Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

5 Debt Management Tips

It may be impossible to totally erase debt from your life, particularly if you have made significant commitments like purchasing a home or pursuing further education. However, you may properly manage your debt so that you have more control over your finances. Ensuring that your debts are well-managed will have a long-term positive impact on your credit score.

Here are five suggestions for better debt management:

 

Analyzing & Recording Spending Habits

Analyzing your spending habits and identifying all unnecessary expenses is the greatest strategy to get debt under control. For one month, keep track of every penny you spend, even if it seems insignificant (like food or movie tickets). You’ll be able to see how much of your expenditure is constant and how much is variable if you do this.

Make a note of all your debt obligations, as well as the interest you’re paying on each one. Put them in order of highest to lowest interest rate. After you’ve completed these steps, it’ll be easy to determine where you can save money.

Obtaining and reviewing your full credit report is a wonderful approach to learn more about your finances, credit health, and credit score.

 

Reduce The Number Of Extras

Add up all of your expenses and compare the total to your monthly income. Use the additional money to pay off your debts if it is less than what you earn. Figure out which variables you need to cut back on if it surpasses your income.

 

Reduce FIXED COSTS

Find innovative strategies to reduce your household expenses, such as moving to a less expensive neighbourhood or refinancing your mortgage to get a lower interest rate. If you have an excellent payment history, you may be able to persuade your credit card issuer to reduce the interest rates you pay.

Boost Your Earnings

Consider whether there are any ways to increase your earnings, such as compensated overtime hours or working on public holidays. You might also consider additional sources of income, such as coaching, teaching, freelancing employment, or starting an online business.

 

Pay Off The Debt

Focus on settling the debt with the highest interest rate first once you’ve determined the utmost amount you can afford to pay down each month. This manner, once the debt is paid off, you will save money on high interest rates in the long term.

 

To read more, please scroll further:

Contributed by CTOS

It may not be possible to completely eliminate debt from your life, especially if you have made important investments such as buying a home or pursuing higher education. However, the debt you have can be managed carefully so that you have better control over your finances. Ensuring that your debts are well-managed will also reflect positively on your credit health in the long run.

Here are five tips on how to manage your debt better.

 

Record your expenses 

The best way to get debt under control is by analysing your spending behaviour and identifying all unnecessary expenses. For one month, record every cent you spend, including what you may consider minor expenses (like food or movie tickets). By doing this, you will be able to see clearly how much of your spending is fixed and how much is variable.

Next, make a list of all your debt obligations and the interest you are charged for each. Put them in order of interest rate, from highest to lowest. Once you have done these steps, it will be easier to see where you can cut down on your expenses.

A good way to know more about your finances, credit health and credit score is to obtain and check your full credit report. For instance, a full MyCTOS Score report will give you a comprehensive insight into all major areas of your credit health and let you know where you stand in the eyes of banks and lenders. Get your free MyCTOS Score report at https://rewards.starproperty.my/ ctosscorecheck when you register with CTOS.

 

Cut back on extras

Add up the expenses on the list and compare the amount to your monthly income. If it is less than what you earn, use the extra money as your debt payment. If it exceeds your income, figure out which variables you need to cut back on.

 

Lower fixed expenses

Find creative ways to lower your household bills, move to an area with cheaper rent or refinance your mortgage to get a lower interest rate. If you have a good payment history, you may ask your credit card company if they would consider lowering the interest rates they charge you.

 

Increase your income

Consider whether there is any way to boost your income, such as paid overtime hours or public holiday working options. You may also want to think about secondary income generators, such as coaching, teaching, freelance work or running an online business.

 

Settle the debt 

Once you figure out the maximum amount you can afford to pay off each month, focus on resolving the debt with the highest interest rate first. This way, once the debt is settled, you will save in the long run on high interest rates.

 

Established in 1990, CTOS is a leading credit reporting agency under the ambit of the Credit Reporting Agencies Act 2010. Its three-digit CTOS Score will show your creditworthiness. It is an evaluation of an individual’s credit history and capability to repay financial obligations. The higher the score, the higher your chances of securing a loan.

 

Source: Star Property

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

How Different Lighting Can Help Your Home Look Better

People who aren’t well-versed in the principles of interior design may believe that lighting is merely required to provide enough visibility throughout the home. Ambient light certainly meets these minimal needs, but in order to take interior design a step further, we must first comprehend the three fundamental forms of lighting, their roles, and how to use them. Layering is the process of bringing them together, and this combination of different intensities and colours will result in a highly engaging, functional, and beautiful environment.

The main source of lighting in your home is ambient light. An overhead light source centred in the room is frequently used to provide this general, foundational illumination. It serves a practical purpose by allowing inhabitants to perceive their surroundings and carry out daily tasks in the room without being visually hampered.

The criteria for ambient light is simple: it should be bright enough to grasp the essence of a space but not so bright that it disturbs your mood. According to a basic rule of thumb, one light should be used for every four square feet of ceiling.

Task lighting, as the name implies, serves the essential goal of illuminating your workspace. Task lighting includes things like desk lamps, reading lamps, and kitchen cabinet lighting. Task lighting should always be brighter than the ambient light in the room since it is focused.

If the ambient light is brighter than your work light, there’s no point to have a desk lamp in the first place, unless it’s for aesthetic reasons. Adjustability is vital in this situation because you will need to manipulate your light source according to the nature of your activity. Choose portable fixtures with movable arms, and make sure the bulb has built-in dimming so that the light intensity may be adjusted as needed.

Accent lighting, unlike the preceding two, is more of a decorative element than a source of illumination. It can be used to enhance attractiveness, set the mood in a room, or draw attention to fascinating architectural components in your interior design.

Uplighting strategically produces a calm, romantic mood over a dining table for two, while bulbs in diffusers throw a mystery, museum-like character over your exhibition of valuable china. Form might take priority over function when it comes to accent lighting.

You can also set your lighting to create shadows on the corners of your property, softening the edges. Accent lighting is an art form, and there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to art, only personal tastes in the face of a wide range of options.

 

To read more, please scroll further:

People who are unschooled in the ways of interior design may assume that lighting is necessary only to allow adequate vision in the house. Ambient light definitely fulfils such low requirements, but to take interior design a little further, we need to understand the three basic types of lighting, their functions, and how to play with them. The effort of uniting them together is called layering, and this combination of different intensities and colour will make a truly engaging, functional and beautiful environment.

 

Ambient Lighting

Ambient light is the main source of lighting in your house. This general, foundational lighting is usually engaged through an overhead light source centred in the room. Its purpose is functional, allowing occupants to discern their surroundings and to perform daily activities in the room without any visual inhibition.

