9 Simple Home Viewing Tips and Guides
If you’ve decided that the time has come to purchase a home, you’ve probably gone on PropertyGuru or 99.co and compiled a list of properties to view. You may have even found a home in a good location with the right square footage and a number of bedrooms. If the photos all look good, you’ll definitely want to see that home in person.
Although photos can reveal a lot, you really need to actually visit a home in order to imagine what it would be like to make it your home. Most people want to see the kitchen first, then comes the master bedroom, the bathrooms, and the living room. To ensure that you examine every home thoroughly, make what’s called a “buyer viewing checklist” ahead of time. This will help you take notice of the most important aspects of each home you visit and allow you to answer your most pressing home viewing questions:
Your Home Buyer Viewing Checklist
- Take your own photos, videos & notes
To avoid mixing up the various homes you visit, take your own photos and videos of each home and make the appropriate notes. These should be photos of the features you like as well as the ones you dislike. Discuss the pros and cons of each home with your property agent. When you look through the photos and your notes, later on, you may come up with more questions about the property.
- The Community & Neighbourhood
One of the most critical aspects of seeing a particular home in person is that it allows you to imagine what it would be like for your family to live in that community and neighborhood. Your buyer viewing checklist should include listening for any traffic noise, especially if the home is located near a busy roadway. Look for bus stops nearby and make sure the community and local neighborhood offer all the amenities that you and your family need.
- Your Potential Neighbours
When you buy a house, you’re stuck with your next door neighbors. It only makes sense to take a good look at the houses on each side of any home you’re considering. Look for large barking dogs and anything else that might cause a disturbance. Check for loan shark graffiti at the nearest staircase and along the corridor. Any sign of CCTV in the common area should also raise your concerns.
- Level of Privacy
If you’re looking at condominiums or HDB in the resale market, they have smaller units that tend to be close to one another with corridors or walkways in between. Take a good look to make sure that people could not peer into your unit from the corridors or walkways. Ask to see the floor plan before you decide. If the lift is just opposite the unit you’re considering, that might be a noise and privacy issue. See if you can determine whether the people residing in other units can look into your house as well.
- Check the Room Flow
One aspect that the photos posted online can’t show you is how the rooms flow into one another inside the home. Are the rooms spacious enough? Are they well laid out? Does your family tend to spend the most time in the living room, kitchen or bedroom? Whichever room it is, make sure that it is open, large enough, and inviting. If not, will family members be able to congregate or dine nearby? How each room opens up to the one adjacent is important, so make sure you can make the most of whatever space there is.
- Check for Western Sun
Afternoon sun from noontime to sunset is warmer than the sun shining in during the morning hours. Concrete will retain the heat from the afternoon sun, releasing it slowly during the evening hours. If your home faces West the interior will remain warmer well into the late night hours when the family is most likely home. While the sun tends to set towards the West, it can also set towards the Southwest during certain months. Generally speaking, the sun will set towards the Southwest from September to March and towards the Northwest from March to September.
- Layout, Shape & Size of Rooms
Most people would love to have a custom-built home that meets their needs. If you are planning on remodeling, you will want to accurately determine the cost to renovate. Take a look at the layout of the rooms as well as the shape and size of the property to determine whether there is enough space for renovation. If you want to enlarge the kitchen, one of your home viewing questions should be, “Is this a structural wall?”
- Air Flow & Natural Light
Before buying visit the house at different times of day to determine whether there is enough natural light coming in and if the air flow is good. Everyone loves sunlight coming in through the windows. If you can open the windows to a nice breeze it will beat the heat in Singapore while saving on utility bills.
- Examine the URA Master Plan
Do you remember what happened in Fernvale? People living there were shocked to see the columbarium under construction right in their midst. Review the URA Master Plan with your property agent so you will know ahead of time what’s planned for the area. The Master Plan is essentially the land use plan that directs development in Singapore in the upcoming 10 to 15 years. Every five years the Master Plan undergoes a review process. The idea is to incorporate details laid out in the Concept Plan so that the area is developed properly and according to plan.
Looking for a home to buy takes a lot of patience. Whether you like it or not, compromise is the name of the game. However, do not be surprised if you do come across the “perfect” home and fall madly in love at first sight. If and when this happens, you will have plenty of competition. Realistically speaking, you should prepare yourself for making multiple offers in order to get the home you want at the price you want.