Yong Yi Yuen in Penang, Malaysia.
Some popular home stays hosted on Airbnb this year include Tamarind Cottage Treehouse in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Jonker Street Peranakan Mansionin Melaka.

THERE are a lot of risks and responsibility when it comes to home ownership. Not only is a house expensive to maintain, it may also be extremely difficult to sell or rent, especially under unfavourable market conditions.

You may earn more on your down payment by investing in a diversified portfolio that includes stocks or bonds, rather than real estate.

When it comes to the rental market, there are many homeowners who are currently struggling to lease out their property. This is especially the case for new high-rise apartments or condominiums where there are hundreds of units available for rent.

Some homeowners who have been lucky enough to lease out their units are getting below market value on rent, meaning they still have to fork out money from their pocket to pay off their monthly mortgage.

This is a bad investment, if you ask property experts.

“I would say it is a good investment if the property that you are renting out is able to fully pay for your monthly bank installment. In fact, it should be able to give you extra money to pocket,which you can keep aside to pay for the maintenance of the property,” said an expert.

“Don’t always believe what property developers tell you when it comes to the rental market. Their idea is to sell all the properties within their housing project so they can make sales and move on to another development.

“Do your own research. Buying a property is a big-ticket item and there is no turning back after you have signed the Sales & Purchase Agreement. Do so memarket research and analyse the situation. If you have made a bad choice by buying, whether in a prime or non-prime area, look at the options available to rent it out as quickly as possible.”

Using Airbnb to make money

If you have a property that needs to be rented soon to help pay for your monthly mortgage, one of the options available is to host it on short-term rental website Airbnb.

By using the Airbnb platform, you can reach out to millions of travellers looking for unique places to stay. You will be in full control of your availability, prices, house rules, and how you interact with guests. You can set check-in times and handle the process however you like.

Airbnb’s secure payment system means you never have to deal with money directly. Guests are charged before arrival, and you are paid automatically after check-in via PayPal, direct deposit, or international money wire, among other ways.

Airbnb recently released its annual look-back at the year’s travel trends, revealing new insights into travel in Malaysia — from up-and-coming neighbourhoods and trending cities, to the most popular outbound destinations for Malaysians.

It also revealed that there were over 1.38 million Airbnb guest arrivals in Malaysia last year — a 152 per cent year-on-year growth from 2016.

According to the Airbnb findings, the top trending neighbourhoods in Kuala Lumpur include the KL city centre, Bukit Bintang, Kampung Baru, Brickfields and Taman Desa.

If you own a property in any of these areas, then you may have no problem finding short-term tenants or travellers to collect your monthly income.

“Malaysians aren’t just keen to explore the countries around them; last year, domestic travel also surged in popularity, with 58 per cent of guest arrivals coming from Malaysian travellers themselves!

“Malaysians realised there’s plenty to do right on their doorstep, and took the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of history, culture and heritage their own country has to offer,” said Airbnb in the report.

The top domestic destinations among Malaysian travellers last year were Kuala Lumpur, George Town, Ipoh, Malacca, Johor Baru, Petaling Jaya, Kampung Sungai Ara, Kota Kinabalu and Port Dickson.

But it’s not just Malaysians who were doing all the travelling, Airbnb said.

People from all over the world came to Malaysia in 2017, with the largest proportion of inbound international guests coming from Singapore, China, the United States, Indonesia and Australia.

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