With ambient light, the rule is simple—lighting should be good enough to get the gist of an area, but not too bright to disturb your mood. A simple thumb rule suggests approximately one light for every four square feet of ceiling.

 

Task Lighting

As the name suggests, task lighting serves the practical purpose of providing illumination to perform your work. Desk lamps, reading lamps, and kitchen cabinet lighting all come under the task lighting category. Since task lightning is focus-oriented, it should always be brighter than the ambient light in the room.

If the light in the surrounding is more intense than your task light, then there really is no reason to have a desk lamp in the first place, unless its presence serves an aesthetic purpose. Here, adjustability is important as you need to manipulate your light giving source as according to the nature of your work. Choose portable fixtures with movable arms, and ensure that the lamp has a built-in dimming capability so that the intensity of the light can be changed accordingly.

 

Accent Lighting

Here is where you break the rules. Accent lighting, unlike the previous two, acts more as an element of aesthetics than a provider of vision. It accentuates beauty, sets the mood in a particular space, or to highlight interesting architectural structures in your interior design.

Strategic uplighting gives your display of expensive china a mysterious, museum-like quality, while bulbs in diffusers cast a mellow, romantic atmosphere over a dining table for two. With accent lighting, form can take precedence over function.

For example, Edison bulbs lack light output but radiate with a soft, inner glow, that can be very attractive. The design of the case holding the light source is equally important if you are attempting to showcase your style.

You can also position your lighting in a way to cast shadows on the corners, which softens the edges of your house. Accent lighting is art, and with art, there are no right or wrong, just preferences in the face of a multitude of choices.

 

Source: Star Property

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

Plagued By Termites, Homeowner?

At some point in life, you’ve probably heard of termites. The wood eating, home-destroying insects that will munch away at all the wood in your house over time. However, termites can be dealt with fairly easily nowadays.

Soil treatment or liquid injection is a termite treatment method in which a repellent chemical solution is injected or sprayed into the soil beneath your home. This can be done ahead of time to prevent further infestations, with the termicide sprayed before the concrete floor slabs are laid down.

For homes that have already been completed, holes can be bored in the floor and the chemicals injected before being resealed.

Drywood termites, on the other hand, construct their nests above ground, thriving without soil and obtaining moisture from the air and wood they consume. This species’ treatment is a little different: holes are bored into the wood they infest, and then termicide is injected.

A baiting technique is a superior option for eradicating entire colonies without causing property owners any inconvenience. It’s a tried-and-true approach for eradicating worker termites and cutting off their food supply. The king, queen, and soldier termites all starve to death.

Termite baiting is a multi-step process that takes many weeks to months to complete, depending on the magnitude of the infestation.

Because termites only eat wood and cellulose, they must first establish a feeding cycle. Scouts must locate termite bait sites and leave a scent for worker termites to follow and consume the bait. The bait will be replaced with undetectable toxic compounds that will eventually kill the worker termites after a feeding cycle has been established.

Next, to prevent the worker termites from moulting and reproducing, hormones will be injected into the feeding station. The amount of hormones injected is determined by the colony’s size. Once enough worker termites have been destroyed, the termite colony will starve to death.

Termite extermination costs vary based on the size of the property, but are typically in the range of RM2.50 per sq ft for soil treatment and RM1,200 for termite baiting.

 

To read more, please scroll further:

Part one of this article described the various types of termites found in Malaysia and how to tell if they are present in your home. These little creatures are incredibly destructive and have been known to cause damage of up to RM400 million a year.

So, armed with some knowledge of what they look like and how an infestation can be identified, how do you get rid of them? Here are two recommended approaches.

 

Soil treatment or liquid injection

This is an effective solution for termite control where a repellant chemical solution, also known as termicide, is injected or sprayed into the soil under your property.

This can be done before construction to avoid future infestations, with the termicide sprayed before concrete floor slabs are placed.

For homes that are already built, holes can be drilled into the floor and injected with the chemicals before being resealed afterwards.

Drywood termites, however, build their nests above ground, surviving without soil and drawing moisture from the air and wood they infest. Treatment for this species is slightly different: holes are drilled into the wood they infest, and then injected with termicide.

 

Baiting system

A baiting system is the better approach for eliminating entire colonies without creating disruption to property owners. It is a well-proven method that targets worker termites, cutting off food supply. The king, queen and soldier termites end up dying of starvation.

Termite baiting is a gradual process that takes several weeks to months, depending on the infestation size, and involves a few steps:

 

  • Pre-baiting

Termites only eat wood and cellulose, so the feeding cycle must first be established. Scouts will need to find the termite bait station and leave a scent for worker termites to follow and feed on the bait in these stations.

Once a feeding cycle has been set, the bait will be replaced with undetectable toxic chemicals that eventually kill the worker termites.

  • Growth hormones

The next step is to inject hormones into the feeding station to stop the worker termites from moulting and reproducing. The quantity of hormones injected depends on the size of the colony.

  • Wait it out

Once enough worker termites are killed, the entire termite population will gradually die of starvation.

 

Frequently asked questions

1. How much will termite treatment cost?

The cost of eradicating termites will vary depending on the size of the property but is generally in the region of RM2.50 per sq ft for soil treatment, and upwards of RM1,200 for termite baiting.

2. How safe is it?

When administered correctly by a professional, termite treatments should be safe. Direct contact with chemicals can cause irritations and complications, so it’s better to discuss with the exterminator regarding products and methods that are safe for the family, including pets.

3. How long does each treatment last?

Soil treatment typically lasts up to five years before the termicide biodegrades. Bait stations last for up to 12 months and should be maintained yearly to remain effective.

The type of termite, degree of infestation, home environment, and accessibility of the targeted area can affect how long each treatment lasts.

 

4. Can I handle an infestation myself?

If you have individual items of furniture with an infestation, try moving it into the sun as drying it out may eliminate the bugs.

Treating your home with chemicals found in hardware stores can be effective for smaller targeted spots like a piece of furniture or a small patch on the wall, but may not work for widespread areas.

If you are thinking of using professional-grade termicide, it is much safer to leave it to the experts.

 

5. Are organic treatments effective?

The chemical compound borax, borate salts and sprays have been proven to kill termites. Borate salts have a low toxicity level and are water-soluble. Sprays are an effective way of treating homes but can only provide a partial protective barrier within a limited area.

Other organic products like orange-oil sprays, although popular, have not been proven effective.

