Buying a home is usually an exciting adventure for newly-weds but more often than not, the couple will make very myopic decisions, which will haunt them for the next 3 to 5 years, when reality sets in. Here are 6 pointers which couples should take note of when deciding on their next purchase.
Proximity to MRT and key amenities
Do not underestimate the importance of having an MRT station near your home – preferably within walkable distance from your home. Locations further from the MRT station may require a feeder bus ride, which could add 15 to 20 minutes (one-way) to your daily commute. It may not seem excessive, but that extra time can go some way if you need to ferry your children to school or if you simply just want to reach home faster to relax.
Furthermore, your property will certainly be more appealing to resale buyers, often fetching a premium if you are located within a 5 to 8 minutes’ walk to an MRT station compared to those which are not. According to the Land Transport Masterplan, 80% of homes will be within a 10-minute walk to an MRT station. Hence, units which are not, may be greatly affected by this development in transportation infrastructure.
Buyers also should not underestimate the importance of having nearby amenities such as a mall, supermarkets and eateries, which not only value-add to convenience but also enhances the quality of life.
Apartment size and family planning
Be it planned or unplanned, family nucleus and needs changes can be overlooked at the time of purchase. A cosy 3-room flat at a fantastic location might not be suitable for a family of 4 with parents or a helper living together.
Proximity to good schools
As much as we love our kids, in the heat of the moment, parents may forget to plan ahead for the child and with the recent revisions to the Primary school ballot phases, proximity to your desired school now takes even more priority.
To qualify for the close proximity phase, the registered address must be within 1KM at the time of ballot and 30 months after, in totality 36 months.
We do personally know some friends who realized this fact late and have chosen to rent a place near the school to qualify.
Orientation and facing of the unit
The facing of the unit is another important aspect which should not be overlooked by home buyers – not just for securing a good view but for a practical reason, namely the unit’s orientation to the sun. As a rule of thumb, units with North-South facing are the best, while units with East-West facing are less ideal as they would bear the full brunt of the late afternoon sun. However, do note that this is just a guideline as even for North-South facing units, if your unit is blocked by neighbouring blocks, your unit may not enjoy any cross-ventilation.
High-floors are generally preferred over lower floors, but if your unit is facing a major road or expressway, noise travels upwards, negating any value from the premiums paid for the higher floor.
Lease tenure and remaining lease balance
A walk-up apartment in a quaint neighborhood with hipster-ish cafes in Joo Chiat will appeal to the newly-weds. However, assuming it’s a 99-leasehold development with 60-70 years of lease remaining and with such a niche target audience, exiting in the future due to personal circumstances will prove a challenge as the next buyer’s financing will be affected due to the shorter lease tenure.
Future transformation plans for the area
Lastly buyers should also take note of any transformative efforts and initiatives to rejuvenate or gentrify the area, such as a new MRT station or a new commercial centre or mall. Typically, a new transport infrastructure or commercial development in the area could help to lift your property’s growth potential in the years to come. This isn’t to say that you should specifically look out for homes in areas which are slated for redevelopment, since gentrification is a long process and owners must be prepared for dis-amenity such as construction noise and other such inconveniences related with building and construction activities.
The Singaporean dream is always to own a little space to call our own and as a fellow Singaporeans who have gone through the same rite of passage, our main lesson learnt is that priorities always change and it is imperative to ensure our home is an asset, not a liability as priorities and family requirements are ever changing.
Our advise to young couples is to thoroughly think through your property purchase as it will determine your options in the following years. Reach out if you may still have some doubts and we will ever be so happy to assist