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Selling Your House? Here's the Process & How Long It'll Take

Updated 24 Jul 2020 – By Contributor - iProperty

The prospect of selling your home can be daunting, especially amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The decisions you make along the way could save you – or cost you a few thousand Ringgit. 

In this article, we will detail everything you need to do towards securing a buyer and what’s the rough time frame for each step. You will have to get involved with several parties before you are ready to sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) and officially transfer the property to its next owner. This may take up to 6 months or more. Hence, if you are looking to put your house up on the market sometime this year, you should start preparing now.

The recent Real Property Gains (RPGT) exemption announcement provides a huge incentive for property sellers. In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin introduced several measures to help boost the property market. Property sellers will be exempted from paying the 5% or higher RPGT for the disposal of properties from 1 June 2020 and 31 December 2021. However, this exemption is limited to Malaysian citizens and for the disposal of three units of residential homes per individual.

Let us begin!

1. Clear all your outstanding payments

To make your house available for the next owner, you must clear all outstanding payments which are tied up with the house. Not sure what’s left? Follow the checklist below:
  • Quit Rent

Quit rent or parcel rent for strata buildings is a land tax that all property owners must pay to the Malaysian Government annually via the respective state’s Land Office or Pejabat Tanah Dan Galian (PTG).
  • Assessment tax

This tax is paid to the local council based on the rental value of your property. The tax is calculated at 4% of your property’s rental value and takes other factors into account such as the location and type of property.
  • Maintenance fees

If you own an apartment or condominium unit, then you have to settle all outstanding maintenance fees which are paid to the Management Committee for the maintenance and repairs of common facilities in your strata building.
  • Rental income tax

Though this is not a direct property tax, you are required to pay tax on your rental income while filing your income tax. The amount of tax differs according to your status in Malaysia.
- Malaysian citizens and permanent residents are liable to pay around 0%-28% tax on rental income
- Foreigners and non-permanent residents are obligated to pay a flat rate of 28% on their rental income

Average time: The time needed to clear all these payments and compile the receipts depends on how regularly you attend to your payment obligations. If you’re fairly on schedule, this phase can be completed in a day.


2. Get a valuer to assess your property value

The list price or sales price of your property depends on your property’s worth. This step is only valid if your house is a sub-sale property. Therefore, if you are selling a newly launched property, you can skip this step.

Although there are a few ways to assess your property value – like checking with local real estate agents, asking a banker or browsing online property platforms – the best way is to appoint a professional valuer. A valuer will be able to help you determine the right selling price by assessing market data, property type, price of similar properties in the surrounding area, and other valuable market factors.

Be sure to hire a valuer from an authorised firm, or valuation experts who are representatives of a bank. We recommend confirming that the valuer or valuation company is registered with the  Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA) before proceeding. Then, you can move to secure an appointment with your valuer of choice and set a time for them to visit your property for valuation. The valuer will then assess your unit and produce a report with an estimated value of your property.

Average time: The whole process may take around 1 week to complete.


3. Set your property’s sales price

The valuer determines your property value based on data and their assessment. However, this should not be your only indicator for setting the final selling price. Residential properties that are attractively priced relative to their market value, will attract buyers even if they are not located in a hotspot location or boast a new and glossy facade.

Pricing your home largely depends on your personal goals as a seller – are you in need of cash and is looking for a quick sale or do you have the holding power to wait for the right buyer who is willing to pay your desired asking price? Once you have decided on this, there are several things that you should find out:
  • What is the current buying sentiment in your area?

Study recent property transactions for the similar property type and build-up size in your neighbourhood – you can use for this. The online platform provides accurate and up-to-date pricing information on transacted properties in Malaysia, sourced from the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH).
  • How competitive is your property?

Browse property portals like to find the highest and lowest sales price of your competitors in the local market, to set a competitive price for your buyer. Considering that it’s currently a buyer’s market, your asking price must reflect the property’s market value and preferably, be lower than your competitor’s. Keep in mind that you have to factor in a negotiation margin on your property’s selling price. Buyers will usually try to negotiate a discount, hence it is advisable to add 5-10% more to the figure you are prepared to accept.

Average time: This ultimately depends on how long you take to conduct your research and due diligence. You should be able to complete your assessment within a week.


4. Decide on your target buyers to help you sell faster

Once you know your property’s worth, you can focus on the type of buyers who are looking for properties like yours. This will increase your chances of having a profitable and fuss-free sale. Based on your property’s characteristics, build a rough persona of your target buyer, their income level, current living circumstance, and household size. Other questions to ask include:
  • Will you prefer a cash buyer?
  • Are you open to selling your property to foreigners?
  • Do you want to focus on first-time homebuyers? (as they could secure a higher margin of financing from banks)
Having a buyer demographic on hand will help you to entice buyers and adopt strategies to secure a sale – for instance, if you are keen on first-time homebuyers, you can offer to sweeten the deal by throwing in complementary fixtures and fittings such as a refrigerator or a kitchen hob.

Average time: This can be sorted out within a day.


5. Get some home improvements done to increase the value of your property

First impressions are everything when you are presenting your house to a potential buyer. Your house must look presentable before you put it up for sale in the local market, but it is also wise to take a few extra steps to further boost your home’s appeal.

Some of the things that you could do besides basic repairs include:
  • A fresh paint job
  • Refacing your kitchen cabinets and surfaces if they are outdated (the kitchen is the heart of the home after all!)
  • Redo the lighting in each room – setting the right mood and ambiance is more important than you think.
  • Declutter your home but don’t overdo it to the point where it is no longer homey.
  • Tidy up the garden and clean the patio and gutters thoroughly.

Average time: Depending on the amount of work you put into the works, it may take about 1-3 months to create a beautiful first impression.

P.S. If you're looking to buy a house to take advantage of the HOC 2020 Campaign, check out Loanstreet's home loan eligibility report to determine whether you can get your finances approved.

This article was repurposed from "How long does it take to sell a house in Malaysia?", first published on
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