 

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

Kitchen Ain’t Big Enough For You, Homeowner?

If you love cooking, then maybe a spacious kitchen would be very tempting to you. However, the average apartment’s and condo’s kitchen area is only so big. Luckily, there are ways to make kitchen spaces seems larger than they actually are, and affordably too. Here are 5 tips to help you manipulate your kitchen space:

 

1) Contrasting Colours Are A Big “No”

For your kitchen, go with a monochromatic colour scheme or colours that are similar in hue on the colour wheel. Seamless continuity between cabinets, countertops, and drawers creates a feeling of spaciousness and prevents the eyes from seeing too many straight lines, which can make the kitchen appear smaller. It also helps if you use earthy colours instead of bright ones.

 

2) Have A Good Source Of Light

Make it an effort to ensure you have at least one large window that lets plenty of light in. The more windows you have, the better. And while you’re at it, make sure your kitchen windows are made of clear glass so you can look out without feeling enclosed. Avoid tinted or frosted glass.

 

3) Install Glass Doors

Clear glass doors should be used instead of solid doors on your cabinets. This will allow your eyes to go all the way to the back of your storage places, making your kitchen appear larger than it is. Installing more open storage locations, such as shelving, is also a good idea.

 

4) When It Comes To Furnishing, Keep It Simple

Choose colours and designs that are simple and light-weight for cabinets, shelves, countertops, and drawers. Stick to natural textures and avoid complex designs. This also applies to your electrical appliances, so choose ones with simple, uncluttered designs.

 

5) Striped Flooring Works Like Magic

Lines on the floors of your kitchen can make it appear larger, just as horizontal stripes on clothing can make you appear wider.

You are not required to use bright linoleum or tiles. Instead, opt for natural lines in the floors and a pattern of monochrome tiles that draws the eye longitudinally. This deceives the eyes into thinking the place is larger than it is.

 

To read more, please scroll further:

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where meals are cooked and the family can spend time together.

It is therefore important to have a kitchen where you feel comfortable working and cooking. Many Malaysians, however, live in apartments that don’t have much space.

Fortunately, there are simple and affordable ways to make small kitchen spaces seem larger.

 

1. Avoid highly contrasting colours

Choose a monochromatic colour scheme for your kitchen, or colours that are close to each other on the colour wheel. Seamless continuity between your cabinets, countertops and drawers has an expansive effect, and won’t cause the eyes to perceive too many straight lines that make the kitchen look smaller.

It also helps if you stick to earthy colours rather than loud ones.

 

2. Let lots of light in

Make sure you have at least one large window that lets plenty of light in. The more windows you have, the better.

Also ensure your kitchen windows are made of clear glass so you can look out without feeling enclosed. Avoid tinted or frosted glass.

 

3. Use glass doors

Replace solid doors on your cabinets with clear glass. This will allow your eyes to travel all the way to the back of your storage areas, creating the illusion that your kitchen is larger than it actually is.

Also consider installing more open storage areas such as shelves.

 

4. Choose clean, simple furnishings

Whether cabinets, shelves, countertops or drawers, go for colours and designs that are simple and look lightweight. Avoid complicated patterns and stick with natural textures.

This applies to your electrical appliances, too, so choose those that don’t have “busy” designs and are very minimalist.

 

5. Go for striped flooring

Just as horizontal stripes on clothing give the illusion that you are wider, lines on the floors of your kitchen can make it look larger as well.

You don’t have to pick garish linoleum or tiles. Instead, go for the natural lines in floorboards and arrange monochromatic tiles in a pattern that will draw the eyes lengthwise.

This will trick the viewer into believing the space is wider than it actually is.

 

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

Sink Clogged? Here Are 5 Reasons Why.

Ever wondered why your sink gets clogged? It doesn’t necessarily mean that something big got stuck in between the pipes. It may be due to accumulated waste materials that have been collecting there. Here are 5 reasons why your sink gets clogged.

 

1) Clumps of Hair

To most, finding a strand of hair or two may not be the most alarming sign, but if you notice clumps of hair heading towards your drainage hole, make sure to remove them before they go down the drain. Hair clumps can clog the system, causing it to back up.

 

2) Bars of Soap

When bars of soap get wet, they excrete fatty acids react with minerals to form the components used in bar soaps. The filth from the bar frequently falls into your drain, causing it to clog.

 

3) Dust Bunnies & Good Old Dirt

Us Asians usually wash our feet every time we arrive at home, especially before going to bed. But over time, this may actually clog the drain because of all the dirt and dust being accumulated. The large quantities of dust and debris from your soles can build up in your drain if you don’t take notice.

 

4) Coffee too?

If you work at a café, you would know that the management would take effort to wash their sink filters at the end of each busy day to make sure that it doesn’t clog over time. Especially when dealing with lots of ground coffee. Ground coffee, like dirt, can clog your pipes by drying out and clogging the drain. So if you’re a coffee lover who makes his or her own cup of coffee from scratch, before you wash your cup, make sure any coffee residue is properly disposed of.

 

5) Food Scraps

Have you ever wondered how come American households have blades in their sinks that can turn on with a flip of a switch? Well, food waste that falls down the drain might block your pipes, while fibrous items like wheat, noodles, and potatoes can clump or expand when in contact with water. So, the next time you waste your plates, make sure to clean out your plates by throwing all the left overs into a bin separately and use a sinkhole filter if possible.

  

To read more, please scroll further:

When it comes to drains, not all blockages are caused by big items trying to make their way down your pipes. Some are due to accumulations of small, and sometimes unexpected, things.

Get a plunger or a plumber ready – here are five reasons for that clogged drain.

 

1. Hair

Finding a strand or two might not be the biggest red flag, but if you see clumps of hair making their way towards your drainage hole, be sure to collect them before they go down the drain. Clumps of hair can clog up the system and cause it to back up.

 

2. Soap

Yes, soap – specifically the bar variety. The materials used in bar soaps are made up of fatty acids that react with minerals. The scum from the bar often falls and enters your drain, which can cause it to clog.

 

3. Dust and dirt

Some of you might routinely wash your feet upon coming home or before going to bed. Dust and dirt from your soles can accumulate into large deposits in your drain.

 

4. Coffee grounds

Ground coffee, like dirt, can be trouble for your pipes as it can dry up and clog your drain. Make sure you properly discard any coffee residue before washing your cup.

 

5. Food particles

Fibrous ingredients such as flour, noodles and potatoes can clump or expand when in contact with water, while food waste that goes down the sinkhole can clog your pipes. Use a sinkhole filter to trap and discard food particles properly.

