6 important questions to ask when buying a house

Going house-hunting? Asking the right questions will help you narrow down your choices. Here are six important questions you need the answer too.

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1. Why is the current owner selling?

Knowing why may help you get a better bargain. If the previous owner is selling because he is getting another property, it could mean that they are more time-pressed. They might be willing to take a small price cut just to close the deal early.

It can also help you avoid a sticky situation. For example, the owner might be selling because he is in desperate need of money to pay off debts from the bank or loan sharks. If it is the latter, you might find yourself being harassed. Another possible reason for sale is the deteriorating housing condition - which you might have to spend to fix.

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2. Who are your potential neighbours?

Your living experience doesn't just depend on you alone. Your neighbours can make a huge difference to your quality of life. Nice neighbours can make you feel welcome to the community with their warm smiles and greetings. Sometimes, you might even find yourself having nice neighbours who are as close to you as your family members.

On the flipside, imagine having neighbours who are harassed by loan sharks or inconsiderate neighbours who play mahjong throughout the night.

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3. How much will you spend on interior design?

When potential homebuyers budget for their new homes, they often forget to factor in the cost of interior design. The cost for interior design can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 depending on the size and condition of the home as well as the needs of the homeowner. Don't let this slip your mind and only realise the problem when you end up without much savings after paying for your property down payment.

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4. Which direction is your home facing?

One of the key things to know when buying a property is the direction your property is facing, as it can determine the average temperature within your home. The warmer your home, the more money needs to be spent on air-conditioning. Sometimes, a home doesn't get that much sun at all; if you prefer to air-dry your clothes indoors, this could affect your laundry.

In Singapore, the afternoon sun generally shines in the west direction. From March to September, the afternoon sun is in the north-west direction. From September to March, the afternoon sun is in the south-west direction. This means that north-west and south-west facing units will be much hotter in one half of the year.

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5. Have you done a review of your home's Feng Shui?

Getting a Feng Shui review of your home is one of those things that you would rather be cautious about than to be ignorant and dismiss it as superstition. After all, every homeowner wants to stay in a happy and harmonious home. Ensure your Feng Shui shifu has good reviews about the home. At the very least, your shifu shouldn't be shaking his head when he goes into the home.

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6. What are the developmental plans in the area?

Development plans involving a new train line, new mall or even a new shopping mall can affect the value of the property in the medium to long-term. If you are buying the property for investment purposes, then these developmental plans will be music to your ears.

However, what happens if you are looking to stay in it or to rent it out? Development plans in the area can make living in the area undesirable in the near term, thanks to construction work around the area. If you are looking to stay in the property, you will need to deal with the inconvenience. If you are looking to rent it out, you need to consider that developments will result in less appeal for tenants in the short term.

This article was first published in BankBazaar.sg.