It is always a wise thing to learn from others’ mistakes than to go through the mistake yourself. This is especially when you are making a big life decision that can change your entire life, e.g. buying a property. Since so many Singaporeans have already made the mistake for us to learn from, why don’t we learn from them and make the smarter decision?
We compile a list of six questions for you to ask when buying a property that will help you avoid making the same mistakes as our predecessors.
1. Why is the current owner selling?
There are two reasons why you should ask for the motivation behind why the previous owner wants to sell. For starters, it can help you get a better bargain. If the previous owner is selling because he/she is getting another property, it could mean that they are more time-pressed. In order to close the deal earlier, they might be willing to take a small price cut just to close the deal early.
Knowing the previous owner’s motivation for selling can help you avoid a sticky situation. For example, the owner might be selling because he/she is in desperate need of money. It could be to pay off debts from the bank or loan sharks. If he/she doesn’t clear his/her debt properly, you might find yourself being harassed as a substitute for the previous owner. Another possible reason for sale is the deteriorating housing condition. The owner might be selling because of the deteriorating housing condition. He/she might be selling it fast so that they can pass this hot potato to someone else.
2. Who are your potential neighbours?
Your living experience doesn’t just depend on you alone. Your neighbours can also make a huge difference to the quality of your living experience. Just imagine having neighbours who are harassed by loan sharks or inconsiderate neighbours who play mahjong throughout the night. Your quality of life can be greatly diminished by inconsiderate neighbours.
On the flipside, your living experience can also be enhanced, thanks to the presence of nice neighbours around you. Nice neighbours can make you feel welcome to the community with their warm smile and greetings in the morning. Sometimes, you might even find yourself having nice neighbours who are as close to you as your family members.
3. How much will you spend on interior design?
When potential homebuyers budget for their new homes, they often only consider the purchase price. But there are costs that are directly associated with the cost of ownership, apart from the purchase price. One such cost is the cost of interior design. It is important for you to consider the cost of interior design as part of your cost of ownership. Otherwise, you might find yourself bursting your initial budget and end up compromising on the quality of your home.
The cost for interior design of an HDB flat can cost anywhere in the range of S$34,000 to S$65,000. According to Qanvast, the average cost of interior design for a 4-room HDB flat is around S$53,000. For condos, the cost of interior design is between S$40,500 for smaller condos to upward of S$100,000 for larger condos. One advice from experienced homeowners is to have a renovation budget in your home hunting phase. Don’t let it slip your mind and only realize the problem when you end up without much budget after paying for your property down payment.
4. Which direction is your home facing?
One of the key things to know when buying a property is the direction your property is facing. This is because the direction your home is facing can determine the average temperature within your home.
In Singapore, the afternoon sun generally shines in the west direction. From March to September, the afternoon sun is in the north-west direction. From September to March, the afternoon sun is in the south-west direction. This means that north-west and south-west facing units will be much hotter in one half of the year.
In terms of practicality, it might mean more money needs to be spent on turning on the aircon to keep the average temperature in your house low. Additionally, for some units, you will not get any afternoon sun throughout the whole year in certain rooms. This could potentially become a problem when you are trying to get your clothes sunned and dried.
5. Have you done a review of your home’s Feng Shui?
Buying a new home is a big life commitment that you rather not be wrong about. Thus, getting a review of your home’s Feng Shui is one of those things that you rather be cautious about than to be ignorant and dismiss it as superstition. After all, every homeowner wants to stay in a happy and harmonious home. A good start to help you achieve your goal of a happy and harmonious home is to get a review of your home’s Feng Shui before you purchase it. Make sure that your Feng Shui shifu has good Feng Shui reviews about the home. At the very least, your shifu shouldn’t be shaking his head when he goes into the home.
6. What are the developmental plans in the area?
A new train line, new mall or even a new shopping mall. Development plans involving these amenities can affect the value of the property in the medium to long-term. If you are buying the property for investment purpose, then the developmental plans will be music to your ears.
However, what happens if you are looking to stay in it or to rent it out? Development plans in the area can make living in the area undesirable in the near term, thanks to construction work around the area. If you are looking to stay in the property, you will need to deal with the inconvenience. If you are looking to rent it out, you need to consider that developments will result in less appeal for tenants in the short term.
Read also: 5 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a House