Renting vs Buying your First Home, Achieve true independence

Renting vs buying your first home

You’ve been working for years now. You have some savings, perhaps. Has it crossed your mind to move out and live by yourself? Is it better renting or buying your first home? That is the question. We want to encourage young working Malaysian adults to take full control of their lives. Make a choice now – break through your financial limitations and be truly independent.


Buying your first home: You can take out a home loan for an amount of up to 90% of the property purchase price (i.e. up to a margin of financing of 90%). qtip1_This means that you have to fork out a minimum down payment of 10% of the property purchase price. You should also be aware that there are other upfront costs associated with purchasing a property, which can come up to an additional 2.7% (for properties priced at RM100k) to 3.8% (for properties priced at RM1.5 mil) based on our estimates. This may sound okay to you if you have sufficient savings, but watch out for any lost opportunity cost, which we will go into more detail later.

Do take some time to do some research on property prices for your desired locations. Our take is that it would cost RM300k and above for properties in the Klang Valley area.

Renting your first home: Most landlords will typically require a security deposit equal to 2 months’ rent and a utilities deposit equal to half month’s rent in advance. This can be substantially less than the upfront payments required to purchase a home.

With the upfront costs laid out above, we bring you to the next question: –


Buying your first home: We have put together a table to determine the maximum loan amount you should apply for based on your disposable income. Do note that the maximum amounts below are based on several assumptions and we have used a general rule of thumb that your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 70% of your disposable income.

Table 1


Using Table 1 above, you can determine the maximum price of the property you can buy, depending on your qtip2_margin of financing. For example, if you earn a disposable income of RM3,500, the maximum loan amount you should apply for is RM477.9k (row bolded above for reference). Assuming a margin of financing of 90%, you should at maximum purchase a property priced at RM531.0k.

Alternatively, if you already have a place to purchase in mind, you can determine the monthly instalment amounts required using this home loan calculator on

Renting your first home: Current average rental prices in the Klang Valley are as follows:

Table 2

As you can see, choosing to rent your first home can be much less intimidating on the wallet. We earlier talked about the opportunity cost involved with large upfront costs, but this will also come into play when deciding whether to pay for rental or mortgage, as rental is expected to be lower than mortgage. The next question to pose is –qtip3_We would recommend renting if the down payment and monthly mortgage payments are too expensive for you, or if there are no viable properties to be purchased for the time being. Although there is no set rule on how much to spend on rent (aside from some basic budgeting) as they are not as substantial as mortgage payments, do ensure to leave a cushion for any unexpected expenses. You don’t want to be squeezed for cash at the end of each month.


You must consider the opportunity cost of each choice. Simply put, could you earn a better return from: (i) capital appreciation of the property you have purchased, or (ii) investing the difference between the upfront costs and monthly payments of renting and buying?

If you rent your first home, you pay a lower fixed amount each month but are missing out on owning an asset and any capital appreciation that may come with it. In a market where the value of property is expected to appreciate, you could be losing out on capital gain, if any.

If you buy your first home, the down payment and monthly instalments required could potentially be very large. Could you have earned a better return by investing the cost difference between renting and buying?


Adam is a young adult looking to move out of his parents’ home and achieve true independence. Adam makes a disposable income of RM3,500 and has no other existing mortgage payments. Based on Table 1, Adam can take out a loan of RM477.9k. However, AdamAdam decides to be prudent and only takes out a loan of RM350k to purchase a property valued at RM389k, assuming a margin of financing of 90%. Adam has to pay a down payment of RM38.9k and other upfront costs which come up to about RM11.2k, and can expect to make monthly mortgage payments of RM1,794 (51% of his disposable income).

On the other hand, if Adam decides to rent a 1 bedroom apartment outside the city centre in say Petaling Jaya, he pays an upfront deposit of RM2,833 (RM1,133 x 2.5 months). Adam can expect to make monthly rental payments of RM1,133 (32% of his disposable income). Further, if Adam is confident that he can invest the money saved by renting instead of buying, and make a higher return than the property’s capital appreciation, he wouldn’t care so much about losing out on the opportunity cost of renting.








Do take some time to seriously consider whether living on your own is feasible, be it by renting or buying your first home. Don’t let financial limitations or naysayers hold you back from even thinking that you have a choice.

To top it off, renting a place through Speedrent grants you a 50% discount on your first month’s rent. Download our app here: and check out the 2,000 and more listings we have available.

Take our word for it and have the #freedomtolive

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