He thought it was the best decision he and his family have ever made.
In 1994, Mr Mohammed Dawood Mohamed Jamaludin bought a four-bedroom, 4,200 sq ft two-storey semi-detached house in Taman Bukit Kempas, Johor Baru, for RM208,000 (S$80,800).
But five years later, the property - located an hour away from Woodlands Checkpoint - was sold without his knowledge.
Now the ownership of that home has changed several times, but Mr Mohammed Dawood is still determined to reclaim the money he invested into the property, which served as his family's weekend home between 1994 and 1999.
Speaking to The New Paper from his daughter's four-room HDB flat in Jurong West recently, the 68-year-old cleaning supervisor said he bought the Johor property right after he sold his three-room HDB flat in Boon Lay.
In the last few years, the father of two grown children and two grandchildren said he has spent up to $18,000 on legal fees.
This is on top of the more than RM160,000 Mr Mohammed Dawood spent paying for the home in that five-year period.
He has since filed suits in the Malaysian courts - copies of which were obtained by TNP - to reclaim his investment.
But this could be a lost cause: The house he is battling for is built on a plot of land meant for bumiputras (indigenous people).
This means he was not allowed to buy the house in the first place as he is a Singaporean.
But, Mr Mohammed Dawood maintains that he was able to buy the freehold property because a bank officer handling the sale of the property "told me to use the name of a Malaysian named Noraulhuda Zainal in order to secure the loan".
He was told his name would be on the deed after five years, he claimed.
Even though Mr Mohammed Dawood said he did not know Ms Noraulhuda, he agreed to the terms.
He added: "Once she signed up for the loan, I met the banking officer again and paid the RM$20,000 deposit and agreed to pay RM1,800 each month for the house."
Five years after he purchased the home, Mr Mohammed Dawood claimed Ms Noraulhuda told him that she needed the house "because her family needed a place to stay and wanted to rent the home".
He said: "I agreed because I thought the income from the rent could help me clear the housing loans quicker.
"But I was shocked to learn she sold the house several months later without my consent."
He is suing Ms Noraulhuda over the sale of his house.
Looking back, Mr Mohammed Dawood regrets rushing into the deal.
He said: "I didn't know anything about Malaysian property rules. I just knew we had an agreement, so I thought that was enough.
"But now, they can keep the house. All I want now is my cash back."
Ms Noraulhuda could not be reached to give her side of the story.
Get The New Paper for more stories.