In this quick guide, we are taking the perspective of those purchasing a private landed property, with some 'first-steps' tips to ease you into the exciting journey of house-hunting.
If you are purchasing from a property developer, do check out the Home Buyers' Guide from URA.
Landed properties can fall under the following:
· Terrace houses
· Detached houses, including good class bungalows,
· Semi-detached houses, and
· Strata-landed houses or cluster housing which is a hybrid of landed and non-landed property.
Present and Future Infrastructural Planning
Singapore is constantly growing and evolving its infrastructure with new MRT lines, schools and hubs to improve connectivity between communities, and these are all potential uplifting effect on land and home values.
With a lack of a strong supply of landed homes, prices of landed homes are trending up more than prices of non-landed homes during an upswing in prices. However, with the latest cooling measures, the cost of home acquisition is now higher. URA makes upcoming projects and recent private property data very transparent, so couples can be prepared for the negotiations ahead.
The First Viewings
With all the eligibility and finances checked, it is time to start viewing some shortlisted properties. While it is quite easy to get distracted by the interiors of a house and the big driveway when viewing the property with a property agent, there are several things to pay attention to that will affect your well-being in your future home. To save yourself some time and cost from otherwise foreseeable issues, the following must be evaluated:
1. Orientation and Natural Day-lighting
Environmental variables should play an important role in your home selection. Especially in Singapore's tropical climate, the orientation of a home will pre-determine the comfort level and property value of your new home. A well-lit, naturally ventilated home will also save on energy consumption. Check for prevailing wind conditions and schedule viewings at different times of the days to get a realistic understanding of your selected site.
2. Envelop Control and Allowable Building Levels
Planning for a new erection or reconstruction for the landed property you have set eyes on? URA has a specified a set of development guidelines on maximum allowable building heights in an area. The revised Envelop Control guideline released in 2015, has also relaxed controls over building massing, to encourage a more creative and flexible design forms for your home.
However landed houses still continue to be subject to the two-storey or three-storey height control applicable to each landed housing area to maintain its character.
3. Cracks in the house
On the walls, in the ground and by the windows. If there are cracks showing, it needs to technically-assessed. Even hairline cracks could point to a bigger issues than meets the eye. Other construction works nearby may cause the property to be susceptible to movement, depending on the structural foundation on which it is built.
4. Soil Condition
Has the neighbours an extra 1-2 floors? It helps to understand the soil condition and type of foundation (e.g. piling or footing) was used. Homes in the Eastern parts of Singapore, which is made up of soft clayey soil, will require more rigid foundation.
You may simply ask the neighbours on the build of their house, but it is good practice to engage a soil investigation company to carry out a survey to determine the foundation of your future home.
4. Roof, Gutters, Critters
A leaky roof will wreak all kind of watery damage to your home. Catch indications of leaky roof such as mouldy, sagging ceiling; or schedule an inspection after a heavy rain. Regularly clogged gutters also indicate inherent defect and issues during the monsoon season. Termite infestation could also costly latent issues to note especially when buying old property. Always factor in a budget for professional inspection and repair costs, even if you are eyeing a property with 'move-in' condition.
6. Illegal Modifications
Previous owners may have carried out modification works to the property, without obtaining necessary approvals from building authorities. It is important to get a complete picture of approved works and recent alterations (eg. roof/ canopy extention). The liability will be transferred to the new owner upon completion of purchase, therefore one must be ready to undertake the responsibility if the building authorities ever reach out to you.
This is by no means a complete list and some areas will need to be explored more in detail depending on the property. Before going on the property viewing journey, have a no obligation chat with us, so you choose a home that is fit for your family's’ purpose with no hidden defects which may cost you later.
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