For this chapter of Eugene Koh’s Property Guide, this is my guide on how to choose the best HDB resale flat for you.
To most Singaporeans, our first home would likely be an HDB flat due to its affordability, grants and subsidies given by the government for first-time buyers. HDB resale market has always been a viable option for home buyers’ who are looking for houses in mature estate compared to densely suburb area BTO units.
Here are some valuable tips I have acquired after having personally served many HDB resale buyers over the recent years. I feel it is important that you read this before diving into buying an HDB resale flat
- Prioritize your needs and wants
We all have a dream home in mind. However, rarely can we find an HDB flat that meets all our wants and needs perfectly. There are numerous factors which we all will consider when it comes to choosing our home and it is understandable that sometimes our emotions get in our way of making a rational decision. I had clients’ who experienced buyer’s remorse.
The following is my take on the key aspects when it comes to decision making. Think of it as a method of comparison once you have shortlisted to 2-3 viable options.
Key factors to consider
- Lease remaining
Here’s a real example of my ex-clients:
Beth and Jerry are newlyweds and they decided not to wait for BTO (Build-to-order) flat. Beth works as a school teacher at Teck Ghee Primary School and Jerry works in CBD. They both wanted a unit that is close to MRT, middle to high floor and corner unit They viewed several units in Ang Mo Kio and shortlisted to 2 units.
When they first stepped into House B, Jerry noticed that Beth was very pleased with the condition of the unit. Beth was very attracted to the kitchen décor and its built-in appliances. Beth told Jerry they would save a lot from renovations and the unit was very spacious.
However, House A was located much closer to amenities and the MRT which means they do not need to travel as much when commuting to work and they both agreed on location as it was their main priority from the start.
Even though it was very difficult for Beth to walk away from House B, she decided to stick to their original plan and not let her emotions to get in the way from making a rational decision.
Cut to 3 years later, as property market showed signs of recovery, Beth and Jerry are happy owners of House A which is valued at $520,000.
- Use a Home Report
Home reports are accurate indications of the property’s valuation based on recent past transactions. After zooming in to a unit, do a home report on the HDB flat you want to buy to know what the indicative valuation is.
X-Value from Streetsine(SRX) or Fair Value from Edgeprop.sg offers free indicative valuation*. All you need is your home address, size and model and you are good to go.
*Do note that these valuations are not usable for loan financing purposes.
Indicative valuations are good benchmarks compared to actual HDB valuations. However, for a full home report is more comprehensive and will definitely assist you with decision making.
Home reports include valuable information such as:
- Price Trends
- Price and rental comparison
- Past Sales Transactions (exact unit)
- Amenities Report
- Min-Max Price line
It is important to know how much the indicative valuation is before you make a decision to purchase the house.
Talk to a property agent who will be able to provide you with home reports and shed some light on this information handed to you.
- Consideration of house condition
At the beginning of the search for your dream home, you will most probably view multiple units which you will then do a comparison. A fundamental consideration is the current condition of the house, whether or not it requires heavy renovation or reinstatement.
I always advise my clients to look beyond aesthetics as nice carpentry work on fixtures is not worth much to valuation.
Here are the key things to look out for when considering the condition of a resale home:
The type of material used for flooring contributes a lot to the perceived value of the house and there are so many different types of flooring ranging from expensive natural marble, stone, ceramic and parquet to cheaper options such as laminate, homogenous tiles and vinyl.
Not sure what type of flooring is used? Ask the owner or his housing agent and you will be sure to find out.
Air-condition system & built-in appliances
This air-con you installed how long ago?
This question is typically asked by savvy buyers who know that the shelve life of an air-conditioning unit is 3-4 years. After 5 years, if the air-con is not regularly serviced. It poses as potential replacement or repair expenditure.
Inverter vs non-inverter?
Basically, the compressor of the inverter air-conditioners reduces its operating speed once the configured temperature is achieved. This differs from non-invertor air-conditioners, which have fixed speed compressors that only either run on full or minimum capacity.
What this translates to, is that in most cases Inverter air-cons are more energy saving thus also translate to monthly utility savings.
However, the Installation cost for an average to the higher-end model of inverter system 3 can cost you from $2700-$3500 whereas for non-inverter system 3 will be from $2000-$2600.
The following table is a chart of common built-in appliances typically found in resale flats*:
*Prices stated is based on estimation during the time this article was written and subject to fluctuation
And there you go, 3 simple tips to use to find the best HDB resale apartment.
Feel free to contact us if you need a home report done, it is absolutely free of charge.
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