Note: This is Notary Circular #A-0930-KL

Dear BIRHC member,

We have received some questions from our other members regarding how to research properties on the Internet. Our resident online expert, Charlie Tan, is here to provide some guidance. :)


Regardless of where you might be looking to buy a property, there are many developments going on in today’s day and age – that’s for sure. Because of this, it would be highly advisable to look around and talk to different people before making your final decision. This will ensure that you get the best options possible in terms of both price and design. In fact, some time ago a Bishan property was sold for close to a cool million – read this news!

Different Options For Property Search

In general, there are a lot of different ways that you can find homes for sale nowadays – Bishan or anywhere else. You can either go the traditional route and look through various brochures as you find them or as they come your way; or you can go online and start your search there. Most people opt to use the Internet, though, because it is simply much easier to do. After that, you can start looking through the different options that you have.

HDB flats

Bishan flats are in high demand these days!

For starters, you can look through different real estate agents and find one who can give you different options to look at and choose from. You need to be very careful when choosing an agent, though, since there are quite a few persuasive yet unreliable agents out there nowadays.

Of course, you can’t exactly blame brokers for being persistent when trying to sell you their listings, though. After all, this is how they make a living. All you have to do is be wary and try to find an agent who isn’t only in it for the money. In other words, try to find an agent who actually cares about your personal needs as a home buyer. You will know you have found such an agent if he helps you find the perfect home that fits your personal needs and requirements overall. A good way to search for property for sale and the corresponding agent is to go online.

So, how can you find an agent like this online, then? Well, there are several ways in which you can go about this. You can ask for referrals from people that you trust only (such as the BIRHC Online Education Committee) or you can simply do an online search yourself. It doesn’t really matter where you want to find a property; there are sure to be agents out there who will be willing to help you out.

Sorting Out Your Real Estate Agent

However, if you opt to do a search on your own, you have to make sure you dig as deep as possible and do some research on each agent’s background and work history before hiring him or her. First of all, make sure that he is a registered agent with the IEA – click here to perform a check.

It would also be vital for you to meet the agent in person in order to find out whether he can actually provide you with the services that you need and expect from him. To do this, make sure you tell him exactly what kind of property you are looking for during your meeting.

Ideally, you should have a list of requirements when it comes to this, including the size, price and location of the property. Remember: you have to find the perfect property as soon as possible, so make sure you don’t waste your time when it comes to this. If you play your cards right, you should be able to find a good property just by doing some research on the World Wide Web.

Here’s some good sites to start you off with:-

Got questions about this circular? Email Charlie at and he’ll get back to you as soon as he could.

Quick note: we are organizing our yearly real estate investment fact finding trip scheduled after Chinese New Year. This year we will be going to Iskandar just right across the causeway. :)

More information about Iskandar here.

If you’re interested in going, the trip costs $1,299. Email our external relations coordinator Joanna Mah ( to book your place.

NOTE: This article by Christopher Chua MPhil (Oxon) is featured in the latest issue of the BIRHC Monitor which should be in your mailbox by the time you’re reading this.


Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases that anybody will make in their lifetime, and renting a house is just as serious a process as buying one. Despite this fact, most people don’t actually take enough time off to search for the best property to buy or rent before doing so. Here are several tips that you should follow when viewing your own property for purchase or rent to ensure that you end up with the best one for you and your family.

The first thing that you need to know about viewing your property is that doing so involves gathering as much information about it as possible. This means that you have to take the process very seriously and follow your head instead of your heart when it comes down to it. Information is indeed power– and I go online whenever I have to learn more about property. I also make sure that I go to specific, NICHE websites and not just general website so that I get specialist information that I need. For example, I am currently doing research on KLCC properties for my real estate clients, and for that, is a good specialist resource on KLCC condos.

Unfortunately, doing so isn’t always easy. A lot of people tend to walk into a house and instantly decide that it is their dream house. Once they make this decision, they fail to look at the problems or faults that the house might have, even if they are already staring them in the face. This is one common mistake a lot of people make, and should be avoided at all costs; as advised by people who know how to manage real estate.

Ideally, you should start looking for information about the property before you even go there to view it. You should find out the property’s council tax band and monthly associated costs before even viewing it, for example.

Phil Spencer from Telegraph UK wrote an informative essay about how to view properties. It tells us to ASK QUESTIONS, not just about the exterior of the house, but its sale history as well. Some important questions you might want to jot down:

  • How long has it been on sale?
  • Have there been offers?
  • If so, have any been withdrawn and why?
  • Has it had a full survey?”

Once you are at the property, though, you should spend some time talking to the property owner or real estate agent and asking as many questions as you need answered about it. If they can’t seem to give you any helpful answers before you view the property, then the least you can do is make sure that you get your answers after viewing it.

As for the viewing itself, make sure that you aren’t rushed during the process. Remember: you will be spending a lot of money on this place, whether you are buying or renting or buying or renting a new home or an old home, so it would be vital for you to find out exactly what you are getting into before making such a big financial commitment.

