As the resale market prices start to lower, resale might be a better choice for you than BTO. With recent trend of buying a resale flat at ZERO COV (Cash Over Valuation), it also means you do not need to worry about paying cash upfront.
Location, location, location! Increasingly, new BTO projects are at far-flung places such as Punggol end (I mean units that are not even near to Punggol MRT), Sembawang (it takes years for the new MRT station to be ready) or Choa Chu Kang etc. If you have a tight timeline to follow, the ever-popular mature estates such as Ang Mo Kio and new town Bidadari provides you with no certainty of securing a unit. As for resale, you have the entire control over the flat you will purchasing.
If you are considering to get a resale flat, these 5 points will be helpful to you!
1. Make full use of HDB’s website
HDB’s website provides a wealth of information for prospective buyers and sellers.
Check out the past resale sales records of the area you’re interested in.
A tip for you is to select from the drop-down list of the ‘Street Name’ instead of inputting the ‘HDB Town’. This will allow you to zoom in directly on past resale transactions of the area you’re considering 🙂
By comparing past sale transactions of the surrounding blocks and cost variation due to the different ranges of floors (e.g. 1st to 3rd floor), you’ll be able to better decide on the price you’ll offer for the prospective flat you’ll like to buy!
HDB also organises regular Resale seminars (in all languages) at just $25/pax to educate prospective buyers and sellers about the latest changes in housing policies that may affect you. You will have a clearer idea of the grants that you are eligible for (e.g. Housing Grant and Proximity Grant) and the best part is that you get to clarify your burning questions with the subject matter experts on the spot. It will be a good starting point if you do not intend to engage an agent.
2. Find out your prospective house’s Home Improvement Programme (HIP) status
HIP typically applies for flats that are above 25 years of age. The programme covers changing of main door and gate, revamp of toilets, change of house rubbish chute (yes, in those times we have the chute in the house!). You will be able to see if the bill has been paid up. Else, the cost will be borne by you when you take over the ownership.
3. Consider the conditions of your prospective unit
- What is the state of electrical wiring in the house?
Old houses (e.g. before 1990s), support lower electrical loading. The electrical wiring to the power points may have degraded. The cost to overhaul the electrical wiring may be tremendous.
- What is the floor condition like?
As you are likely to change the floor tiles, overlay may be a more cost-effective approach. However, floor that has been overlaid cannot be done again. That only leaves the option of hacking off the old tiles which costs a lot.
- What is the ceiling condition like?
Look out for seeping/ leaking as it could mean the arising of waterproofing problem on the upper level. It will mean extra cost to fix the ceiling on top of your reno cost! Another issue is spalling concrete causing the ceiling to crack and bulge, which happens for really old buildings.
- Are there many inbuilt furniture in the house?
The lesser the number of built-in cabinets and false ceiling, the lesser you need to demolish them. Hacking can cost more than $1000.
These questions will be useful for the estimation of your renovation cost, especially if you are on a budget.
4. Get to know your prospective neighbours and surroundings
The first thing to look out for is whether it is a loanshark unit. We have heard of loansharks harassing the new flat owners even though the borrowers have left the house. A nightmare for new owners after moving into their dream home. Before committing, one should look out for telltale signs, e.g. fresh paint on the main door and surrounding walls (one floor above and below), stains (or wiped stains) on the main gate railing which are harder to notice.
Talk to the neighbours and do checks at different times of the day to find out if you can get along with them. You might not wish to have noisy neighbours, barking dogs or neighbours occupying majority of the corridors with their plants/ clothes hanging.
5. Ask the seller as many as questions as you want
Be thick skinned. Know the reasons for selling. If you are bandang, you may be interested to know if any one has passed away in the house, if the house is sold because the sellers are filing for divorce etc. Remember, you have the right to find out everything before you commit on probably the most important transaction you make in your life.