My Property Deals by Scott Seow

My Property Deals

12 Important Cost to Know Before You Buy Property In Malaysia

12 important fees or costs that you should be aware before purchasing property in Malaysia. (legal fees, stamp duty, agent fees & etc)

I’ve prepared videos, infographic post for you just in case you have your preference.

This article is for you if you have the following questions in mind:

Cost to be aware when buying a house or property in Malaysia


How much do property cost in Malaysia

Quick answer:

If you want a straightforward answer, when you purchaser a property in Malaysia with bank loan financing, you’ll have to standby a 15% to 18% cash that covers down payment, legal fees, stamp duty & etc.

If you’re purchasing with cash, you will have to standby a 5% to 8% fees that cover legal fees, stamp duty & others excluding down payment.

I’ve shown the difference between new project & subsale/ resale we call it, so now the next step that will help you to decide if you should purchase new project or resale is the total fees & stamp duty involved. You can click here for the video / post for “Difference between new project & resale property”

Buying a property in Malaysia involve various cost not just limited to 10% down payment, legal fees, stamp duty and etc. In fact, there’s some other “fees” or costs you have to take note before you commit to any purchase. 

If you’re foreigner you have to refer each States for different state levy and state consent. In penang you standby a 3% state levy and around RM 20,000 should be safe enough

What Is A Sale and Purchase Agreement?

A Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA or S&P) is a legally binding agreement between a seller and a buyer that outline the details of the transaction such as terms and conditions, price of the property, and all the important details.

That’s it for the SPA explanation, I could give you tonnes of “technical” terms to confuse you or to “WOW” you but no that is not my intention. I try to get everything short and clear cut here in the article because we’re talking about the costs or fees that involve in a property transaction. Of course in the upcoming update / foreseeable future I will do a post or video regarding a whole SPA.

1. Down payment

Out of the 15% to 18%, the 10% shall be applied upon Down Payment. For resale property, very high chances you have to get ready 10% down payment, for new project most of the project will have the so called “rebate, discount” therefore you will get a very low or 0 down payment to own the property. As far as I know only in Malaysia which has the “discount, rebate” in the journey of buying property.


2. Legal fees for Sales & purchase agreement (SPA or S&P)

legal fees for sales & purchase agreement

Here, I will list down the calculation / formula for calculating the fees and the legal fees for preparation of the Sale and Purchase Agreement are calculated as a percentage of the purchase price and calculated by tier

Legal fees for SPA 

  • For the first RM500,000; 1% (subject to a minimum of RM500)
  • For the subsequent RM500,000; 0.8%
  • For the subsequent RM2,000,000; 0.7%
  • For the subsequent RM2,000,000; 0.6%
  • For the subsequent RM2,500,000; 0.5%

Where the consideration or adjudicated value is in excess of RM 7.5m, it is negotiable on the excess (but shall not exceed 0.4% of such excess)

3. Legal fees for Loan agreement

the calculation / fees are similar as the legal fees for SPA and of course you can ignore this if you’re buying property in cash.

4 and 5. Memorandum of Transfer (MOT) & Loan Stamp duty

stamp duty for MOT & Loan

Stamp duty is the tax that you must pay to government during the sale or transfer of the property – as specified under the First Schedule of Stamp Duty Act 1949. The sale or transfer of properties in Malaysia which are chargeable with stamp duty must be stamped within 30 days from the date of the execution (property transaction). For an MOT to be valid, the document must be stamped and adjudicated at the Inland Revenue Board and stamp duty paid accordingly. This stamp duty will usually be paid by a law firm appointed by the purchaser.

And the Stamp Duty on MOT calculation shall be based on:

  • First RM100,000: 1%
  • RM101,000 – RM500,000: 2%
  • RM500,001 – RM1 million: 3%
  • Balance above RM1 million: 4%

In the Budget 2023, government announced that it first-house buyers who purchase residential properties worth between RM500,001 to RM 1 million will enjoy a 75% stamp duty exemption up to 31 December 2023. 

Stamp duty exemption:

(not important for you if you’re purchasing a property)

To receive this exemption, the following criteria must be met:

This exemption will be for SPA that is completed between 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025.

It is only applicable to residential properties, excluding SOHO/SOFO/SOVO types, as well as serviced residences built for commercial use.

First-time homebuyers must be Malaysian citizens. The buyer must not already own a residential property; if he/she has inherited a property or was given one (no matter if it’s an individual or joint ownership), then he/she is no longer eligible.

The exemption is given at 2 stages of transfer, i.e. from the property developer to a qualifying financial institution/bank, and from the bank to the Malaysian citizen.

2) Stamp duty exemption for property transfer between family members
For the transfer of property by way of love and affection between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren – Stamp duty on the instruments of transfer of property will be fully exempted, limited to the first RM1 million of the property’s value.

