You will find a lot of articles on the internet about what foreigners can and cannot do in terms of buying, selling and renting property in Malaysia. You will also find that most of these articles contradict each other! It can thus be very difficult to find out simple answers. To settle the matter once and for all, we ask AIQ Global, a group that specialises in buying, renovating and selling or renting properties in Malaysia on behalf of foreigners to tell us what foreigners can and cannot do in Malaysia when it comes to property. The information is correct, according to them, as of the 29th of November 2007.
I am not a Malaysian citizen or resident, can I buy property in Malaysia?
Yes, you can buy any type of property in Malaysia, be it condos, bungalows or even land. You can buy both residential and commercial property in your own name, or your company for that matter. Foreigners are subject to the property being over a minimum price threshold, which varies from state to state.
Are there differences in the buying process when a foreign buyer is involved?
Yes, a foreigner must obtain state authority consent before the property can be transferred to him/her. This can take 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the state you are applying in (in Kuala Lumpur it typically takes 1-2 months), so it takes that much longer for a foreigner to buy property compared to a local buyer.
Does the Malaysia My Second Home Program offer any advantages when buying property in Malaysia?
No, it makes no difference to the buying process whether you are on the Malaysia My Second Home Program or not.
Are there differences in the sale process when a foreign seller is involved?
No, there are no differences. The process is the same as when a local buyer is involved.
I do not live in Malaysia, can I sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement in my country of residence or will I have to come to Malaysia to sign?
You can sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement at the Malaysian High Commission in your country of residence and do not therefore need to travel to Malaysia to sign. In certain countries it is not necessary to go to the Malaysian High Commission - instead a notary public can witness the signatures.
I am not a Malaysian citizen or resident, will banks give me financing? Can I open a bank account in Malaysia?
Yes, many Malaysian banks or foreign banks in Malaysia now lend to foreigners. They will typically finance up to 70-80% of the property price, and will sometimes, but very rarely, go as high as 85% if you are a very strong credit, the property value is significant, and you are speaking to the right bank. You will normally have to open a bank account with the bank financing your property purchase.
I do not live in Malaysia, can I rent out my property from abroad?
You can engage estate agents to market the property for rental on your behalf. They will take care of all the viewings. Some agents even offer renovation or maintenance services.
I do not live in Malaysia, how can I find a lawyer in Malaysia?
The Malaysian Bar website (www.malaysianbar.org.my) has a list of all registered lawyers and firms.