When it comes to viewing properties, it’ll really help if you know what to look out for. To an untrained eye, there might be significant gaps or considerations that might go unnoticed or unchecked. Since buying a property is no small matter, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks that would help you make the best decision you could -- buy or don’t buy?
When strolling around the apartment you’re viewing, you have to imagine yourself staying and living there for a period of time. And not just the interior, but the exterior, too. By exterior, we mean the vicinity or surrounding of the apartment. Firstly, it is noisy? Or is it tranquil? This is especially important if you work from home or have family members who do. Then, take a walk or drive around the area to see if they have certain amenities that you need, like MRT or bus stations. If you don’t drive, are you fine taking 20 minutes to get to the nearest transport hub? Do you cook? If not, are there hawker centres, supermarkets or malls close by? Lifestyle-wise, are there gyms or swimming pools nearby? What about schools? Are the neighbours considerate? Or do they stay up late at night playing mahjong? The point here is that it’s not just about the apartment itself; the surrounding matters too.
2.What’s The Story?
There are a few questions you want answered regarding the apartment’s history. First of all, how long has the current owner been staying here? Because Singapore has a Sellers Stamp Duty (SSD), which is a tax imposed on a seller who sells within three years of getting the unit, the owner shouldn’t be selling any sooner than that. If that’s the case, then perhaps there is something wrong with the house or location, like loan shark activities or some hidden piping issues. Of course, the reason may be personal, which is why it’s best to find the answer to set yourself at ease.
Another thing to know is the last time the house got a renovation. Generally speaking, 3-10 years ago since the last renovation is a positive sign. Otherwise, ask yourself if you are satisfied with the interior. If the house was renovated recently, that may be a sign that the owner is trying to conceal some flaw (since no one would spend the money on renovation when they know they would be selling soon). Lastly, how long has the property been on sale? Our estimation is that a unit shouldn’t be up for sale for more than three months. If so, perhaps the price is higher than neighbouring units of similar value, or that other buyers had spotted some off-putting flaws like noise or obstructive public construction.
3.How’s The Apartment?
What do you check for in the apartment other than those covered in point two? One important aspect is how “harmonious” the layout is. To get the answer, walk around and imagine yourself living there. Do the rooms connect to each other well? Are they spacious enough? Do you want more space in the living room or kitchen, where you unwind with your family at the end of the day? Or do you want more space in your rooms? Overall the apartment should feel like it works as a unit, meaning no space should feel like it doesn’t belong or sticks out like a sore thumb. An example of this would be a misplaced room or a living room that feels like it is stifling compared to the other areas.
Going back to renovation, consider how much you will need to spend on renovation by properly examining the existing layout. The lesser, the better. In other words, the apartment should be as close to your dream home as possible.
Literally. Have a notepad or jot your observations down in your phone. Take pictures as well. This will prevent you from mixing up the different apartments you have been viewing. What to take down? What you like and don’t like, so that you can have pros and cons when making the big decisions. Also, take down questions that you haven’t got the chance to ask (maybe the owner is around and the question is something more personal). Also note down things you want to change, such as the tiles in the master bedroom or the kitchen sink. This way you won’t feel overwhelmed and lost when you finally move in.
When inspecting the house, make full use of your time to take not of all the details. Are there enough plugs? Is the living room or master bedroom sun-facing in the morning or evening? Don’t rush your observations. Then, come back another time, with or without your agent. This time, pay attention to what might be different due to the time difference. For instance, if you viewed the house in the morning and found it pleasantly quiet, is it still as peaceful in the evening? Is the traffic still smooth or is the area getting congested? And so on.
Once you’ve moved in, another aspect not to rush is furniture. Buy the big-ticket items like sofa and bed frames first, before diving into smaller items. Let your house “breath” with the bigger items for about one month or so, so that you can get a clearer picture of what kind of house you want to live in. This way, the smaller items which provide accent and style to your house, like lava lamps or an expensive bookshelf, will add to the house instead of cluttering it.
Looking for the perfect home? Be sure to check out SRX’s featured listings here.