5 Important Factors To Consider When Buying a House In Singapore
Whether you’re still looking for the best home loans, or you’re still searching for your first or fifth, buying a property involves a lot of thought, gut-feel, planning and homework.
It’s easy to fall prey to the shiny brochures, show flats, and the “we-only-have-10 units-left” spiel especially if you’re buying private properties.
Before your property shopping, it’s helpful to keep these 5 factors in mind to help narrow your search and keep you sane.
Location, location, location. Repeat.
Whether you’re buying your own home or for investment, nothing beats a good location. What does a good location mean anyway?
In the past, this could have meant the literal core of the city in districts close to the CBD and Orchard, for example. However, thanks to the decentralisation of the city, commercial and business hubs can now be found across the island.
For instance, the Buena Vista area is now home to many MNCs and even far-out Jurong will be an innovation district in the future.
What this means is that if you’re thinking of purchasing a home that also has a good potential for resale or rent, then your options aren’t just limited to the core central area.
Proximity to MRT stations
Cars will not get any cheaper. Living within walking distance to an MRT station is one of the ways to shorten your commuting time to almost anywhere, especially now that the MRT lines cover a lot more ground than before.
Even if you do drive, there are days when you just don’t want to get stuck in peak-hour traffic. If you have children or plan to have them, then this allows them to travel independently as well.
Have a look at LTA’s MRT map to find out where the new MRT stations would be located.
If circumstance call for you to own a home soon, then timing isn’t really an issue.
But, for those who can wait and are waiting, the property cooling measures seemed to have taken effect and house prices in the recent years have falling, though the prices may still be out of reach for most Singaporeans.
Chances are, they won’t remain that way for much longer as the government has just lifted some of the restrictions such as stamp duty, which means that more people who were hesitating to pay extra for their investment properties now have the green light to go shopping for a house again.
If you’re eyeing a condo, keep these ones on your checklist as developers have to sell their units or face a penalty. You may even want to contact an agent and get first dibs on any potential discounts.
3. Noise, heat and air pollution
This is easy to spot if you’re purchasing an existing property. Noise pollution from neighbours, nearby construction sites or general street noise can make a living nightmare out of your home.
Heat can also be a concern if your apartment faces the West, as the heat from the setting sun can heat up the apartment, making it an uncomfortable welcome home.
Air pollution can be fixed with purifiers, but why not just avoid living close to busy roads or industrial parks in the first place?
Limiting dust and dirt at home can also be a very important factor if you or your family members suffer from allergies or respiratory problems.
4. Amenities in the area
Having a neighbourhood that is self-contained can make life a breeze. Take a walk and see how close are important amenities like supermarkets, schools, food courts, cafes, clinics and enrichment/day care centres.
If you have a neighbourhood mall, then there’s no reason for you to commute further out on your weekends.
Some forward-thinking parents even choose to live close to a prestigious primary school so that their child has the best chance of admission. If you’re very particular about schools, then begin your search with that in mind.
In addition, having a big park or even waterfront setting can be a great bonus if you enjoy taking your fitness outdoors instead of the gym. If pets feature prominently in your life, then this should be a consideration as well.
Last but not least, have a good grasp on what you can or cannot afford before you get swayed by the options that tempt you to stretch beyond what you really do.
Aside from having the sufficient funds to make the down-payment, consider how much of your monthly income you are really comfortable to set aside for the mortgage, and if you have any other significant financial commitments that you need to see to.
Most importantly, don’t overstretch on the financing with the assumption of pay raises and promotions. Being prudent with such a large financial commitment will not only free up more cash, but also save you from the troubles when times get tougher.