The True Cost of Owning Property in Malaysia

Published May 5, 2024

Updated May 5, 2024

~7 mins read

Owning a home is probably a dream that many of us have. Heck, I even had my story briefly describing this topic - how the dream of my mother (to own a home) had driven me to buy our very first property for our family's stay even if financially it doesn't make sense for me, numbers wise.

These are probably some of the things that your property agent will never tell you. Otherwise, how would they close the deal with you!? Hence, most of the time all you hear from them is: "Eh, you qualify for mortgage loan, and it's ONLY RM xxxx per month so won't be too much of a burden to you!"

In all fairness, I have nothing against all the property agents out there, as not all apples are bad! Most importantly as with all things with life, educating yourself helps you to identify good from bad.

What Property Costs? Just a Monthly Mortgage right? No?

Let's first understand some of the costs associated with owning a property. If you're planning to get your first property, or don't have any idea how mortgage works, check out my previous article about Malaysian's Guide to Mortgage / Home Loan as I won't be talking about how mortgage works in today's article.

As naive as it may be, many of us only considers the Monthly Mortgage/Loan that we'll have to serve, but often neglect all other costs that comes as part of the Property Ownership Baggage. Yes, I'm gullible as well as I never had considered any other aspects than the monthly amount that I need to pay to my bank.

Here's a quick list of costs that you may incur when you own a property, in no particular order:

  • Purchasing Related Legal Fees/Stamp Duty
  • Mortgage Principal & Interests
  • Title Transfer Fees
  • Renovation Fees, Furniture & Appliances
  • Maintenance Fee & Sinking Fund
  • Servicing, Repair & Maintenances
  • Taxes
  • Insurances

These unfortunately were often neglected and some unfortunate buyers will end up running into cashflow issues, forcing them to sell their beloved property and recoup as much as possible, hoping also to make some small profits along the way.

But can they recoup their losses, let alone make small profits? I've made a handy calculator for those of you who enjoy calculating everything here so do check it out, it's free: My Property Breakeven Calculator

What with all these random costs!?!!?

Well, let's first take a step back taking myself as an example. When I first started renting places for my own during my early working years (to shave off time required due to the travelling distance to KL), I'll head to any property/room listing website such as iProperty, iBilik, etc.

From there, I'll look only for two things: (1) Monthly Rental Fees, and (2) Utilities Included or Excluded

Quite frankly, that is all that matters for property renters, as all other costs are supposed to be taken care of by the property owner hence I didn't bother that much. Fast forwarding to a few years later and applying the same concepts, it is no surprise that many of us (myself included) neglected the other cost, as all we thought about were the Monthly Rental Fees = Monthly Mortgage Fees.

As a property owner, you are responsible for any costs pegged to your property ownership and today, I'll go through them briefly to give you an overall idea.

There are a few potential costs that you will incur the moment you accept a deal to purchase a property. Depending on the price of your property, you'll need to park aside approximately: 2 - 3% of property value for these.

I won't go into too much detail here, as the value fluctuates depending on your property value and may change from year to year (due to reliefs etc.), but generally, they're made up by:-

  • Sales & Purchase Agreement (SnP) Legal Fees & Stamp Duty Fees
  • Loan Agreement Legal Fees & Stamp Duty Fees

If you're buying new properties, some developer will offer to waive it for you if you use one of their panel banks and also their lawyer in drafting up of SnP & Loan Agreement for you. I didn't have to pay for mine when I bought my first property back then.

Monthly Mortgage Principal & Interest Fees

Well, I don't think I need to further explain this. Basically, this will be the amount you owe the bank every month, and I'm sure all of us are well aware of this number before signing our names on the dot. But if you're interested, read more here: Malaysian's Guide to Mortgage / Home Loan

Most of us would require a mortgage loan of some sort when purchasing our property unless you are already multi-billionaire, which in that case you probably don't need to worry about these little costs anyway.

Title Transfer Fees

You'll need to park aside approximately: 2 - 3% of property value for these, depending on the value of your property.