 

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

Houses Right Now – To Buy Or Not To Buy?

According to the latest property market report from the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), there was a 21 percent increase in volume and a 32.1 percent increase in value traded in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

“The real estate market is very active, whether it is in the primary or secondary market. Loan disbursements have reached new highs this year. Developers are likewise shifting their focus to digital marketing. During EdgeProp Malaysia’s FB LIVE Webinar Series Episode 2 entitled “Buying a Property – Gila or Not?” conducted on September 28, 2021, Zerin Properties CEO Previndran Singhe stated, “There is abundant liquidity in the market, and it has created a strong demand.”

“We’re seeing a lot of activity for properties over RM1 million on our end. As a result, some of my agents are having their finest year ever in the industry. This could be due to those in the T20 income bracket recalibrating their financial situation, similar to how Covid-19 has caused a seismic upheaval in all three income bracket levels. As a result, a lot of properties in the upper range of the market are changing hands,” said Reapfield Properties CEO Jonathan Lee in the webinar.

Previndran agreed with Lee, saying that high-net-worth individuals are looking for ways to acquire attractive deals or consolidate their holdings.

On the other hand, according to Ishak Ismail, head of the Malaysian Muslim Real Estate Consultants Association (PEHAM), many people are still wary. He noted that because there has been an increase in people selling their homes due to a shift in income levels, this will lead to a more appealing secondary market.

Ishak believes that rent-to-own programmes would be a good place to start, especially for young graduates and those who are priced out of the home market. As houses are frequently used as an investment instrument, Lee and Ishak of Reapfield argue that it is best to allow market forces control property prices.

Ceiling prices for affordable housing will be imposed in the secondary resale market as part of the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP). The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) panellists emphasised the need of education before parting with one’s hard-earned money and committing to a property purchase.

There will be no purchasers if the prices cannot be adjusted. There needs to be some kind of concession, said Lee, who added that with so many options on the market, a price adjustment is required to drive demand.

 

To read more, please scroll further:

Low interest rates, and plenty of incentives, discounts and promotions – these are recipes for a great investment in property. As the economy gradually reopens and recovers, the real estate market is expected to follow suit.

According to the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC)’s latest property market report, for the first half of 2021, there is an increase of 21% in volume and 32.1% in value transacted compared to the same period last year.

“The property market is definitely active – be it in the primary or secondary market. It has been a record year for disbursements of loans. We are also seeing developers pivoting towards digital marketing. There is ample liquidity in the market, and it has created a strong demand,” noted Zerin Properties CEO Previndran Singhe during EdgeProp Malaysia’s FB LIVE Webinar Series Episode 2 entitled ‘“Buying a property – gila or not?” held on Sept 28, 2021.

And things have been looking busy in the upper echelons.

“Our side is seeing a lot of movements for properties priced above RM1 million. Some of my agents are achieving their best year ever in the industry because of this. This could be due to those from the T20 income bracket recalibrating their financial standing as we see Covid-19 causing a seismic shift in all three levels of the income brackets. Thus, a lot of properties are changing hands in the upper range of the market,” Reapfield Properties CEO Jonathan Lee highlighted in the webinar.

Agreeing with Lee, Previndran noted that the high-net-worth individuals are on the lookout for opportunities to secure good deals or consolidate their positions.

On the other hand, Malaysian Muslim Real Estate Consultants Association (PEHAM) president Ishak Ismail observed that many are still in a cautious mode.

“People are adopting a wait-and-see approach over the next few months as the economy gradually reopens,” said Ishak, another panellist in the live session.

Concurring with the fact that there has been an increase in people letting go of their properties due to a shift in income brackets, this will lead to an attractive secondary market, he added.

 

What do people look for before purchasing?

Affordability and location, said Ishak. “Buying a property requires proper planning … to have the income necessary to support the expenses. For instance, government schemes such as rent-to-owns would be a great start, especially for young graduates,” he pointed out, stressing that affordable homes need to be priced within reach of their target market.

Some housing projects, he said, are not sited strategically – and that could have contributed to the overhang situation in the country.

Meanwhile, he voiced his disapproval on setting a ceiling price for affordable properties in the resale market.

As announced by the government on Sept 28, as part of the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP), ceiling prices for affordable housing will be introduced in the secondary market in order to control house prices, especially in the urban areas.

“[The government] has done it with the primary market. Focus should be on supplying affordable homes instead. It is better to let market forces dictate the housing prices as properties are often an investment tool,” Ishak argued.

Echoing similar sentiments, Reapfield’s Lee stressed that the issue of affordability cannot be solved via price controls. “The younger generations, for instance, have been priced out of the market for some time now. Instead, it can be solved with good policies and plans. For example, consider the Housing and Development Board (HDB) public housing scheme in Singapore. It is a great plan. Everybody has a chance to own a home subject to certain conditions. It also does well in the secondary market as well,” noted Lee.

Furthermore, he suggested that developers need to find methods to adjust their pricing or perhaps, take a loss to clear some overhang.

“There will be no buyers if they cannot adjust the prices. Meanwhile, banks are cautious due to the inherent risks. There has to be a form of concession,” said Lee, adding that since there are plenty of options in the market, a price adjustment is necessary to generate demand.

Nevertheless, Zerin Properties’ Previndran noted that some developers have already been providing attractive discounts in a bid to clear their unsold stocks.

On the other hand, as people anticipate changes and disruptions brought on by the pandemic, space utilisation is important to homebuyers. “They are seeking flexible designs to fit their usage,” noted Lee.

“Space utilisation is key. Layouts must be able to cater to those working at home or even, working out at home. People are looking for the flexibility in space. Besides that, care for the elderly is also important. Hence, multigenerational homes come into play,” said Previndran, agreeing with Lee.

“Location is still key as well. With excellent connectivity and ample amenities, it would be a key selling point,” added Previndran.

Ultimately, the three panellists stressed that education is critical before parting with one’s hard-earned cash and committing to a property purchase. In a resounding emphasis, they advised that buyers should seek help from the experts in addition to brushing up on their own knowledge of the property market.

 

MM2H: ‘The sudden change is wrong’

When quizzed on their stance on the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, all the three panellists did not agree with the new policies. “The sudden change is wrong. There should be engagement with the MM2H agents. If at all, the screening process could be made better instead,” said Previndran, suggesting that there should be tax benefits instead to attract investors.

“There are plenty of choices out there [besides Malaysia]. We are not attracting the most foreigners. MM2H has been doing so well since the 1990s. The new policies are drastic and made without clear engagement with the stakeholders,” added Lee.

