There’s more to buying your first property than meets the eye, or in this case, the price tag shown on a property listing.
Experienced homeowners will know that buying a property is not as simple as signing on the dotted lines and putting down a deposit. There are so many steps involved before you finally get the keys to your property, and many aren’t aware of them until the process actually begins. Even after you get the keys to your home, there may be things that made you wish you knew before you purchased it.
If you haven’t bought your first property yet, don’t be scared off. We asked several experienced homeowners who have been there and done that (with a few regrets) to tell us what they wish they knew before they bought their first property. From allocating extra budget to staking out the neighbourhood, here are some things you can keep in mind when you’re finally ready to purchase your first property.
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The extra charges
“I wish I knew that there were so many hidden costs beyond the property purchase such as legal fees, duties, taxes, and more. I felt the pinch of even buying a mop after everything!” — Katherine G.
“I wish I knew about extra charges like sinking funds, fire insurance, monthly maintenance, and to expect some defects in the property.” — Diandra
“Definitely all the hidden costs before buying a property. It’s not just the amount they promoted.” — E.L.
“Always allocate more budget than expected for renovations.” — Will W.
“That the price of the house is actually double or triple the amount after interest.” — Adeline
“I wish I knew that the stamp duty was based on the market valuation of the house and not the price you purchased it for.” — Summer L.
Knowing the different property types
“The land office is a big pain, and I wish I did more research on the difference in taxation for residential versus a commercial title.” — Kirat K.
“List out all the hidden costs and make it clear that different types of development will be charged differently in terms of utilities, management fee, and legal fee. These will be different with a residence versus a serviced suite.” — P.S.
Checking out the developer and the neighbourhood
“Check the reputation of the developers and if possible, join the respective community groups to see what are the common grouses.” — Kelvin T.
“Stake out the area and see what the access to and from it is like at different times of the day or week.” — Jason T.
“Check the workmanship and quality of the property.” — T.L.
“If the property is under a strata management, then it would be good to take a look at the financial accounts of the management if you can obtain them. This will tell you a lot about the upkeep, such as the tenants not defaulting, opex/capex, fund reserves, and so on.” — Colin
“Get your own lawyer to vet the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA). Don’t use the seller’s lawyer just to save costs, because they don’t represent you.” — Jonathan D.
“Take my time with options. What I preferred then is vastly different than now.” — Hanie H.
Older property research
“I bought a secondhand landed property, and I wish I knew to check the roofing of the house in every weather you can, or get a professional to evaluate it. You won’t know which areas might have leaks during a storm, which can be troublesome especially after you’ve gotten your new built-in cabinets installed.” — XW Chuah
“Keep in mind that there may be refurbishments, especially if it’s an older house. Piping and electric wiring may need replacing, or it will end up being a headache.” — Lawrence
“Older properties definitely have more things to look out for. If you have your heart set on the place, be prepared to fork out extra money for major refurbishments, like I did with the main piping system of my thirdhand house.” — P.N.
Sound condo advice
“I’ve learned a lot about buying condos. First, don’t get units on the lower floors as you’ll suffer from mosquitos, stagnant air, and lots of noise from traffic on the ground. Don’t get the topmost floor unit either, because it’s hot and prone to leaks from the roof. Try to get a corner unit for better airflow, or get a unit that has crosswinds. Don’t just look at the unit, but also the attached car park and make sure it’s convenient as you’ll be walking to and fro daily. Try not to buy condos that face a highway, because of the traffic noise. Consider changing out the developer-supplied air conditioning unit and water heaters to something more energy-efficient as it will likely save you more money in the long run. Finally, don’t get units that are facing the common facilities unless you like hearing kids screaming and BBQ gatherings.” — Warren C.
Of course, doing your due diligence before purchasing a property is always a given. Our ‘Guides to Buying Property’ section is a great resource centre to answer any burning questions you have, from knowing your rights as a homebuyer of strata buildings to the difference between freehold and leasehold, as well as whether or not you can convert from a commercial title to a residential title. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you will be prepared when purchasing your first property.
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of iProperty.com.my.
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