Another life milestone to be achieve, buying a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat to settle down and build a family. But, before settling down, there are tonnes of information you will need to research and understand before it costs a bomb to you or missing a step during the transaction process. There are many factors that will affect your decision making to decide on the HDB flat whether it is a large HDB in Choa Chu Kang or new HDB in Sengkang. Here are five things to do before buying a HDB flat.
Your finance’s capability
Be sure to check your finances before applying for a HDB flat. You will need to be able to fork out cash for 10% downpayment of the property price, though there’s assistance from HDB’s grant or CPF to lighten on the downpayment. But, don’t forget the monthly instalments you will need to service, stamp duty fees, legal fees and other hidden costs. Do check up and ask around what kind of loans best suit your needs like the HDB loan or banks’ loan. Sum up your available cash whether it’s from CPF, bank accounts or piggy bank and make sure it is something you can afford. You wouldn’t want to be declare a bankruptcy having to found out your inability to finance your HDB flat after buying it.
That’s where you will need to tick the checklist of requirement to own a HDB flat. Regardless if you want to purchase BTO flat or resale HDB flat, you will still need to fulfil certain requirements from the HDB. Reason being government’s flats are made affordable for all Singaporeans to own a house. Hence, one of the criteria is the household income must be at a certain level of income ceiling. Household income ceiling varies based on the size of HDB flat or the estates maturity. For example, income ceiling to apply for 3-room HDB flat in Choa Chu Kang (non-mature estates) is from $6,000 to $12,000 depending on the project. Besides income ceiling, age and citizenship is crucial, you will have to be 35 years old and below and Singaporean or Permanent Resident (PR) to be able qualify for the purchase.
Renovated or original unit?
Well, before deciding on which unit to settle, during the house hunting, ensure the chosen unit is in good condition regardless the interior or the exterior. If you’re looking to save up some of your moolah, do consider a renovated unit. While you may save up renovation costs but do keep in mind that the seller could have marked up the property price which also inclusive of the renovation costs prior. At least you saved yourself a hassle for renovation process.
Meanwhile for buyer who has vision to build their dream house, please opt for original state of the HDB flat. Although renovation costs may not be an issue for you, but you just want to make your dreams come true by building your very own dream home. You can also save cost from hacking unwanted décor while getting interior designers to build your house with the latest trends and all. Lastly, do check if your unit has been upgraded works with the owner whether the flat has been due for the necessary upgrading.
Mature or non-mature estates
Depending on everyone’s preferences, some might prefer to stay in mature estates for established amenities and conveniences while some prefer non-mature estates for it’s lower density and serene surroundings. Mature estates like Woodlands, Tampines, Queenstown and others definitely have built HDB during the British colonial era. Today, these districts have become one of the well sought places for trendy cafes and malls, schools and other well-established amenities. As for non-mature estates like Choa Chu Kang, Sengkang, Punggol and other newly developed places are where we can see more younger ones settling there for its newer HDB flat types and new amenities developed by Singapore government. There are more new parks and newer transportations for residents in non-mature estates. But, when it comes to property prices, mature estates for now fetch higher prices compared to non-mature estates. This is because of it’s well established location and amenities that has build for convenience over the decades. Hence, the affordability could be an issue due to the high demand and limited supply in the mature estates. Nonetheless, it all depends on individual lifestyle and preference.
Ask around on the unit
If you are getting a resale HDB flat, be sure to ask around the unit, does not matter if it’s from owner’s neighbours, police records or your property agent. You wouldn’t want anything suay (misfortune) to happen! Check if the unit has been harassed by ah longs (loan shark) before or notice the door’s paint or the gate’s lock. If the door is newly painted compared to the interior walls, you will need to raise your question. Same goes to the lock, if the gate’s lock is newer than the door, you might want to ask the neighbours. Besides, do ask how long does it takes to walk to the nearest bus stops or MRT station. Check out the amenities nearby and the distance as well, you will need the supermarket and coffee shops nearby your unit. Check if there are any leaking issues, paying for plumber to fix leakage is the last thing you would want to pay for. Do give the owner a background check like why is the owner wanting to sell the house? Or is the owner going through some financial issues? All these questions you will need to know so you can sleep at peace living in the new unit.