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Common Regrets Among Buyers of New Launch Condos: What to Watch Out for Before Signing the Contract

Updated: Apr 6, 2023


Buying a property is one of the biggest decisions as you cannot simply return it if it doesn't fit your needs. Additionally, selling the property immediately is not an option due to the three-year seller's stamp duty (SSD) in Singapore. Even after waiting for the SSD period to pass, there are still additional costs to consider such as legal fees and agent fees.


We recently discussed the mistakes homebuyers should avoid when buying a new home and what you should know before buying a resale condo or a landed property, but purchasing a new launch property is an entirely different scenario. Unlike buying a resale home, you cannot physically inspect the actual unit and must rely on a show flat model or renders of the property.


If you are currently in the market for a new launch property, it is important to avoid making the following mistakes.


Insufficient Preparation

When it comes to popular new property launches, the atmosphere can be pretty chaotic. This is due to the actual process of selecting a unit, which can be a high-pressure and speedy affair if you are lucky enough to secure a good ballot number.


The rapidity and intensity of the process can be jarring for first-time buyers, and it can be challenging to even call it a proper selection process, as experienced buyers can attest. That is why if your agent has not properly prepared you for the short amount of time you have to make a decision, you may end up feeling rushed and make an undesirable choice.


It is crucial for prospective buyers to be aware that, during the new launch sales process, the Option to Purchase (OTP) is a legally binding agreement. To obtain the OTP, you must provide 5% of the purchase price of the property upfront. If you choose not to exercise the OTP within the given timeframe, you will forfeit 25% of the booking fee (1.25% of the purchase price).


Overlooked the Floor Plan

Thorough research is imperative because if you are visiting alone and do not have a knowledgeable agent to accompany you, some important details might be missed. For example, upon seeing that the bathrooms in the show flat had windows, one may have assumed that all the units would have them as well, and thus neglect to scrutinize the floor plan. However, you should not take for granted that the bathrooms in all units have a window for ventilation because this will not always be the case. Pay greater attention to such details and go over the floor plan of the unit you are interested in.


Opting for A Lower Floor Due to the Lower Cost

One of the most common regrets is not investing more in a higher floor unit. Depending on how developers priced the units, it is usually better to purchase a higher floor. Having a better view can make your days much more pleasant.


It is worth mentioning that it is not only necessary to consider existing buildings to predict potential view obstructions, but it is equally important to examine the URA Masterplan to anticipate what may emerge in the future. It is a dreadful sensation to pay extra for the view and then discover a few years later that it has become obstructed. If you plan to stay for the long haul, it may be wise to pay more for something that you could enjoy daily.


Selecting A Road-Facing Unit

Buyers often overlook the impact of traffic noise. Unless you have experienced it before, it can be challenging to fully comprehend how bothersome it can be. If you are accustomed to a more tranquil environment, you may not have a good sense of your own noise tolerance or how significantly it can affect you. When purchasing a new launch property, it's difficult to fully gauge the noise level of the location compared to a resale property.


Take this situation for example: the buyers were aware that the unit they chose was located beside the main road, but the price difference was too significant to ignore. Despite visiting the location a few times to assess the noise levels, they believed that it would not be as bad on a higher floor. However, they couldn't accurately comprehend how noisy it could be. The main issue was the constant noise, which persisted throughout the day and night, making it a daily disturbance.


Having adequate measures against road noise is important for units facing a busy road. In some newer launches, developers offer certain features such as better window soundproofing or acoustic ceilings for the balcony to address this issue.


Being Influenced by the Show Flat

Developers invest in show flats for a reason. These staged environments are designed to showcase the property in the best possible light, with carefully curated scents, lighting, and positioning of furniture to create an appealing image. Doors are removed in favour of a bigger, open area and mirrors are placed strategically to magnify space.


In addition to that, you should scan through the list of materials used and appliances included in the unit. Many interior design treatments used in the showflat don't come in the actual unit, such as wallpaper, TV feature wall, some carpentry, and so on. However, unless a buyer intends to replicate the show flat exactly, disappointment may set in upon moving in.


First-time buyers in particular have been known to experience this feeling when opening the doors to their new home. The reality may differ vastly from what was presented in the show flat, with spaces feeling smaller or less practical once viewed in person. For instance, a cozy study nook that appeared inviting in the show flat may turn out to be an impractical choice that disrupts the walkway.


It would be beneficial to visit a comparable-sized unit in the resale market to accurately assess if the dimensions and area are suitable for your needs.


Conclusion

In conclusion, buying a new launch property can be a high-pressure and speedy affair, and listed above are mistakes that buyers should avoid. It is crucial for prospective buyers to conduct thorough research and pay attention to important details such as the floor plan and noise levels. By avoiding these common mistakes, buyers can make informed decisions and ensure that their new home meets their needs and expectations.


Don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you have more questions!

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