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Environment-friendly Home Designs: A Tip From NECARBONCHALLENGE.ORG

Environment-friendly Home Designs: A Tip From NECARBONCHALLENGE.ORG

FIRST OF ALL, AN ANNOUNCEMENT. If you’d like to join our annual Carbon Challenge event (to be held in Pasadena, January 14th, 2014) then please email or

Thank you! 🙂

Today,  I am going to talk about environment-friendly home staging designs – particularly for our Malaysian friends. While it’s no rocket science to figure out the importance of design and home staging in the Malaysian home selling process, it does take some genius of sorts to get the whole thing done. And not just ‘done’ ‘done’ for the sake of completing the job. The goal is always to present the house good enough to make any buyer want to strap their name onto the house for a mortgage loan that will take up a chunk of their income for most of their lives.

Home buyers love to choose from wide selections of designs. Weird house? It’s environmentally friendly!

The thing about staging a home is that, the moment you decide to sell your house, you have lost all control to the Malaysian house. You have lost the house completely when you make that decision. Everything you do or make to and for the house, at this crucial juncture, is all for and about the potential buyers. IT’S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IF YOU WANT TO BE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY (REMEMBER THE CARBON CHALLENGE!)

You have to recreate the house no longer according to you and your personal tastes, but this time according to what would look pleasing to most buyers. After all, more offers would mean more chances of selling at a much, much better price.

GREEN Ideas That Buyers Will Surely LOVE!

So while we cannot all be master interior designers and architects, we can always have a little piece of knowledge that experts in the real estate field have known for years; here are some 5 design ideas that buyers love:

  1. A neutral palette. Earth tones of beige, white, brown, cream and other hues in the same palette would always make a good design decision if you’re trying to sell a home. These are the colors that give a sense of openness and welcome, the sense that the Malaysian house does not have traces of its previous owners. Neutral colors also give a sense of a blank slate – something to create things on. Try to choose three neutral colors to become the central theme of your house color before opening it up to potential buyers. Popular choice for Malaysians!
  2. Open area. Your busy foyer and hallway can finally get some rest. When staging a home, it is very important that you strip your house of bulky and unnecessary furniture and appliances? An open, spacious-looking home is always highly recommended, design-wise. It will make potential buyers think that they are getting a good deal with a big home with small price.
  3. Outdoor spaces. More and more people these days are beginning to realize the beauty of enjoying the outdoors; that is why homes that come with outdoor spaces are very impressive to many home buyers. So if you have room enough for simple garden furniture, or if you have an unused area for a patio, by all means invest on it. The good thing about investing in these outdoor spaces is that they don’t need to be grand; the more natural and simpler they are, the more attractive they are. Run to your nearest thrift store for some well-loved rattan seats or a little hammock, add some rustic garden lights and win an outdoor-loving buyer.
  4. Natural light. Natural light creates an illusion of additional space. So when you are selling an upmarket condo like The Coast in Singapore or the infamous Vipod Suite in KLCC and you’re expecting tons of buyers, go for sheer curtains and open windows if the weather permits. This will definitely sit well with your white accents in the house. Avoid putting too much drapery on your windows because it makes it look stuffy and clamped.
  5. Smart storage additions. If you’re going to invest on your house renov for the house you’re selling, might as well invest in smart storage. Transform your small pantry into a multi-level, multi-faceted rotating pantry, or if space allows, create a walk in closet.

You may also want to read my previous guide to green development for context. Alternatively, see this page for more inspiration!


November 4, 20130 commentsRead More
Restoring the GREEN in Old Condominiums: A Practical Guide!

Restoring the GREEN in Old Condominiums: A Practical Guide!

Email from a previous attendee of the New England Go Green campaign (back in 2008) –

Hey M!

I have been buying up old real estate (here in Malaysia) to restore before flipping them in the secondary market. And of course, being a green devotee, I would like to take up the CARBON CHALLENGE and turn them into little green monsters! What’s your advice?

Cindy Forbes

Well Cindy!

A lot of homeowners today in Malaysia are looking into buying old condominiums and investing on repairing it. They save up a lot on the down payment and the total cost of the house thereby getting shorter terms on mortgage loans and in some cases, lower monthly fees.

While that sounds very promising, repairing an old condo can be as expensive as building a new one. If you don’t have a lot of money for repairs, you might still end up with a huge construction loan. But if you are creative and innovative enough, you may just be in for some good bargain. I know, because I tried restoring an old Nadi  condo in Bangsar and it really broke my budget trying to go green!

Just as with everything else, there are pros and cons to it so read on if you’re planning to do exactly this for your condo project:


  • You can save up on the down payment. While the closing costs are practically the same, these old condos are usually sold much, much cheaply than newer and expensive condos, such as the Park Seven condo in KLCC. These houses have outdated electric and water systems most likely so they would really be very, very inexpensive. Ditto goes for Iskandar region condos.
  • You can save up on mortgage. Your total mortgage loan won’t be as big as when you’re buying a new home. And for obvious reasons. The cheaper the house, the smaller the fees and total costs.
  • They are usually in very good locations. Bangsar, Petaling Jaya, and New Klang all have potential condominiums that are always in demand to the public. Other condo buyers are just not into the hassle of having to work on a condo. They want condos that are ready to live in. There are old condos in good areas that are a turn off for home buyers because they are a lot of work to do. If you invest in them, you get both the condo and the good location.


  • They may cost you more than a new condo. Everything in that old condo could be outdated. Most condo buyers are looking for effective green solutions for both houses and condos, and this might be a problem. You’ll have to install new everything – ducts, electricity, water, heating, etc. If your purchase is bad, you might be having problems on sloping, ceiling, pests, and what-nots. You might end up having to tear the whole condo done!
  • You may need a different loan for the repairs. You wouldn’t want double loans right? If you do not have enough savings to cover all the repairs, you may end up having to take a loan on top of your mortgage on the unit.
  • Takes time. It’s practically just like getting a new condo built. You can’t live in it until you have finished all the work in it.
  • Unit restoration is something for the pros and those who are patient enough. Green real estate that are increasing in numbers in certain areas like Mont Kiara and KLCC boasts of facilities that promise little restoration to the owner. This is challenging when looking to buy an old condo unit to restore. Make sure the foundations are still good, and it is not sloping. Also make sure to run a whole pest management thing going – years of it not being lived in made it an ideal place for rodents, termites and all the nasty things in its most hidden nooks and crannies.
  • Before making that final purchase on the old condo, make sure you know what it entails.

Speak soon,

M 😀

May 11, 20130 commentsRead More