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Thursday, October 9, 2008

10 Top Things To Check For When Buying An Apartment/Condominium

As I just moved into my own apartment, I'd like to share some of my experience as well as the mistakes I made when I bought it. Hope it would be beneficial to others.

One of the main reason people move in to apartments these days is security. So make sure that sufficient security officers are at duty. You can even try to enter the apartment and see how difficult/easy it is to gain access. From there, you can judge on your own the efficiency of the security in that apartment before you decide to purchase your unit.

Piping system
Living in an apartment is a lot more different from living in a house. In a house all repairs have to be taken care by the house owners themselves. However, in an apartment you are responsible for your neighbours too. For example, if your neighbour right below your apartment unit complains of leakage from his ceiling, you have to take action to rectify this problem. If not, he can even sue you! But be careful, as you won't be able to detect leakage in your own walls if the property is painted with a new coat of paint.(as I am facing now!)

Ensure that the property is close to whatever facilities you require such as shops, school, workplace, mother-in-law's house, etc. mmm...maybe you want it to be really far for this last point..:)

If you own a car, make sure you get an allocated parking space. If you need additional parking space,(maybe your spouse owns a car too) check for the charges and whether they are covered or not.If you expect frequent visitors, then you have to consider visitor's parking as well. Some apartments are really facing problems in this area and resort to double parking (as I've faced before especially in the heart of the city) and this makes the area really congested and not an ideal place to live in.

Public transport
Some people depend on public transport very much. For those in that category, make sure you can get your preferred transport easily. And if you have to travel a bit to the nearest train station, consider the amount you have to fork out for that near distance as well as time taken to get there. However, expect lots of noise and pollution in a place where there is good public transport system.

Occupancy rate
Please check with the management office about the occupancy rate. An ideal situation would be occupancy rate of between 80%-90%. Higher occupancy rate means that the value of the property has a fair chance of appreciating in the future. You will also find it easy to rent out your unit in case you decide to do so in the future. (I made a mistake here too.)

Know your neighbours and love them! Make sure your neighbours are the exact kinds that you would enjoy or comfortable living with.If you are in a multi-racial society, ensure it has a well accepted ratio of people from all communities. If you have kids, ensure that it will be a healthy environment for them to grow up.

It is very important to consider the position of the apartment (whether it faces north, south, east, west) as well as the arrangement of the living room, toilet, kitchen and hall in it. As more have started believing and practicing the ancient geomantic sciences such as Feng Shui and Vaastu Shastra, you will find it easier to sell later on if you have adhered to these principals as well.

Lift/Escalator services
Ensure that there are sufficient number of lifts and they are serviced periodically.In case you are looking at an apartment without these services, try to get a unit on a 1st or 2nd floor. Ground floor would be too noisy and climbing up 5 floors daily wouldn't be a comfortable experience!

Age of building
By knowing the age of the property you are going to invest in, you can roughly estimate the repairs that you have to do such as wiring, plumbing, etc. Apart from that, if the property is a lease-hold, you know how long you can continue living in the same place and after some time, if you plan to mortgage the house to take loans, you have a rough idea from now itself the ease/difficulty that you will face.

If you have any experiences you would like to share, I would love to hear from you.

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