As for Ishak, he said that we cannot be sending the wrong signal to international communities.

“Do engage with stakeholders. I have heard many responding negatively and are seeking for other places. We are losing out. The country needs stability and investment. I hope the government will reconsider this,” urged Ishak.

 

Source: Edge Prop

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

A Landed Terrace House Or A Trip To Space?

As a kid, you may have stayed out late after dark just to stargaze into the sky. You may have also wondered what it would be like to go into space and explore different planets like an astronaut.  Well, the good news is now you can go into space and you don’t have to be an astronaut to do just that.

Space Perspective, a Florida-based private space firm, is selling the world’s first luxury spaceflight ticket for US$125,000 (RM530,250) per seat, with all 350 seats earmarked for the maiden journey in 2024 already sold out since ticket sales began last month. While all 350 spaceflight seats for 2024 have been sold out, tickets for 2025 are already on sale.

According to EdgeProp.my listings, for the price of one person’s ticket, one may buy a brand new double-storey terraced house in Seksyen 30, Shah Alam, with a land area spanning 20 ft by 65 ft and four bedrooms/four bathrooms.

The journey will take place in a capsule carried by a football stadium-sized space balloon that flies 100,000 feet above sea level, according to Space Perspective. Each capsule will carry up to eight people into the stratosphere for a six-hour journey.

Customers have already purchased entire capsules for group gatherings, and some even wish to hold their weddings there, according to the company. Other clients, meantime, are planning to celebrate a milestone birthday aboard a capsule or to take a corporate function “to new heights.”

Passengers in the capsule will be able to enjoy 360-degree views of the Earth while inside the capsule, which includes a bathroom, bar, and on-board Wi-Fi. How cool is that? 

 

To read more, please scroll further:

FLORIDA (July 21): Florida-based private space company Space Perspective is launching the world’s first luxury spaceflight ticket at US$125,000 (RM530,250) per seat, and all the first 350 seats which are reserved for the maiden flight scheduled in 2024 were sold out since the ticket sales were launched last month.

For the ticket price of one person, one could purchase a brand new double-storey terraced house in Seksyen 30, Shah Alam, with a land area measuring 20 ft by 65 ft and four bedrooms/four bathrooms, according to EdgeProp.my listings.

According to Space Perspective, the spaceflight will be conducted in a capsule carried by a football stadium-sized space balloon that floats 100,000ft above sea level. Each capsule will take up to eight guests into the stratosphere for a trip that will last six hours.

The firm also shared that there are customers who have already bought up entire capsules for group events and some even want to have their weddings there. Meanwhile, other customers plan to celebrate their milestone birthday aboard a capsule or take a corporate event “to new heights”.

While all 350 spaceflight seats in 2024 are sold out, tickets for 2025 are available for bookings now.

In the capsule, passengers will be able to feast their eyes on 360-degree views of Earth while inside the capsule, which comes complete with a bathroom, bar and on-board Wi-Fi.

Space Perspective is a private space company that’s planning for everything from zero-gravity flights on a normal plane to space flights that circle the moon. In June, the company’s test vehicle, Neptune One, was successfully launched from the Space Coast Spaceport, adjacent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

 

Source: Edge Prop

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

Here Are Some Tips If You’re Facing Air-Conditioning Issues, Homeowner.

Leaking air conditioners (AC) are a typical problem in many Malaysian homes, and if left unaddressed, they may become a major pain to deal with in the future. If you don’t service and maintain your AC on a regular basis, the seemingly innocuous number of small droplets streaming from your AC could build into a massive puddle of water one day.

Here are a few more reasons of this vexing but readily remediable household issue:

Because as air conditioner cools the humid air in your room, condensation forms, causing some moisture to accumulate. The moisture collects in the unit and drains out through a short drainage pipe to an exit, which is normally located outside your home. If the drainage system becomes disconnected, clogged, or contaminated, the moisture-turned-water will have nowhere to go but back into your room.

An AC blower unit (the indoor unit) must be installed with a modest backward tilt towards the wall in order to function properly (for wall-mounted units). This ensures that the condensed water flows correctly into the drainage pipe.

The mounting bracket may slip with time, or worse, the item may have moved accidently during a servicing. They’re sometimes not even installed properly to begin with. Every one of these things could cause the condensed moisture in your unit to drip down onto the floor below.

The most prevalent problem for most AC units that are not serviced and maintained on a regular basis is dust buildup and mildew growth. If the air filter and drainage system are not cleaned correctly and frequently, dust and mildew will clog them.

Water from the accumulated moisture will seep out through other regions if this area becomes clogged, typically ending up on the floor or in your bed.

Warm air travels through the AC’s air filter and a sequence of cooled coils during cooling to clean dirty filters and coils. The air flow will be slowed if dust builds up on the filters and cooling coils. Ice can form around the filter or coils as the buildup grows. The ice will melt when the unit is turned off, causing water to trickle from your indoor unit.

It’s critical to ensure that the pipe carrying liquid refrigerant from the outside compressor to the coils is properly insulated. If the pipes aren’t properly sealed, or if there’s a refrigerant leak, a lot of condensation can accumulate on the pipes or AC unit, causing leaking.

As a result, water droplets will stick to the AC unit before eventually dripping down onto the floor. Regular maintenance can help avoid air leaks. AC units are vital in today’s world, therefore having a leaking AC can be extremely inconvenient to your daily schedule, especially if you’re frequently at home due to the epidemic.

 

To read more, please scroll further:

Leaking air conditioners (AC) are a common problem in many Malaysian households and if left unchecked, it can become a real headache to manage down the road.

That seemingly harmless amount of small droplets trickling from your AC might turn into a large puddle of water one day if you don’t service and maintain your AC regularly.

While poor servicing intervals is one of the main causes for this problem, there are a few other factors that lead to leaking ACs.

Here are some of the other causes of this annoying but easily-solved household problem.

Malfunctioning drainage

As the AC cools the humid air in your room, it also causes some moisture to form due to condensation.

The moisture that forms is collected and flows out through a small drainage pipe from the unit to an outlet, which is usually positioned outside your home.

However, if the drainage system gets disconnected, clogged or spoilt, that moisture-turned-water will have nowhere else to go but back into your room.

Tilted AC blower unit

For an AC blower unit (the indoor unit) to function properly, it must be mounted with a slight backward tilt towards the wall (for wall-mounted units). This is to ensure that the condensed water flows properly towards the drainage pipe.