The remaining balance of the property’s value is subject to the existing stamp duty tier and a 50% remission is provided on the stamp duty imposed. This exemption applies for instruments of transfers executed from 1 April 2023 and is only applicable for Malaysian citizens.

3) Stamp duty exemption on abandoned housing projects
A stamp duty exemption also applies to instruments executed by a rescuing contractor or property developer on or after 1 January 2013 but not later than 31 December 2025. This is described as a contractor or a developer who is appointed or approved by the Minister of Housing and Local Government to carry on rehabilitation works for an abandoned project.

The instruments are loan agreements approved by the approved financier and instruments of transfer for the purpose of transferring a revived residential property in relation to the abandoned project.

Other than that, Stamp duty on SPA is only RM 10 per copy.

6. agent fees

Legally and ethically speaking, in Malaysia, the agent fees are from 1% to 3% maximum fees can be imposed by the agent upon the purchaser. However, there’s could be some under-table or special circumstances where the fees might be higher than 3% but don’t worry this doesn’t happen very often.

Most of you will ask, I thought the landlord should pay? Well, there’s a lots of circumstances where I can’t finish them all here. However, I shall provide 2 reasons why buyers might have to pay agent fees.

  1. The owner is not paying the agent. Yeah, you hear me right, some owners really don’t pay commission, and some cases especially those sell below market value and you want cheap things, so? Reasonably you have to pay. You want below market value deal but don’t want to pay? The agent also has the choice/ decision not to proceed the deal.
  2. Local practice. Most of the agents in Penang, Johor (if not mistaken) & another States which I really forgot, the agent does collect commission from both the landlord & purchaser. You can choose to proceed or not, entirely up to you.

7. property valuation fees

  • For first RM100,000.00 =0.25%
  • Next residue up to RM2 million = 0.2%
  • Next residue up to RM7 million = 0.167%
  • Next residue up to RM15 million = 0.125%
  • Next residue up to RM50 million = 0.10%

Factors which determine your property valuation

What?! What is property valuation fees? Never heard before right? It’s ok, I’m here to share. The property valuation fees do not apply to you if you’re purchasing property by cash; apply to you if you’re purchasing by loan. 

Also, property valuation fees only apply upon completed property/ resale property this is because when the property is already completed, banks will have to send their panel valuer to visit the property, provide their opinion on the market value of the property. This will enable another protection layer for the banks as well because the banks do not rely solely on the property agents or purchaser on the property price or loan amount to be applied. Therefore, the financing will have to depend on the market value.

(FROM OTHER WEBSITE/ ARTICLES, NOT SO IMPORTANT FOR YOU, YOU CAN CHOOSE TO SKIP IT) Understanding the factors which make a property more (or less) valuable will help to assist purchasing/investment decisions. Usually, a residential property’s valuation is impacted by the following:


The value of a property for sure will be higher if it is generally higher the nearer to certain amenities like city centre.  On the other hand, if the property is located at undesirable location or features such as a cemetery, power stations or a waste disposal area – that could bring down the property’s value or you will have difficulty getting a good bank valuation.

Accessibility and amenities

The value of a property is generally increasing if it is near major highways, public transit such as the MRT and LRT, and conveniences such as clinics and private hospitals, educational institutions, banks and shopping malls, as well as international or private schools.

Maintenance and renovations

Valuers also take into account maintenance and renovation works done which enhance the livability and aesthetic value of the property. Therefore, good maintenance also provide the property a good bank value.

Quality of construction

A building that is made of high-quality materials or technology can still fetch a premium price due to the quality of the building materials, workmanship and structural design like green building.

example of calculation

Let’s have a quick example of purchasing a property price at RM1,000,000

1. Down payment

Down payment shall be 10% of your purchase price which is 10% x RM1,000,000 = RM100,000

2.Legal fees for SPA 

(scroll up for the formula/ guideline) 

the price is RM1,000,000 so there’s 2 tiers.

1st RM500,000 @ 1 % = RM 5,000

subsequent RM500,000 (which total up = RM1,000,000 already) @ 0.8% = RM4,000

Total legal fees for SPA = RM5,000 + RM4,000 = RM9,000, don’t forget we still have SST 6% RM 540 so total legal fees for SPA is RM 9,540

3. Legal fees for loan agreement

(scroll up for the formula as well)

Assume we’re applying bank loan at 90% margin so the loan amount shall be RM900,000.

So we are having 2 tiers as well, 1st RM500,000 and subsequent RM400,000.

