Guide to first time buyers of home properties in Singapore
Many people and many younger of the population will find themselves once in their lives be involved to choose a property unit, whether it is for their own use or as a family unit whilst living with their parents.
Hence it is essential for all involved to cultivate the knowledge and experience to choose effectively and choose well.
On the overall, some have selected well and perfectly. Bravo!! Others somewhat have chosen quite correctly in one area but inadequately in another.
Yet many others have inadvertently made bad choices and choose units that they find to their shock and dismay, heaps of unforeseen problems that result from their wrong choices that hurt and harm them and their lifestyle for many years to come.
As a result, I choose to write this blog to offer a free guide to all, having been in the property line for many years.
Having also help many family members and close friends to select properties ranging from bungalows, to condominiums, private apartments to HDB properties, I like to share a few pointers.
Time and again, I find that numerous individuals will make the similar recurring mistake over and again.
Fortunately, for those who take my advice, they have eventually progressed on to resell them at good prices making a handsome profit.
Some are thankful for the advice that they have received and they live peacefully in good and pleasant environment, even to this day.
For those who refuse my advice, sadly and regrettably they suffer for their poor judgements to this date. Too bad, friend…just too bad!
So, anyone choosing to buy the first property in Singapore can follow the next simple guidelines and one can certainly not go wrong.
To begin with, the correct choice of the property is choosing the best location. Location, location, location first, always the top priority to abide.
Location is utmost priority No. 1, for sure, no. 1 ranking in terms of ranking of all priorities!
Choose a property in the location that suits your life, your lifestyle, your career and proximity to your workplace and to your family’s home.
So, let’s say, if you live in the East and are used to activities in the East, so it’s best to choose a site that you are familiar with and that you feel comfortable with, right?
Next look out for available nearby sites of the chosen location for HDB flats, condominiums or private properties.
Choose the type of property according to your budget and affordability. Do not overstretch yourself for in years to come, the property can become a financial burden and in your lifestyle and in your future life. Evaluate and calculate wisely and prudently. Don’t try to catch up with the Joneses, so they say!
Request and enquire further of the mortgage plan from several banks before deciding. If buying a private property, there is higher cash out to be lodged for deposit as according to Singapore Government’s guideline. You can also enquire more from a housing agent.
Remember do not calculate so tightly that you have no spare cash. You must allow yourself ample cash for many unseen future costs, like renovation costs, moving costs, stamp duty and lawyer’s fee. There are many hidden and unseen costs, so be beware!
CHOICE OF HOUSE AGENT
Now, you may want to engage the service of a house agent to help with the purchase. These agents have more contacts and networking to help find the most suitable units for you.
If you are looking for a property in a newly launched condo or property, there are appointed agents who can help you.
Just a word of caution here. The choice of agents is also very important. Get an agent who has done some sales for a friend or a family member. They will protect your interest more. Ask them about the commission that they expect upon successful purchase.
Usually it is 1% to 2% of the sales price for private properties from the seller only. Buyer of private property do not have to pay commission.
For HDB property, it is 1% of the sale price for the buyer and 2 % for the seller.
Bear this in mind: these agents can only help with the right connections to the right properties or desirable unit.
Choosing the right unit is your responsibility as you know what you want and what’s best for you and your lifestyle. Do not let any agent choose the unit that they fancy but not what you fancy!
SITE AND HOUSE VISIT
Upon locating the prospective unit, go for a house and site visit.
Ask yourself these few questions:
1) Do you like your surroundings? Too near school, too near to the road, too many factories nearby, MRT track in sight, buildings of worship are also important factors for there will be public loitering around your property due to religious activities and their celebration and religious day.
2) Do you like the appearance of the property? Too modern, too dated, too dirty, even colour of the property is very important to some people because of some belief or personal likes or dislikes.
The orientation of the unit to the East- West sun is noteworthy. Ask for the direction of rising sun and the direction that it sets. Usually try to avoid unit that faces the West or the setting sun as it is hotter in the afternoon. Units that face the West will be hotter.
Choose unit that faces the morning sun. It is good to have sun for morning period as the sun will help brighten the unit and will freshen up any mouldy environment. Unit that gets morning sun will be cleaner and more refreshing.
Always avoid a unit that get both the morning and afternoon, a unit that is not planned along the East West Orientation. Some condo units are not best planned with this golden orientation as they are designed within a small restricted site area, causing some units being unable to be planned to the correct orientation. So, pay extra attention and be careful on this point.
Most HDB flats are planned with the correct East- West Orientation due to the immensity of land area given for urban planning of the whole estate and town. I can safely say that a high percentage of HDB flats are planned correctly to the EW orientation.
Next: Is the unit too noisy being too close to major road, expressway and even MRT tracks? These are important factors because these contribute major noise throughout the day and even night and it can upset one’s lifestyle, especially if there is an elderly or a baby living with you.
Next: the layout of the unit is very important. There are many units that are not planned well or planned insufficiently for good interior layout or with much long corridors which are not useable to you.
One terrible layout I consider in present planning of units is the lack of Yard. Many of the modern condo units are designed without a yard, which cause the kitchen to have no opening or window. Hence there is no direct ventilation of the kitchen when cooking one meal but every odour from cooking will have to ventilate through the living area to the outside space.
Due to non-provision of yard area, the washer/dryer is located along the lower kitchen cabinet. Hence one has synchronised their cooking and washing to be at different time.
I have seen such unit with non- provision of yard area in which the owner has no choice but to dry their clothes in the balcony beside the living room. I find this arrangement to be unacceptable and ridiculous as some such units cost a 7 digit dollars property (more than a million dollars) and yet the owner must live with their laundry in their exclusive balcony area which is meant for relaxing and entertaining!!
Also, items like location of the playground area and BBQ area are important factors for the choice of the unit. These are public areas that create noise and unwanted smell. Decide if they can be acceptable to you and your family.
If buying a resale unit, you may have to consider the renovation costs. But if the unit is brand new, most of the built-in cabinets in the kitchen and bedrooms will be included in the sale price. Even new condo will provide fridge, washing machine on top of the usual oven hob and cooker with the kitchen cabinets.
Lastly, read the building specification carefully before signing the dot.
CHOOSE AFTER FEW SITE VISITS
One last word of advice: if you like the unit very much, do not commit immediately. Visit the chosen unit at different times of the day and night including viewing them at weekends to observe the surrounding environment and ambience to further help with the decision.
Best success to your house hunting!