Typically, for new properties, this usually will be a separate process that will be triggered AFTER the completion of construction where parcels/lots were sub-divided from the developer's land to individual ownerships. But if you're buying a sub-sale property, chances are, you'll already have to pay for this upfront so to transfer the "title" (a.k.a. ownership in a piece of paper) from the seller to the buyer.

These are also commonly known as Memorandum of Transfer / Perfection of Charge / Deed of Assignment. Basically, they're crucial to ensure that titles are officially transferred to you / your bank's name.

Personally, I've seen some of my neighbours getting caught by this in surprise as they were not expecting this bill to come, and have already spent their fortunes on renovation, leaving them no choice but to "delay" the title transfer process which itself is a huge risk since they legally don't "own" the title yet and if developer goes poof, they're subscepting themselves for a lengthy claims process.

Renovation Fees, Furniture & Appliances

Well, it's hard to estimate the amount here as it's vastly different for new unit vs. old unit, condo vs. landed, but give or take between RM10K all the way up to RM200K depending on what you are planning to do.

I can only say that this category is probably one of the easiest underestimated fees for first-time property owners - personally, I budgeted approximately RM50K for my furnishing / minor renovation on my new condo - nothing fancy, just the basic stuff - some custom cabinets and furniture/appliances. I ended up spending double the amount. Many people/friends that I know had the same issue where they spent easily 1.5x to 3x the initial estimated amount.

Another factor to consider especially for sub-sale units is the repair fees, as secondary market units may not always be in perfect condition and chances are, you'll have to fork out some money to make new the property.

Maintenance Fee & Sinking Fund

For strata properties such as high-rise condominiums/apartments or certain landed houses within a gated residential community, you'll be required to pay a monthly amount to the Building/Facility Management to upkeep the shared community space (i.e. swimming pool, badminton courts, multi-purpose hall).

Based on the size of your house, the amount that you need to pay may differ but the typical amount would be approx. RM0.25 to RM0.50 per square foot so for condos of 1000 sqft you'll need to pay RM250 - RM500 per month.

Servicing, Repair & Maintenances

As you start staying in your property, you'll eventually lose the privilege of "calling your landlord when something breaks" but instead, you'll need to start taking charges of engaging contractors / service providers directly yourself to have the stuff fixed.

Granted, even when renting places, the property owner may at times delegate the responsibility to you and get your help to manage it, with fees being absorbed by them. And all these small little servicing, repair or maintenance fees will add up over time so make sure to factor them in your household budget.

As for the amount, it'll be hard to estimate as it depends on the stuff in your house so generally it'll come with experience. In my case, I just budget approximately RM250-RM400 per month as a form of sinking fund and kept it aside for all kinds of unexpected repair needs at home.


Last but not least, something that will never leave us even after our death: Taxes.

As a property owner, you'll be liable for all these random taxes - Cukai Tanah (Quit Rent) for the land titles, Cukai Petak (Parcel Tax) for strata titles, and Cukai Taksiran/Pintu (Assessment Rates). Amount may differ from one property to another so it'll be difficult to put estimates here. You'll know when you receive the e-bills every year.

Also, should you choose to sell off your property early, you may also be subjected to the Real Property Gains Tax (RGPT) so make sure to check those out!


Last but not least, you'll need insurance whether it is meant to secure your outstanding Mortgage Loan balances through MRTA/MLTA/Life Insurance, Fire Insurance for your Building, or Home Contents Insurance to protect your valued goods. The amount will differ depending on the policy that you sign up for.


I hope that this helps first-time owners to have better clarity to know about the upcoming commitments that they will need to bear, shall they choose to own their first property. Unfortunately, many of us have to learn these the hard way when we receive the bill and are shocked.

Only when you have better clarity on what's to come, you can better plan your household budget against these upcoming home-related expenditures to keep it well under 50% of your net income so that you have enough breathing space for yourself and your future.

As always, thanks for reading and I will see you again in my next post! If you haven't already, be sure to follow me on my Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for the latest updates!


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Feel free to comment your thoughts!x