Over time, the mounting bracket may shift or worse still, the unit might have accidentally moved during a service. Sometimes, they’re not even installed well to begin with.

All these may cause the condensed moisture to flow down from your unit and onto the floor below.

 

Dust buildup and mildew growth

This is the most common problem for most AC units that are not serviced and maintained regularly.

The presence of dust and mildew will clog the air filter and drainage system if it is not cleaned properly and frequently.

Clogging in this area will cause water from the condensed moisture to flow out through other areas, often times ending up on the floor or your bed.

 

Dirty filters and coils

During cooling, warm air flows through the AC’s air filter and through a series of cooled coils. However, dust buildup on the filters and cooling coils will slow down the air flow.

As the buildup increases, ice can form around the filter or coils. When the unit is switched off, the ice will melt and cause water to drip from your indoor unit.

 

Air leakage or poor insulation

It is important to make sure the pipe that carries the liquid refrigerant from the outside compressor to the coils is insulated well.

If those pipes are not properly sealed, or you have a refrigerant leak, then a lot of condensation can form on the pipes or AC unit, which then leads to leakage.

As a result, you will see water droplets clinging onto the AC unit, before it eventually drips down onto the floor. This air leakage can be prevented with regular servicing.

In this day and age, AC units are essential, so having a leaking AC can be incredibly disruptive to your daily routine especially during this pandemic when you’re constantly at home.

However, they are also relatively easy to fix, as long as you hire a specialist who can figure out the problem, and do the necessary repairs.

Regular servicing is important to keep your AC unit in good working condition, so you should not put it off for months (or years!).

 

Source: Free Malaysia Today (FMT)

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

Rent Renegotiation: 7 Smart Strategies

Many people are enduring financial troubles as a result of this highly uncertain period, with many losing their jobs, wages, and in some cases, their homes. But, the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a shift in the Malaysian property market, resulting in an increase in housing rental supply. As a result of the excess of vacant properties, tenants’ bargaining leverage has increased slightly.

If you’re considering of renegotiating your rental agreement with your landlord (especially if you’ve been a good tenant! ), here’s  a list of methods to assist you.

 

1) What’s Your Relationship With Your Landlord Like?

Everything we do is based on building relationships. The same is true here. To begin, evaluate your relationship with your landlord. If you already have a solid relationship with him or her, you’ve already won half the battle, and negotiations should be straightforward.

If, on the other hand, you are unable to negotiate a lower rent and must relocate, it is still critical to have an open and honest discussion regarding the lease in advance. This will not only allow you ample time to find new lodgings, but it will also give them time to find new renters (it’s always preferable to depart on good terms).

 

2) Research Similar Properties

Do your study on similar properties (a few times if necessary)! When renegotiating, it’s crucial to be aware of comparable postings. This will not only give you an indication of how much you could save on rent, but it will also establish the tone for the conversation.

Presenting your landlord with concrete rental pricing research allows them to determine and appraise actual rental rates for their property. The discussion is then based on actual facts and statistics rather than rumours.

 

3) Just Be Frank.

Some people find it difficult to have an open and honest conversation, especially when it comes to money. But, especially in hard times like now, it’s crucial to remember that empathy and compassion may go a long way.

Inform your landlord about how the pandemic and lockdown have impacted your financial circumstances. When requesting a lease renegotiation, be specific and know exactly what you want.

Identifying concrete and realistic reasons for the new lease can help your landlord make a more informed decision. Although being aware that they may counter or reject your offer is critical, being straightforward, honest, and reasonable can go a long way.

 

4) Ask &You’ll Be Surprised!

We Malaysians sometimes be a little shy or embarrassed about asking for help since we don’t want to bother others.

However, try not to let your sentiments of embarrassment and assumptions overshadow your financial difficulties at these times.

You may be pleasantly surprised by the landlord’s reaction; after all, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know; and, more significantly, you’ll never obtain what you want!

 

5) Negotiate

Picking up on the preceding keyword, the essential component that will make or kill your renegotiation talks is reasonableness.

Negotiation might take the shape of a monetary settlement or a trade-off. For example, you may negotiate for a cheaper rent by extending your lease by three or more months, or you may make upgrades or repairs to the property.

If your landlord refuses to lower your rent, you could try negotiating concessions such as fee waivers for your parking lot or building amenities. Remember that the goal of any negotiation is to arrive at an optimal and acceptable settlement for both parties.

 

6) Take It In Writing

Getting all requests, responses, and agreements in writing is maybe the most critical component of all.

By keeping a paper trail, they won’t be able to go back on any previous commitments and claim, “I never agreed to that!”

To ensure you have some type of formal verification of all your agreements, contact your landlord by email or even text.

 

7) Getting Your New Lease Done

Make sure all of these agreements are represented in your new Tenancy Agreement once you and your landlord have successfully renegotiated (TA).

It’s critical to document all of the renegotiated terms in a legally enforceable document that protects your position and rights as a tenant while also ensuring that your landlord keeps their part of the bargain.

This takes us to the critical requirement for a TA. There are currently no rules in Malaysia that protect both the tenant and the landlord.

Section 2 (b) of the Contracts Act 1950 (Rev. 1974) and Section 7 (2) of the Specific Relief Act 1950 are the only two statutes that protect you. These acts essentially state that:

Your TA isn’t just a piece of paper; it’s a legally binding contract, and landlords can’t take action against their tenants without a court order. So, as a renter, keep in mind that your TA is everything!

So, if you’ve been skimming through the terms and conditions of your TA before signing it (like you would on a website), you might want to give it a little more thought.

We’ve all known someone who entered into a tenancy based only on trust and a verbal arrangement, only to have things quickly spiral out of control! It’s vital to make sure you’re completely protected while also being the greatest tenant you can be.

 

To read more, please scroll further:

This highly uncertain time has left many people in financial difficulties, with many facing disruption to jobs, incomes and some even their homes.

However, the shift in the Malaysian property market brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in housing rental supply. As a result, an oversupply of vacant homes has somewhat strengthened the bargaining power of tenants. 

If you are thinking about renegotiating your rental agreement with your landlord (especially if you’re a good tenant!), we have listed some useful strategies to help you reassess your rental arrangements. 

 

1. Understanding And Assessing Your Relationship With Your Landlord

Developing relationships is the basis of everything we do. The same applies here. To start, first assess your relationship with the landlord.

If you already have a good relationship with him/her overall, the battle is half won and negotiations should be relatively simple.

On the other hand, if you don’t get the lowered rent you need and have to relocate, it is still important to have an open and honest conversation about the lease in advance.