1st RM500,000 @ 1% = RM5,000

subsequent RM400,000 @ 0.8% = RM3,200

Total will bee RM8,200 + 6% SST RM492 = RM8,692

4. Stamp Duty on MOT(based on SPA price or market value, whichever is higher)

(scroll up for formula)(here in this case we will have 3 tiers: RM100,000 , RM400,000 , RM500,000 which total up is RM1 million)

1st RM100,000 @ 1% = RM1,000
next RM400,000 @ 2% = RM8,000
next RM500,000 @ 3% = RM15,000

Total MOT stamp duty = RM24,000

5. Stamp Duty on Loan

(currently in year 2023 remained at flat rate of 0.5% of your LOAN Amount)

Loan amount RM900,000 x 0.5% = RM4,500

6. Agent Fees

(say 1%) 1% of RM1,000,000 = RM 10,000

7. Property Valuation Fees

(scroll up for formula) (here we have 2 tiers to be applied too. RM 100,000 and balance RM900,000)

1st RM100,000 @ 0.25% = RM250
next RM900,000 @ 0.2% = RM1,800

Total valuation fees RM 2,050

You total up the 7 fees I’ve listed above shall be RM158,782 which makes it about 15% of RM1,000,000 which is 15% of purchase price already and excluding the item number 8 to 12 below. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that if you’re purchasing completed property especially resale property, in general circumstances, you will have to get ready for a 15% to 18% cash of your property purchase price.

8. Mortgage insurance

We’ll have another video and article on the topic of insurance but as for now remember home insurance is a MUST, you cannot bear the risk of skipping it even though some bankers might tell you it is compulsory but in fact it is not legally required. I am not able to tell you how much will the mortgage insurance be because I’m not the bank and insurance company as the insurance company will refer to the property price, age, gender, nature of employment & etc to quote the insurance premium.

Click here for more detailed comparison of MRTA & MLTA 

9. Renovation

How much to spend on renovation that is really depends on personal budget and preference. The cost can vary a lot depends on material, interior designs & etc. I’ve seen a wardrobe that cost about RM100,000+ so I can’t give much opinion about this.

10, 11, 12 utility bill, quit rent & assessment , maintenance fees

Thought you paid the full amount in cash or bank released the loan to seller and that’s it? NO. You still have some fees & deposit to be. Therefore, you will have to standby some money for water & electricity deposit and how much? Good question, I don’t know because it depends on various building, area, States & etc. 

Before you get the keys, you will also have to pay for maintenance fees (for strata title property), quit rent & assessment.


I believe that’s all for the important fees to be involved in a property transaction in Malaysia. It’s ok if it is too much for you, just remember, in a normal or general property purchasing process, you will have to standby about 15% to 18% cash of the property purchase price which includes all the fees I’ve mentioned above. You will be able to get the 10% back once you sold your property unless you sell it lower than your purchase price which in another words, LOSS.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Scott, I have 2 questions:
    1. SPA and loan both have legal fee and stamp duty. MOT have stamp duty but does it have legal fee? If yes, how much will it be?
    2. If I’m a Malaysian first-house buyer but it’s a subsale unit (residential property), will i get to enjoy Stamp duty exemption? If yes, is it only applicable when I buy with loan?

    Thanks!! Cheers

    1. hi Whitney,
      i’m not sure if you’ll receive notification if i reply to your question, let’s hope you will check back here,

      answer to your question:
      1. YES, there is, you have to refer to a lawyer, i call it a “legal fee” but some lawyers said that is not legal fee, that is registration fees……… 😒😑 …. just like agent telling you no “agent fee” but we have professional fees…… so you have to refer a lawyer,
      even though lawyer is a professional occupation, yes , some lawyers do fight / compete on price….. no choice, people need sales/ money or could use some money from time to time, so there’s some lawyer will to do it at lower cost, however, usually, lawyers will advise you to stick to the same lawyer as per assigned by the developer when they handled your case during SPA, in that way they say they give more discount, you can always get quotation from different lawyers, the process, duration , might different a bit because there could be some cases, condo, property, the lawyer is not familiar, but , shouldn’t be having a lots of difference, outcome should be the same. they have a calculation table just like the guideline for calculating the legal fees for SPA & Loan, if not mistaken is much lower than the Legal fees for loan & SPA, you really have to refer a lawyer

      2. Quoted from the newspaper: “Stamp duty exemption: First-time homebuyers who purchase a property priced RM500,000 and below are eligible for a full stamp duty exemption on the instrument of transfer and loan agreement. This exemption is valid until December 31, 2023. For properties priced between RM500,000 and RM1 million, first-time homebuyers are eligible for a 75% stamp duty exemption” ; “applies to both new and resale properties”

      remember to always check with lawyer ya, they provide the most accurate info, like my recent cases for RM 600,000 property, lawyer still collect full loan stamp duty because the gazette/ memo is yet to be released for the last few months, but it shall be refunded later by the income tax department/ IRB,
      important government link: ;

      for important cost to own a property you can always watch these video:

      don’t forget to subscribe to my channel 😀

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