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Good to buy homes with the 'wow' factorAs properties are expensive investments, be sure you look fo

Good to buy homes with the 'wow' factor

As properties are expensive investments, be sure you look for one that has many good points

Instead of just looking at the address, property buyers should also consider factors that are just as if not more important, such as whether the unit is near an MRT station, malls, good schools and parks.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Invest Editor

ST 27 Dec 2020

When someone asks for property buying tips, I always offer this bit of advice - buy one that will have no trouble finding buyers easily next time.

This seems like a contradiction, especially if you are buying a home with the aim of living there for the long term. So why the need to consider the marketability of the home during your house hunting?

The reality is that for many Singaporeans, their first home is unlikely to be their last and so it is always better to buy with the foresight that you will need to sell it in the future.

This advice is not as straight forward as it seems because it comes with many conditions.

When you are looking for a home that would also be desired by other buyers, it means you are setting your sight on a good-quality property with many attractive features.

After all, if your budget permits, why settle for a mediocre place when you can choose the best unit in the whole development?

And since you are looking for the best, why not choose one that will make it stand out in the entire neighbourhood.

Lest you think this requirement unfairly favours the rich, know that not all properties are built equally and neither will all buyers come with the same budgets and expectations.

What this means is that as far as possible, try to look for the best unit in the same property class.

The biggest units such as penthouses, for example, are likely to draw fewer potential buyers than smaller ones simply because the price tags will deter those with smaller budgets. So if you can afford such a home, make sure you choose the best unit that your money can get.

The "best in class" benchmark should also apply if you are looking for smaller and more affordable units, such as studios or one- two-bedroom apartments.

I know some property investors are less choosy when making their purchases as they will not be living in such homes anyway.

But guess what? If you are buying for investment, you need to put in even more effort because a less-appealing home means it will be harder for you to find tenants and buyers at your asking price.

Of course, this is easier said than done because people's preferences vary. But here are some common benchmarks you can use as a guide when looking for a new home.

A home with the 'wow' factor

You know you are looking at one such home when you could not help but go "wow" the moment you step inside. Such units usually sit on higher floors and have an unblocked and expansive view of the skyline - be it the city or sea.

Or it could be one with generous living space and an outstanding interior design.

As first impressions count, such homes usually will not stay long in the market if the selling prices are not exorbitant.

But there is a big catch - if you are choosing a new unit from the developer's plan, you will not know for sure how the view looks like until the building is up.

You can try to visualise but nothing beats seeing it for yourself.

This is why folks who are particular about an apartment's views and perspectives usually look at completed units only. They know that some developers usually keep the premium units at slightly higher reserved prices and so they are prepared to wait before they buy their dream home.

The D'Leedon at Farrer Road. PHOTO: ST FILE

It goes without saying that location is one of the key factors that determine the value of a property. Traditionally, those in the main city areas usually command far higher premiums than those in suburban districts.

But thanks to Singapore's well-conceived MRT network as well as the development of neighbourhood towns, homes that are near suburban amenities can also command higher prices.

So instead of just looking at the address, buyers should also consider factors that are just as if not more important, such as whether the unit is near an MRT station, malls, good schools and parks.

Parks have become a desirable amenity now because their car parks were closed during the circuit breaker. This has made many people realise the convenience and benefit of living near a park, especially if you like to jog and take long walk.

Height and facing

People who have been living in units on higher floors will tell you that they are less worried during the dengue season because mosquitoes usually are not common on upper levels, unless the occasional one hitches a ride in the lift.

These higher floors have better views as well, which is why such apartments usually fetch better prices.

But the aspect counts too, such as whether the unit faces the pool or open space.

Even if the scenery is not breathtaking, you would do better by not choosing units that face undesirable views such as unsightly buildings, busy highways or industrial estates. Even if you do not mind living with such views, the aspect is likely to deter your future buyers.

Design and features

Developers of good homes know how to maximise space for the comfort of the occupants as well as use designs that make most parts of the unit brighter.

But once in a while, we will come across homes that do not have occupant-friendly designs.

They might have unusually large open balconies but tiny living space and oddly-shaped rooms.

Imagine living in a two-bedroom apartment that has an L-shaped open balcony that encircles the home but one of its bedrooms is so small that it hardly fits a work desk, let alone a bed.

While such a design may appeal to a handful of people who enjoy spending time outdoors, it will certainly turn off even small families who will need an extra room for their kids.

And there are developers that do not have high regard for the "masters of the house", otherwise, how to explain why the main bedroom is next to the front door or utility areas for air-con condensers.

Superstition and background

Marina One Residences at Marina Way, an integrated development comprises over 1,000 units, a shopping mall and various restaurants. PHOTO: MARINA ONE SINGAPORE ASIA

In a multi-cultural society, you cannot ignore the fact that some buyers are very particular about things that even science cannot explain.

For instance, some people are turned off by the number four (sounds like "die" in Chinese) and the number 13. This is why some developers avoid using such numbers for their homes. Then there is the study of geomancy, which is even harder to fathom.

Before you commit to a purchase, you should do an online search for news related to your intended buy to see if the property had been the scene of a crime or an unnatural death. But such checks are not fool-proof as not all cases are reported.

If you want peace of mind, you should ask the seller or the agent this question point-blank. While they have no legal duty to make a full disclosure, giving a false reply can give you grounds to sue them for misleading you.

As a property purchase is going to cost you a lot of money, be diligent about doing your homework so as to get the best deal - and best home too.


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