Some of the most obvious things that you will need to watch out for would include the property’s proximity to local amenities and services, and the property’s parking situation. You should also check out the neighbors and see what they are like, find out whether there are any good links for public transportation nearby and what the local schools’ quality is like compared to other areas nearby.Other things you might want to check out would include whether the property has central heating, where the property faces, and whether the property has a garden or a lawn.

The ultimate secret to viewing your property, though, would be to stay vigilant at all times. Make sure that you find out everything that you need to know and make the most out of your time at the same time. This way, you can be sure that you won’t end up wasting any money in the long run.

For suggestions on future topics and also enquiries on the BIRHC Monitor, please send an email to or call Stephy Phuah at 97480822. Thank you!

Welcoming New Members

May 13, 2013

Things have been going forward as we welcome our newly-appointed BIRHC consultant– Ms. Kate Caufield, a Londoner who resides in Bishan. She mostly deals in real estate buy-and-sell in Tanjong Pagar, Punggol, and Alexandria areas in Singapore. During last week’s meeting, she made quite a rousing speech in encouraging other members to invest on properties in Kuala Lumpur, as condominiums are sprouting around the area from left to right.

It took a lot of convincing before we saw hands raised in acknowledgment. Her presentation won us over. Some noted condominium properties that were mentioned were the Marc Residences, Stonor Park, and Lumina Kiara. Check this KLCC condo out– apparently The Troika is a much sought-after condominium that houses a lot of expatriates and Singaporeans. Exciting times! Beats out the more luxurious Orchard Road condos in Singapore anytime, in particular, One Orchard Road and Wharf Residence.

What we have in store next time: an excerpt of how to manage real estate ((taken from Ms Caufield’s presentation last week), and more property and investment tips on how to invest locally and offshore. Can’t wait to share them with you.

Check back soon for more updates :)

– Willy “Vanilli”

Hello, Willy B. back on track. Quick poll: If you were to buy your very first home tomorrow, what would you get: a relatively older home – something that’s been lived in by maybe three or four generations of the same family, or would you rather get something that’s newly built and be its first occupant?

Both types of homes are quite appealing in their own right. One thing I like about Malaysia’s Johor district– they have old-looking homes that never fail to lose their essence and rustic appeal. That’s tradition and culture, if you ask me.While older homes bring about the charm of nostalgic recollections of ages past, newer homes are more modern in appeal and quite frankly, could last more years before repairs start knocking on the door, the ceiling, the water heaters, etc.

Making the right choice when buying your home means knowing and weighing the odds of getting an older home, versus that of getting a newer home will help you arrive at a decision that will give you your money’s worth. Of course, going online to search for these properties is your best bet– click on my previous article on how to research for properties online.

Older Homes: Pros and Cons

Older homes have that weathered and aged look that seems to make it look cozier than newly built homes (Ed’s Note: Bishan’s homes have this characteristic!). Depending on who sold the house to you, it may come with a good number of antique and classic furniture and fixtures.

These older homes mostly come with old growth trees too, so you might not need to wait a decade or so to get that homey shade you want for your home.

Also, homes from twenty or thirty years ago are built on bigger spaces of land so you may enjoy larger areas for your garden or shed. It’s a huge plus that whatever your home design is, it will stand out among the newer types of houses around you.

However, buying an older home means it will need more frequent maintenance. Also, it may be lacking essential implements like HVAC system, updated and much safer electric wiring and connections, among other things. Floors may have sloped as well and the ceilings and roofs might also need replacements. Many Singaporean properties have this problem!

Newer Homes: Pros and Cons

A new home is always very exciting. They look modern, clean, and brand new. ECH Development, the developers of the very hip Lumina Kiara, has taken these characteristics by heart. You do not have to worry about replacement and repair of essential parts of the house until maybe a few years later. Also, most home developers cover newly built houses with warranty that goes on for a limited amount of time so any untimely repairs will be shouldered by them.

Most new homes too are built into the newer standards of home building, so they are likely to have more standard parts and materials, and are on average, larger in square footage than most old homes. Green homes and buildings are quickly increasing by the numbers, such as the GTower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

However, one drawback to getting a new home is that, budget homes all look alike. You and everyone on the same block as you are likely to be having the same look in the house and maybe differ only in paint. Also, new homes are built on smaller acreage of ground so you can practically peek into your neighbor’s kitchen while you’re cooking in your own.

The deciding factor in whether to buy a newer or older home rests mostly on your willingness to accept its drawbacks. So, would you go for the grand old house or choose to get the modern living in a brand new house?

Either way, I’m keen on buying a house(whether grand old or modern new– or maybe both? Ha.) in Ipoh– this article by another expat Kathleen Peddicord tickled my curiosity. Til next time, folks.


Some Quick Updates

April 6, 2013

Good news, readers!

