Monday, April 23, 2007

The Most Important Thing when considering where to live in Malaysia

As you arrive in a new country like Malaysia, you have many questions in your mind. Not just questions, but many things to attend to. Firstly, you will consider where you should live. You probably contacted severa real estate agents already, who can help you narrow down the search -- with considerations like accessibility to your work, environment & surroundings, and others.

Of course, price is also a factor (especially if your company will not cover for your rental expense). My only tip, before jumping into any "good deal", is to consider SAFETY.

The place may be ideal. It looks good. Price is right. You're near MRT / taxi / bus stand, or maybe near a grocery / mall. But the most important thing to ask : HOW SAFE IS IT at that area?

Don't just ask the agent -- he / she will always try to close the deal, so most likely he/she will say it's quite safe. Maybe you should do your own digging -- ask neighbors, friends, and locals.

For the newcomers, maybe consider a gated community (for a semi-detached / bungalow) or possible a condo. Security is important. You need to look at the quality of security guards in your "future" home. Sometimes, these agency hire people who don't even speak English. How can they serve you / help you if they don't even understand BASIC ENGLISH???

In the months that I have lived here, I have heard of many stories of robberies happening in homes. And these are not "news" stories. These are stories from people around ... meaning almost first-hand information. What prompted me to write this now is because I heard of another robbery-at-home story.

It seems home burglary is quite common around here. And mind you, they do not attack homes that are "empty" (meaning owner is travelling / out of country). They attack even when you are at home sleeping. One story I heard is a couple of guys came into the bungalow house and tied up all the French people (husband, wife, kids and maid). Another story they stole a few items while the owner is asleep.

One of the Filipina maids shared a theory -- a lot of the theft are done by Indonesians/Pakistanis ... and a few cases trailed that they had "an insider" (meaning if you hire a Indonesian maid, she is part of the plot). Indonesian maids are far cheaper than hiring Filipino maids. So please beware when choosing your live-in domestic helper.

Maybe for single or small families, it is best to live in a condo or low rise community. At least you have "safety in numbers". But it is still not a 100% assurance.

So again, when choosing your home here in Malaysia, go beyond the price, size and accessibility. Make sure you give some time to consider the safety factor.
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