practically zero-fees that come with hiring a purchasing agent, it is indeed odd. Like the proverb we used to say in Malay when we were kids, “Buah cempedak di luar pagar, ambil galah tolong jolokkan, tentu dapat buah cempedak itu.” Truer words have never been said!

But should you be one to decide that going on solo on your house buying endeavor, some tips might come in handy. Home buying is, after all, not something that you do regularly, and definitely not something you get used to.

So here are some tips to help make your house purchase a much easier one, even when you have to buy it on your own.

  • Make sure you are buying at an ideal market. Unless your house move is urgent, it is best to wait until the market is pretty much in your favor as a buyer. You’ll reap the benefits someday should you decide to resell the house and plan to make a profit out of it. Make yourself knowledgeable of the movements in the real estate market. See this article🙂
  • Get a pre-approval before anything else. Find the right mortgage lender for you – it does not have to be your bank nor the first mortgage company you find. Take time  find the right one that suits you, study the offers and the setbacks, and get a pre-approval. The pre-approval helps you narrow your search down.
  • Hire a good real estate lawyer. Without a buyer’s agent to walk you through the purchasing process, the best expert you have on the matter is a real estate lawyer. Trust me, they are worth every single penny you spend. Ask them about practically everything that concerns your purchase, especially when it comes to your contracts.
  • Get a Good Faith Estimate. This is a good and more or less accurate summary and estimate of your closing costs. You can go directly to your escrow agent for this. This is important if you’re going for “exotics” like  Kiaramas Cendana in Mont Kiara or Dedaun in Ampang.
  • With your pre-approval narrowing down your search, list down and categorize the other things you want for your house. List down the location, the size of the house, the price, etc. These will all help you narrow down your search even further.
  • Make use of all sorts of listings. With your listing practically limited with your equally limited access to real estate listings, make sure you try to access every single one that you can access. Look on Facebook, the Yellow Pages, Yahoo listings, and various real estate brokers’ websites.
  • Negotiate. Don’t hesitate to negotiate. Sellers know that negotiation and bargaining is part of the deal so take your time and learn the basics of negotiations.
  • Write a good offer. With the help of your real estate lawyer, make sure you have for yourself a written offer that protects you during the whole process. Call your lawyer for this.

I hope you like my answer, LC!