Viewing property? Here are 5 things you must check (or live to regret)
There's more to it than just walking inside and feeling its vibe. From the condition of a flat's pipes to where the wall sockets are, here are some important things you should be considering.
So, you’ve shortlisted a few apartments and sure to start your home viewings soon. To make that process more worthwhile, here are five things you should check when you’re viewing a property.
There’s more to viewing property than just walking into a room and feeling its vibe. To really get to know a place, you must first know its community.
If you get there earlier than your appointed schedule, you’ll have time to walk around and survey the vicinity. Check if it has any key amenities integral to your lifestyle.
You don't drive? Take public transport on the day of your home viewing. Then you can gauge your commute time and the distance of bus stops or MRT stations from that place.
You don’t cook? Check if there are any hawker centres or malls close by. Also, if you like exercise or sports, you should check if there’s a sports complex nearby. Or, if you’re looking at a condominium unit, make sure it has all the equipment you’d like to have.
Do you have pets? Check if there are any veterinary clinics within a short distance.
Besides these basics, be on the lookout for signs of loanshark activity if you’re buying a flat. These include the presence of CCTV cameras, or one side of a common corridor being strangely bare (the neighbours will keep their things to prevent accidental damage). Also check the stairwell – sometimes, the O$P$ signs are scribbled there instead.
An average viewing is around 15 minutes, which means you’ll need to thoroughly inspect the unit within that short period of time. One of the things to first check is how much space there actually is.
Depending on your needs, rank what you’ll need more. A tight walk-in closet or a separate study room? Similarly, choose between having a balcony in a five-bedder versus a larger living room space in a four-bedder apartment.
How well are the pipes, walls and ceilings holding up? Put on your detective hat and inspect the unit carefully. Remember, this can be your next home. Don’t take any chances.
What’s the status of the pipes? Beauty is only surface-deep, so you might want to put on your detective's hat and take a look under the sink. You’ll never know, there might be leaking, moulded pipes underneath those stainless-steel countertops. Such defects could be costly to repair.
Also look for any discolouration in the ceiling, such as a line of fresh paint on an older coat. This could be signs of an air-conditioner pipe leak, which has been quickly patched (it will start to leak again later, if it’s not fixed).
Don’t forget to check the windows and walls, as well. North-facing units will catch the scorching sun at its fullest, especially in the afternoon.
Unless you want to melt in your own sauna, make sure it’s largely facing east or south. Or even its variants – northeast or southeast. And as concrete walls trap heat, east-facing units will trap less heat and cool down considerably quicker.
Also, check if an MRT line is passing right at window level. This may not be a problem, but in some units it causes a loud rattle whenever the train zooms by.
4. WALL SOCKETS
Don’t overlook this tiny detail. It may seem insignificant now, but you’ll need to really assess the location of the wall sockets.
If you’re a typical Singaporean, then you’re constantly on your phone or laptop. And a "crisis" for you can be equivalent to the depleting battery of your device.
Knowing where the plug points are will help in planning where you’ll place your sofa and other furniture. Every bedroom, kitchen, and living room should have a few.
Of course, you can change the location of your wall sockets or use extension cords. But those are messy, which affects the aesthetics and safety of your home. If there are too many wires tangled together, it can be a fire hazard.
Most importantly, ask for the minimum selling price. Don’t beat around the bush with this one.
It’s possible that the seller’s minimum is so high that further conversation about the house would be redundant. This is often the case with units that sit on the market for too long.
Units that have been on sale for more than three months may be priced too high, compared to surrounding properties of equal value.
Other buyers could have spotted something you didn’t, as well (see points one to four). There could be more reasons why it’s well-priced, in which case, just be more mindful.
This article first appeared on 99.co.