How easy is it to rent, let or lease a cheap budget to luxury rental apartment, flat, codominium or house in Penang by the beach or in town with sea views?
EASY AND CHEAP
Partly because of Malaysia's My Second Home program, finding a place to live here is extremely easy whether you want it for a week or a few years.( Malaysia is the only place in Asia where you can buy landed property and there are many advantages for expats here. I think it's the best place in the world for a kid to learn Mandarin and Chinese culture in an enriching multiculture environment).
Prices range from $6.00 a month to $6000.00 a month,and our budget is in the 500 to 1000 U.S. dollars a month range for a deluxe, quality furnished, large 3 bedroom with first class amenities like health club, pool, security, sauna, jacuzzi, playground, free wifi, etc with sea views and near good mass transit.
This year things are different, so I have more information to add for those who are interested in visting Penang or coming for a long stay in this World Heritage tropical paradise. In this rental-property-in-Penang series, I will introduce you to some top apartment complex contenders, good property agents that you can trust and a comparison between two or three top places for expats and travelers. This post focuses on what we picked and why.
Just like the beautiful rental home in Penang we found last year, I knew this posh property was the one for us as soon as I saw it. The panoramic, spectacular sea, cityscape and nature views sold me in seconds, not to mention the high quality furnishings and the fact that it was brand new and never lived in. Alas, It's a bit hard with my point-and-shoot camera and bright light of the place to capture fully.
The new, high-rise condo building had all the services we needed like pool, playground, sauna and exercise room, but it 'twas those two full, long walls of breathtaking views from the king sized bed in the large master suite, ( mirrored by the third wall of well done custom storage closet) that reminded me of our stays at Four Seasons and Fairmont luxury hotels, that sold me.
The serenely enchanting views from the very comfortable new bed.. full of sea, cityscape, tile roofs and green nature ...are mezmerizing and ever changing night and day. We love watching the cargo ships, sailboats and white cruise ships slowly glide by, the glorious Adaman Sea sunsets and sunrises, the changing puffy cloud scapes and even thrilling quick tropical lightening storms.
The problem was it was above our budget, so we did due diligence, seeing tons of apartments all over Penang from one end to the other in two days time and narrowed it down to three places that we would have loved to live in, if we could come to terms with the best price.
Mozart and I preferred this place, but DaVinci voted for another lovely place in this building on a higher floor, but with a different perspective view ( shown above in 2nd photo, my second choice).
Despite having spent last winter in Penang, ( from November to May) this time finding a place to rent was more difficult than we had anticipated. Just like last year or looking for long stay rentals in Spain, we have it down to a science on how to do this quickly, but two days before leaving California, we found out that the van that picks up Mozart to and from her Mandarin school was full. Yikes!
That changed everything as we had planned to just go back to the same building we were in last year, Miami Green in Batu Ferrenghi. Alas, Batu Ferringhi is a 45 minute drive from Georgetown where Mozart's Mandarin school is and we prefer not to have a car, since we enjoy the exercise of walking and experiencing a place from ground level. Plus, we'd rather put more into our home, than car or cable TV and traffic and parking are horrendous in Penang, so not an inviting prospect, whlle the buses are air conditioned with free wifi and convenient.
Thus, we had a problem without the van because no one else in the school lived out that far. We had a choice of either buying a car this year or finding a place closer to the school in a more central area where more people live ( and rents are a bit higher as it's more convenient and coveted).
We looked deeply into both choices and in fact looked into more apartments in Miami Green than anywhere, but it is an old building ( about 10-12 years which is old for this area, but a well maintained building) thus many of the apartments are pretty ugly and over used. If you travel long term like we do, and want to avoid travel burnout, one must live like a king, not a pauper.
Even with great views, ugly furniture turns me off. Ugly view, but good furniture is also a unacceptable. Doable for a month or two maybe, but we will be here a year or more, so wanted something really soothing and special. We got one of the best units there last year, but only found one we liked this year and they didn't allow children. Beautiful homes nurture our souls and a priority for us in a long stay and life outside in Penang is gritty and sensory overloading, so a peaceful home is important here.
We also know Miami Green well, the pros and cons, so something that might appeal to a newbie, couldn't get past us this time. Things like: we know the low floors get diesel fumes from the garage or the tower where monkeys jump into your apartment or how difficult life is when your building is far from the center of the action which is the main pool where everyone gathers.
The rental apartment we chose, was the largest that we saw at almost 1400 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, brand new washer and dryer, quality beds, with the best views by far ( although all the places we were interested in had great sea views). The owners wanted 3500 ringgits for it, but we negotiated down to 2800, which is about 930 U.S. dollars a month.
Higher than we wanted to go, but so far we are extremely happy here and the rest of our expenses are very low. We like the lovely Chinese Christian owners who built it for them to live in and had the place blessed ( great, pure energy here) and with a son doing University in the U.S.. Also very pleased with the hard working agent who helped us find it and became our friend in the process, Ooh Pei Hoon.
We arrived on Monday night, decided on the place on Wednesday on second viewing our 3 top choices, moved in on Thursday morning and Mozart went back to school on Friday. What a week!
No place is perfect and we have run into a few glitches ( one of our biggest wishes was for a quiet, peaceful place which this place is, but on the second day here a neighbor was using a jack hammer to tear down a wall. Yowser! ). Luckily the management, owners and agent all helped us to find a win/win solution and they have very strict rules here about quiet and construction.
It is funny, but unexpectedly, about a week after we moved in, the van to school got an opening! ( She was going to school with the Dean of Students with a few other classmates). Had we not had that glitch, we may have missed this place.
We really prefer this central location of Tanjung Togong, which is just a two block lovely walk in nature to Tesco and a mall or two blocks the other way to another mall and MUCH closer to EVERYTHING than Miami Green which is on the far outskirts. We can walk to a beach here or easily take a 10 minute bus to see our old friends in Miami Green and the beaches of Batu Ferringhi or to Gurney Mall and movies.
We are still meeting our neighbors, but Mozart has already met three girls her age in the pool and loads of boys her age. I've met interesting folks who live here from Germany, Australia, and Chinese Malaysians. They don't seem to do the weekly rentals like at Miami Green, so it is quieter which we enjoy ( like having the pool and work out room all to oursevles often).