The Bishan Intercity Real Estate has been receiving a lot of queries about the best property finds on the Kuala Lumpur district. Our recent article about the best locations to find property in KL has received a lot of responses and interest, and it’s always good to know that our readers are appreciating BIRHC’s effort in finding the best property for you, anywhere around the world!

We’ve checked out this place called the Dua Residency KLCC in the heart of the upscale KLCC district, and we’ve never been this impressed. The entire KLCC district is a haven for property hunters and investors, and the Dua Residency is just the best choice that you’ll make so far. Otherwise, Citrine in the Iskandar region by Sunway Properties also tickles my fancy.

If you are living in Kuala Lumpur and hunting for the best property to invest on, do check out our reviews about what’s in and hot in the KLCC district. Check our blog out regularly for more updates– we promise to keep in touch with you soon!

- Willy

Managing Real Estate

April 1, 2013

Hi, readers! A lot had happened to me recently in Kuala Lumpur, as I’ve worked round-the-clock in trying to learn as much as I can about real estate and property management. I’ve read a lot of reviews of Malaysia property (through this site called the Property Reviews Database – highly recommended!) and have been to a lot of seminars and workshops because learning how to manage real estate and its ins and outs can be tricky. I figured I needed all the help I can get.

Make it yours.

Make it yours.

Now that I’m back to writing, it’s probably the best time to share with you some of the things that I’ve learned so far. Learning the basics is always important if you want to succeed, and if you want to reach success in the field of real estate and property management, remember—it’s the small steps that count. :)

A Primer on Real Estate Management

In a nutshell, real estate management deals with the controlling, supervision, and handling of real estate or immovable proprietary.  If you want to purchase real estate, it’s necessary to put in an initial amount of investment. It is important to know that each piece of land or property has its own characteristics, and the amount and type of investment differs depending on the conditions and value of the property and land.

The Emergence of Real Estate Management

Through the years, more and more people are beginning to learn the benefits of dealing in real estate and property. Not only will one reap in all the financial benefits of buying and selling property—since real estate deals with communicating with a lot of people, being able to master it would also make you a people-person, as well as a great communicator and leader.

Many services and fields have sprung out because of real estate management in Singapore. The emergence of the industry paved way for a lot of careers—brokers, appraisers, estimators, developers, and relocators—all of which have become sought-after jobs among today.

The Common Process of Real Estate Management

Real estate management mainly comprises of appraisals, brokerage, development, and relocation. These four fields are the key elements in reaching realistic goals. These are as follows:

  • Appraisal. The process of appraisals starts begins with an appraiser estimating the value of a property. This field is essential because these values should both be realistic, and will yield profits for the parties concerned.
  • Brokerage. Brokers are your go-to-guys if you want to sell property. They are also the right persons to see if you want to buy property. In short, brokers help find sellers their buyers, as well as to assist both parties in making sure that transactions are done seamlessly.
  •  Development. Development involves the developing of acquired land in an effort to make it more profitable and worthy of an investment.
  • Relocation. Being able to broaden investments to a global scale has been one of the primary goals of real estate management. Relocation deals with moving the business or its workforce to different countries in order to achieve international success.

Learning the ropes of real estate management is sure to bring in a lot of rewards and success, and it’s never too late to start. Do check my blog out regularly (Ed: URL coming soon) for more tips and tricks about everything real estate!

Hello, Willy here.

A quick update on the working trip that we made to Kuala Lumpur on February 12-15th as part of our program to investigate more into Malaysia real estate industry. As you might already be aware, we have been getting interested queries from members of the BIRHC who wanted to know more about the state of the property vertical in Malaysia. So we went on a short tour to Malaysia and managed to link up with a couple of real estate brokers in Malaysia. We are also planning to have a joint seminar soon with one of the bigger property agencies here in Kuala Lumpur – watch this space for that.

Here’s a summary of what we found out regarding properties in some areas in Malaysia -

  • Bangsar – somewhat aged, and still considered to be prestigious as far as real estate investments are concerned. Telawi area is hot!
  • Bukit Tunku - also known as the “Beverly Hills of Malaysia”, there are some haunted houses which might just make good property investments. My personal favorite; I am planning to buy a bungalow lot here soon.
  • Mont Kiara – luxury condominiums and an expatriate heaven. Very clean, but given the proliferation of property development in this area it’s getting congested pretty quickly.
  • Taman OUG – I am bullish about properties here because it’s fairly close to the city center, and it has got good local hawker food – just like Bishan! :)

Meanwhile, a good resource for researching Malaysia properties is the Internet. We have a short guide on how to research properties online (click here), and if you’re interested, come to our BIRHC Library to borrow a copy of the guide if you want a hard copy. Also, sites like ( and (especially the blog site) are good resources for real estate research and investments in Malaysia.

If you need a copy of the report when it is ready (possibly around November this year the earliest), then email me ( and I will put you on the waiting list. Remember that only paid members of will get a hard copy, so if you’re still a free member then upgrade today!

Willy Buckley