This will not only give you enough time to sort out new accommodations, but also gives them time to seek out new tenants (it’s always good to leave on civil terms).

 

2. Do Your Market Research

Do your research (a few times, if you have to) on similar properties! Being informed of comparable listings is important when renegotiating.

This will not only give you an idea of how much you might be able to lower your rent by, it also sets the tone for the discussion.

Presenting definite research on rental prices to your landlord allows them to ascertain and appraise realistic rates of their property. The conversation then no longer stems from rumours, but on solid facts and data.

 

3. Be Upfront And Honest 

An open and honest discussion can be hard for some, especially talks on finances. But it’s important to remember that empathy and understanding can go a long way, particularly in trying times such as this.

Reach out and explain to your landlord how the pandemic and lockdown has affected your financial situation. Be clear and know exactly what you want when you ask for a lease renegotiation.

Figuring out concrete and practical reasons of the new lease will give your landlord a clearer picture in making a decision.

Although it is crucial to be aware that they may counter or reject the offer, being upfront, honest and reasonable can go a long way.

 

4. If You Don’t Ask, You’ll Never Know!

As Malaysians, we can get a little malu-malu (shy or embarrassed) about asking for help on the notion that we’re inconveniencing people.

At times like these, however, try not to let your feelings of embarrassment and your assumptions overtake your financial burdens.

You might just be pleasantly surprised by the response from landlord – besides if you don’t ask, you’ll never know; and more importantly, you’ll never get what you’re looking for!

 

5. Negotiate For A Win-Win

Picking up on the previous keyword ‘reasonable’, is the basic factor that would make or break your renegotiation talks.

Negotiation can take the form of monetary compensation, or even a trade-off. For example, asking for a lower rent by offering an additional 3 or more months to your lease, or making improvements/repairs to the property. 

However, if your landlord does not agree on rent reduction, you could even try negotiating for concessions – waiving of fees for your carpark lot or building amenities.

No matter your discussion, remember that the goal of negotiations is to reach an ideal and amicable solution for both sides.

 

6. Everything In Black And White

Perhaps the most important factor of all, is to make sure you get all requests, answers and agreements down in writing.

Creating a paper trail ensures that they can’t backtrack on any prior agreements and say, “I never agreed to that!”

Contact your landlord via email or even text to ensure you have some form of documented verification of all your agreements.

 

7. Finalising Your New Lease

Once you and your landlord have successfully renegotiated, make sure all these agreements are reflected in your new Tenancy Agreement (TA). 

It is crucial to capture all the renegotiated terms in a legally binding document, which not only safeguards your position and rights as a tenant, but also ensures that your landlord upholds their end of their agreement. 

This final point brings us to the crucial need for a TA. Currently, Malaysia does not have any specific laws that protect both the tenant and the landlord.

There are only 2 Acts that protect you – Section 2 (b) of the Contracts Act 1950 (Rev. 1974) and Section 7 (2) of the Specific Relief Act 1950. In essence, these acts stipulate that:

  1. Your TA isn’t merely a formality, but a legitimate binding contract, and…
  2. Landlords are not allowed to take any action against their tenant without a court order. So, remember, as a tenant, your TA is everything!

So if you have been merely glancing over the terms and conditions of your TA before signing it, (like you would on websites) you might want to give it a tad more of your attention and consideration. 

We’ve all known someone who has entered into a tenancy based on trust and a mere verbal agreement, to only see the situation go south, fast! Best to make sure you’re fully protected, while at the same time, being the best tenant you could be. 

 

Source: Property Guru

Kevin Hans Jun Wei Samuel No Comments

Is It Still The Case That Borrowers Are On The Losing End Of Loan Agreements?

Borrowers who do not fully understand the terms and conditions (T&C) mentioned in house loans or financing contracts have been on the losing end for years. Even if they do comprehend them, they are well aware that they lack bargaining power. They must accept those terms or their loan applications will be denied.

The National House Buyers Association (HBA) was pleased when Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) spoke up about their worries over mortgage agreements that are excessively biassed towards banking institutions.

In its 2018 Financial Stability and Payment Systems report, the central bank urged that banking institutions amend these discriminatory terms and conditions and increase clarity by adopting plain language for both new and existing housing loans and financing contracts by the end of 2019.

However, has the order, which was published more than two years ago, made a difference?

 

A Lawyer or the Bank?

Borrowers typically pay the legal fees associated with home loans. Loan lawyers, on the other hand, are compelled to act in the best interests of banks, not borrowers. Borrowers are given little or no time to review the actual loan agreements before signing. They must either accept or reject all of the loans that have been offered to them. Many ordinary housing loans include a slew of clauses that are blatantly unfair to borrowers, which they are not authorised to protest.

Half of the borrowers will simply sign after examining the fundamental data such as loan amounts and interest rates, as directed by the legal professionals, given book-thick documents plus several more subsidiary deeds. The other half may study the lines and try to clarify the numerous unjust and imbalanced terms they find with the lawyers, only to be told that the terms cannot be changed – take it or leave it.

 

Differences In Bargaining Power

In CIMB Bank Bhd v Anthony Lawrence Bourke & anor (2019) 2 CLJ 1, the Federal Court held that banks cannot avoid liability for their mistakes by relying on disclaimer clauses in loan agreements. This was a huge relief for homebuyers.

Clauses that completely limit a customer’s ability to enforce a contract through legal action are unlawful under the Contract Act of 1950.

Contracts including clauses that completely remove liability are “patently unfair” and unjust to bank clients, and thus require the application of public policy considerations as well as judicial intervention.

The case has brought to light the banks’ one-sided bargaining leverage with their clients. The bank’s attempt to hide behind the provisions is unethical. In fact, it is a violation of contract freedom.

Sadly, most homebuyers will lack the financial means to prosecute their lenders. As a result, BNM’s effort to remedy these unjust elements in loan agreements has been widely praised.

 

Changes To Apply Solely To Loans Of Less Than RM500,000?

To address BNM’s concerns, the Association of Banks in Malaysia and the Association of Islamic Banks have announced that they are examining all standardised home loan agreement templates that they have authorised, but that they will be limited to principal amounts of RM500,000 or less.

However, haven’t housing prices risen significantly in the ten years after the pattern was initially implemented?

In this context, HBA requests that all residential housing loans (including serviced apartments, etc.) defined as residential dwellings under the Housing Development Act be covered by the new judgement released by BNM, regardless of loan amounts.

