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Keep These Points in Mind When Buying a New or Resale Condo

December 28, 2020

It goes without saying that buying a resale condominium is going to be different from purchasing a new one, but there are buying tips that apply to both!

It isn’t hard to get why the condominium life is among the 5Cs that so many Singaporeans yearn to achieve – living in one of these premium properties means that you’ll get to enjoy extra privacy, dedicated estate security as well as door front access to a wide range of amenities, such as tennis courts, clubhouses and swimming pools, and more.

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But whatever your reasons are for wanting to live in a condominium, making the right purchase matters, and to help out with that we asked two PropertyGuru partner agents to share some key pointers that you should take note of, regardless of whether your eye is set on a new launch or a resale property.

1. The option fees for buying a new and resale condominiums are different

Whether you’re buying a new unit or a resale condominium (or an HDB flat, for the matter), you’ll definitely be required to sign an Option to Purchase (OTP), which is in a nutshell, a legal agreement that allows a buyer (you) to ‘reserve’ a property for a stipulated period of time in exchange for a fee that’s a percentage of the purchase price.

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But one thing to note is that the upfront amount that you’ll have to fork out differs between new and resale condo units. “Typically for resale condos OTPs, there’s a 1% minimum option fee that you’ll have to pay in cash,” says Justin Kwek from PropNex Realty. “That’s followed by a 4% downpayment afterwards, when you exercise your right to purchase.”

In contrast, for new condominium homes, the standard option fee amount charged by developers is usually 5% of the property’s sell price, so be sure to have sufficient cash on hand!

2. Don’t be swayed by the viewing experience

One buying tip that PropNex Realty agent Grace Cheong has to offer is to look beyond the showroom and/or home viewing experience.

“To enhance the viewing experience, new condominium showrooms tend to have all sorts of distractions, like soothing music and nice scents,” says Grace. “It’s okay to be wowed, but also don’t forget to ask about the important things like price, size, layout or even the distance to your child’s school if necessary.”

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Similarly, for resale condominiums, Grace believes that a less-than-stellar viewing session isn’t cause to dismiss a home outright.

“Compared to a showroom, a resale condo is almost definitely going to look messier, but just because it’s lived in doesn’t mean that it can’t be a good option. There could be redeeming factors. For example, it could be reasonably priced for your budget or have a layout you want,” says Grace.

3. Consider future maintenance fees

One of the biggest draws of residing in a condominium development is having access to all sorts of amenities, but that also means maintenance fees are part-and-parcel of living in one.

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“It’s important to think about maintenance fees, because they can add up,” says Justin. “For a two-bedroom condominium unit, it’s usually about $200 to mid-$300 or even $400 a month, depending on the age and size of the development. Also take note that this cost could be higher because of condo maintenance fees usually scale to unit sizes; the bigger your unit, the more you’ll have to pay.”

4. Be sure to take note of external property features

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With some renovation work, a condo unit’s internal features, such as its built-ins, finishings and even its layout, can be altered to suit your taste and/or needs. But what’s harder (or rather, nigh impossible) to change are its external features.

“Things like height, view, and wind or sun direction can’t be changed, and that’s why it’s so important to consider all of these factors beforehand, whether it is a new or resale condo that you’re buying,” says Grace.

5. When in doubt, always think back to your needs

If you can’t decide between getting a new condo or a resale unit, Grace suggests taking some time out to think about your personal and/or family needs.

“For instance, can you or your family wait long enough for a new development to be completed when its TOP date is 3 to 4 years away? Or do you urgently need a new place that’s in the radius of your child’s school? If it’s the latter, you’ll definitely have to buy a resale condo because you can’t possibly list an in-progress or future development as your address,” says Grace.

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On the other hand, if you’re looking for an investment property, Grace recommends purchasing a new condo instead. “With a new condo, there’s the first-mover advantage, which means your chances of making a profit is higher than if you were to purchase a resale condo,” she says.

“So, you see, it all goes back to thinking about your circumstances, because that’ll tell you what works best and what doesn’t. If you’re still unsure after that, speak to a property agent about your intentions, and he or she will be able to advise you.”

PropertyGuru is Singapore’s leading property portal that allows you to find, finance and own your dream home. Search for top properties for sale or rent in Singapore, or check out their guides for more property tips and insights!

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