So, you’ve got your property agent in Singapore, researched the best neighborhoods in Singapore, and shortlisted a number of properties to visit. Your agent has set up all your viewing appointments, and life feels pretty good right? Viewing property is such an important part of your home-hunting process and one that is often overlooked in your rush to find the perfect place.
Taking a bit of a time to make the most of your viewings can really help when it comes to picking the place you want to settle on, and can avoid any nasty surprises when you actually move in.
Check out the area first
If you’ve not done this yet, take a bit of time to walk around the area before moving on to looking at the condo. In just 10 minutes you can easily see what’s close by, including scoping out if there are any noisy building works in the vicinity. You can also check out where the nearest MRT station or bus stop is, as well as figuring out where you’re going to pop to for that emergency pint of milk or loaf of bread at the weekend!
At the condo
Make sure you get a look around the condo grounds. Check out the pool, find out how busy the gym is, see if there are any other families playing outside. All these things will help you get a feel for the place, and see if the community at the condo is a good fit for you. Ask about other entrances to the condo – this might mean you could gain a short-cut to the MRT or local shops – rather than always using the main entrance.
Inside the unit
Space and storage
Take the time to check out what space belongs to you, and whether it is usable or not. Square footage measurements in Singapore include EVERYTHING, including spaces which aren’t always usable, like window seats. What storage is available and does it work for your possessions? This will also help give you a good idea of what furniture you might need to buy, and how you can lay out your rooms. Don’t be afraid to take a tape measure if you have existing furniture to move over – you need to know if your bed will fit into the master bedroom, or if you can get big items inside easily.
A surprising number of units in Singapore don’t come with things which are standard in other countries, like an oven. Some kitchens don’t have hot water – this is usually in some of the older units. So just make sure you have a good poke around the kitchen before signing on the dotted line. If you’re a keen cook, not having an oven could be a deal breaker! On the plus side, many of the newer apartments have everything built in, saving on worktop space.
If you have a garden or a balcony at the unit, take the time to go out and have a good look at it. Are you overlooked? Can you spot any construction from here? If there’s a garden, what upkeep is required? Do bear in mind that if your balcony has a lovely view, your landlord may ask more because of it. If a view isn’t that important to you, ask your agent if you can view units in the same condo with a different outlook, as this may go someway to enabling you to get a lower price.
Power and connectivity
It might sound like a small thing, but have a look where all the power points in a room are located. Having extension cables lying around can be a real pain! Do the power points fit in with your idea of the room layout? This also applies to TV aerials and internet points too. Internet points can be hidden in odd places like inside cupboards by the front door, which isn’t great for wifi connectivity! Speaking of internet, also see if your condo is optimised for fibre broadband, to ensure you can get the fastest speeds.
Form vs. function
So many of the condos in Singapore are beautiful, there is no doubt about that. But do think carefully about how the space will actually work for you once you move in. Some of the features which look really impressive, can end up being a bit annoying once you’ve lived with them for 3 months. We’re talking things like built in spaces for a TV for example, which only works if your TV is exactly the same size!
Take pictures (and notes)
If you’re looking around a view units in one day, make sure you take plenty of pictures, and notes as well. The apartments can all start to blend into one after a whole day of viewing, so the photos will help to remind you of what was in each place.
Improvements or alterations
Keep your eyes peeled for anything that isn’t as it should be. Does everything work properly? Is there anything which needs to be fixed or replaced before you’d consider taking the unit? If the unit is furnished, is there anything you need or would like to remove? Make notes and, if you’re interested in taking things forward, ask your agent to communicate your notes to the landlord, to see if they’ll carry out any repairs or upgrades before moving in.
After the viewings
Don’t be afraid to ask your agent to go back to the landlord on any points, if you need clarification or reassurance. If you want to go and see a place again, for a second look, or to show your spouse and/or family, that’s perfectly fine! When you’re happy to proceed, your agent will prepare a Letter of Intent and move things forward for you.