HBA is hoping that BNM would conduct a thorough examination of loan agreements in order to identify any conditions that are imbalanced or unjust to borrowers, and that these elements will be eliminated from “standard” housing loans.

 

A Secret To Apportionment Of Payment To Interest And Principal?

The allocation of monthly instalments toward the settlement of principal and interest is another significant unfairness to borrowers, as it is not specified anywhere in conventional loan agreements or templates.

To give you an example, we had a customer who took up a 20-year mortgage about six years ago. The complainant assumed that after paying his monthly instalments on his loan for five years, the principle amount owed should only be roughly 75% of the original amount.

Unfortunately, as the complainant discovered firsthand, the outstanding principle amount was closer to 83.5 percent. Banks, without a doubt, utilise Excel Mortgage templates universally, but laypeople believe otherwise based on their rudimentary arithmetic calculations.

As a result, there needs to be more clarity in how monthly interest and principal repayments are allocated, and this must be specified in loan agreements. BNM might be able to fix the manner of charging interest.

 

BNM To Balance Things Out

Instead of focusing solely on earnings and establishing balance sheets to appease their shareholders, the HBA urges banks to continue to consider their customers’ hardships and protect their borrowers’ interests.

HBA further urges BNM to continue closely monitoring, supervising, and enforcing Malaysian banks to ensure that they do not exploit their borrowers. Borrowers vs banks is a “David versus Goliath” conflict, and BNM’s early involvement is required to balance the scales in the financial field.

 

To read more, please scroll further:

For too long, loan borrowers have been at the losing end as many do not fully understand the terms and conditions (T&C) stated in housing loans or financing contracts. Even if they do understand them, they know all too well the bargaining power is not in their hands. They have to accept those terms or risk having their loan applications rejected.

Thus, when Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) stepped up and voiced their concerns over mortgage agreements which are disproportionately skewed towards banking institutions, the National House Buyers Association (HBA) welcomed the announcement.

The central bank, in its 2018 Financial Stability and Payment Systems report, demanded banking institutions to revise these unfair T&C and improve clarity through the use of plain language, for both new and existing housing loans and financing contracts, by end 2019.

So, has the directive, issued more than two years ago, improved the situation?

 

Lawyer for the borrower or the bank?

It is a standard practice that borrowers pay for the legal fees of housing loans. Ironically though, loan lawyers are obligated to act in the best interest of banks and not borrowers.

In addition, a barrage of terms that are grossly unfair to borrowers are included in standard housing loans, which they are not allowed to dispute. They must either accept or reject the loans offered in totality.

While borrowers may have time to shop for different banks and compare various letters of offer before deciding, borrowers are given little or no time to vet through the official loan agreements before signing.  This is because after borrowers have accepted the letters of offer, they will be required to go to the loan lawyers’ offices to execute the loan agreements and other security documents.

Given book-thick documents plus multiple other subsidiary deeds, half the borrowers will just sign after merely checking the basic details such as the loan amounts and interest rates, as instructed by the legal officers. The other half may scan the lines and attempt to clarify with the lawyers the many unfair and lopsided terms they find, only to be told that the terms cannot be varied – take it or leave it.

 

Unequal bargaining power

The recent Federal Court ruling in CIMB Bank Bhd v Anthony Lawrence Bourke & anor (2019) 2 CLJ 1 stated that banks cannot escape liability for their mistakes by relying on disclaimer clauses in the loan agreements. This came as a big relief to house buyers.

The Federal Court has held, inter-alia, as follows:

● Clauses which absolutely restrict the rights of customers to enforce a contract via legal proceedings are void pursuant to the Contract Act, 1950.

● Contracts with clauses to absolutely exclude liability are “patently unfair” and unjust to bank customers, and merit the application of principles of public policy as well as interference by the Courts.

The case has spotlighted the one-sided bargaining powers between the banks and their customers. It is unconscionable on the part of the bank to seek refuge behind the clauses. In fact, it is an abuse of the freedom of contract.

Unfortunately, most house buyers will not have the resources to sue their bankers. As such BNM’s attempt to address these unfair clauses in loan agreements was a much lauded move.

 

Changes to apply only to loans of RM500,000 and below?

To address the concerns raised by BNM, HBA notes that the Association of Banks in Malaysia and Association of Islamic Banks have stated they were reviewing all standardised housing loan agreement templates which they had approved, but they would be limited to the principal sum of RM500,000 or less.

However, hasn’t the price of houses increased substantially over the past 10 years since the template was first initiated?

In this regard, HBA calls for all residential housing loans (including serviced apartments, etc, that are classified as residential dwellings under the Housing Development Act), regardless of the loan amounts, to be covered under this new ruling as announced by BNM.

HBA hopes that BNM will take a comprehensive review of the loan agreements to identify all clauses that are lopsided and grossly unfair to borrowers and ensure these clauses are removed from the “standard’ housing loans.

 

Apportionment of payment to interest and principal shrouded in secrecy?

Another grave injustice to borrowers is the allocation of monthly instalments towards the settlement of principal and interest as this is not disclosed anywhere in standard loan agreements or templates.

To illustrate, we had a complainant who took a 20-year housing loan about six years ago. After diligently paying his monthly instalments towards his loan for five years, the complainant assumed the principal amount outstanding should only be about 75% of the original amount.

Unfortunately, as the complainant personally experienced, the principal amount outstanding turned out to be closer to 83.5%. No doubt, the use of Excel Mortgage template is practised universally by banks, but lay people think otherwise with their simple arithmetic calculations.

Hence, there needs to be a greater transparency on how the allocation of monthly repayments for interest and principal is done and this must be disclosed in the loan agreements. Perhaps, BNM can fix the method of charging interest?

 

BNM to balance the scale

HBA calls for banks to continue to take cognisance of their customers’ hardship and protect the interest of their borrowers instead of only focusing on profits and creating balance sheets to appease their shareholders.

HBA also calls on BNM to continue the close monitoring, supervision and policing of banks in Malaysia to ensure they do not take advantage of their borrowers. The battle of borrowers versus banks is a battle of “David versus Goliath”, and the timely intervention of BNM is needed to balance the scales in the banking arena.

 

TIPS FOR BORROWERS

On the sideline, HBA’s recommendations to borrowers are as follows:

● Choose flexi-loans, where you can “re-use” your repayments;

● You are encouraged to “pay more” as and when you have extras (like bonuses), to enable you to shorten the loan tenure;

● From the onset, ask banks to allow you to start paying your monthly instalments rather than just service progressive releases; and

● Avoid “lock-in periods” where banks can impose penalties for early redemptions.

 

Source: Edge Prop