Condominium living is much different than both owning a private house versus being in a flat. The layout and size varies, and you’re also part of a larger community. One important note is also that ex-pats can more easily own a condo than if they’re seeking a house, which is landed property and heavily restricted, if not outright barred to individuals who aren’t permanent residents. All in all, condo living offers some major perks, but in order to decide whether it’s right for you, consider some of the following pointers.
- Why A Condo?
There are a lot of different types of properties to choose from when you’re looking for a home, but some of the major differences that could make or break a decision is the amenities they come with. For example, if you search for condominium on PropertyGuru Singapore, you’ll find that these listings all come with extensive descriptions of what the community is like, amenities that are available, and the urban centers they’re located near. If you’re looking for a landed property with a house and a yard, then a condo probably isn’t the right choice for you. However, if you’re interested in community living with ample space, then a condo might be a great choice. Condos aren’t tiny either, and are suitable for families and people who need a bigger space. The main difference between a condo and a house isn’t the size, but simply how the dwelling is arranged. While having a yard on a landed property can also be enjoyable, particularly if you enjoy the outdoors, the beauty of condo living is that you’ll have access to carefully tended green spaces, with someone else responsible for the maintenance. You get the perks of the outdoors and pleasant amenities with none of the work involved. Condos can also be good purchase options for expats, since they’re non-landed properties.
2. When to Buy
When the Singaporean real estate market was skyrocketing out of control a few years ago, with astronomical prices and developers reaping the benefits, the government quelled the crisis by putting cooling measures into effect. However, those measures are starting to finally even out the market and stabilize. For example, The Business Times reports that the prices of non-landed properties in Singapore rose by 0.5 percent in April. While it’s safe to assume you won’t see prices jump an outrageous percentage, you should keep in mind when a good time for you to buy might be. If you’re going for a condo, which is a non-landed property, you’ll most likely have competition for the more desirable locations. Nonetheless, now is still a good time for the buyer. Supply is up and demand is down, all things considered, and developers want to sell their properties and not be stuck with excess stock they can’t unload. Sit down and draw up a budget, taking into account how much you can afford on a down payment, what kind of mortgage rates will be available to you, including whether you want a lock in period or not, and other costs associated with purchasing property. The beauty of a condo is also that you aren’t responsible for certain maintenance issues, whereas when you’re living in a house or other type of landed property, you get stuck with the bulk of any costs that might arise.
You may also find that older properties go for less, and this can actually be a boon. Many older condos have since had renovations done in the last few years, so look for a dwelling along these lines. You don’t need to purchase a brand new property in a condo community in order to feel like you’re living in one. Renovations, when done the right way, get the job done just as well.
3. Deciding What You Want in a Development
Condo living offers a lot of different amenities, but you should make a list of the ones that are most important. Global Indonesia Voices notes that since most condominium developments boast a variety of amenities, such as fitness centers, sports recreation facilities, clubhouses, and even security. This is a way to access services that you won’t find when renting or owning a private home.
However, perhaps the biggest factor that will impact price aren’t necessarily the internal amenities, but the location. There are particularly desirable neighborhoods and regions that will cost you more, even if the condo itself is basically the same set-up. Location usually plays a huge role in the decision-making process of where to purchase a home, especially since you’re making a major life investment. A few things to consider isn’t just whether the surrounding locale is desirable, but more importantly, how it relates to your lifestyle. For example, one of the most sought after conveniences of choosing the right area is a short commute to work. Depending on whether you drive, take public transportation, or even rideshare, this will make a huge difference. You may actually find yourself seeking out a condo in a less popular area, if only because it’s closer to your job. If you have a family, don’t forget to take schools and other types of entertainment into account that you’ll want access to during leisure time. This is one of many things to take into account when you’re trying to decide what your top priorities are.
4. Planning Your Space
Many people make the mistake of thinking a condo is closer to an apartment than a house, but this actually isn’t correct. Condos are designed to be like apartment living, but with ownership of a home that’s spacious and state of the art. Many condos are simple in their layout, and provide the perfect opportunity to redecorate and outfit the space exactly as you wish, unlike a house that might still have outdated design or floorplans.
Home & Decor highlights a couple who purchased an older condo since it boasted more ample space and created a welcoming family-oriented space by using colorful accents and focusing on the large, ten central dining table that seats ten. This is a good example of how the convenience of condo living can also be combined with an eclectic, attractive home that’s large enough for everyone and suits each person’s needs. You’ll also need to be careful when you’re searching for a condo that you read the fine print as well as see the property in person. Obviously, you’ll be touring the homes you’re interested in buying, but make sure that you do a thorough check of the entire dwelling. Knowing the background of the home is very important.
5. Working with a Real Estate Agent
Chances are that you’ll need to work with a realtor or broker in your home search. The first time you’ll most likely encounter them if you’re starting the search yourself is the representative for the home in which you’re interested. Usually, when it comes to condos that are being sold by previous inhabitants, they’ve listed the home on the market with the services of a broker. Unlike a pre-launch property where you can purchase it directly from the developer via the bank, buying a pre-owned home is a different process. The other way you can approach this is to seek out a real estate beforehand that you trust to find you something that will meet your needs. Either way, just ensure that you get a recommendation. Another way to confirm that an agent is reputable is to ask what other properties he or she represents in the condominium, since many times, brokers or agents will be responsible for more than one unit within the building.
Condo living offers the best of both worlds if you’re looking for the ease of having someone else be responsible for maintenance, but also maintaining access to the outdoors and other amenities. It’s also a great example of urban, community living where you’ll have neighbors and usually located nearby to urban centers like shopping malls and schools, providing ample access to necessary services. If you don’t want the responsibility of a landed property, but you still want the space you’ll find in a house, then condo living is the perfect choice.
Photo credits [in order of appearance]: