Buying Your Ideal Condominium Unit

For first time buyers who are planning to purchase an ideal condominium unit, the vastness of options in the market provides a pleasant problem – trying to pick the unit that you want.

From layouts to views, level and location, this will serve as a brief checklist of items to look out for, during your next viewing. Or, if you are browsing through online listings.

1. Type of unit

Understanding jargons, specifically condominium jargons are fundamental to the selection process. Here are some terms that you may hear being tossed around in showrooms and on real estate blogs:

Studio Units

These are often recommended as an investment property due to their lower quantum. Or to younger couples who may wish to purchase a condominium with an intention to upgrade once the family grows. Partitions may be fitted to separate living spaces. This mainly consists of a kitchenette, workspace and bedroom fitted into a single space.

Bedroom Units

These are the conventional bedroom units which typically range from 1-5 bedrooms. They command a higher price than the studio apartment and typically house small families.

Loft

Moving into slightly luxurious options, lofts feature a higher ceiling which introduce more natural light into the space. Such units are more often seen in lower-density projects.

Penthouse

Penthouses are often considered the pinnacle of luxury within a condominium. It usually occupies the largest space on the top floor of a condominium block. They usually feature the indoor space comparable to some landed properties and have luxurious fittings.

Dual Key

Such units consist of two full living spaces within a single unit, which makes it an advantageous rental property for the price of one.

2. Where is the unit facing?

    A large concern for prospective homeowners across the world is the direction of which their unit is facing in relation to the sun. In fact, this factor plays such a huge role in the unit selection process. Especially amongst buyers as developers align units as desirably as possible within the limits of the plot orientation.

    In Singapore, North-South units are most desirable to avoid harsh glares in sunrise and sunset. Other effects include reduced cooling costs. Since the walls and floors of your apartment do not heat up as much as those exposed to direct sunlight.

    However, if you arrive at the showroom of a new launch and find that all the North-South facing units have been sold, fret not. The South-East facing units are an excellent option which can facilitate sunrise yoga in your living room, while hiding away from the harsh evening sun.

    If your dream unit just so happens to be west facing, rejoice that it may be priced lower than other similar units. Quick fixes such as automated shades can help to prevent the overheating of your apartment. Plus, you still get to enjoy the soft evening glows on less warm days of the year.

    3. How is the view?

    Typically, developers situate their most expensive units in front of premium views.

    Most developments offer an inward-facing pool view and an outward facing landscape view. If you are fortunate, this landscape view consists of the seaside or a lush nature.

    Savvy prospective condominium buyers would be wary of oversold outward views. With rapid real estate development in Singapore, these views could be blocked by new high-rise buildings within the area. Which may, effectively diminish the premium that you paid on your condominium.

    It is therefore wise to do your own due diligence and check the URA master plan to determine what the neighbourhood’s long-term plans are.

    Alternatively, you could opt for the pool view. One downside to consider would be the size of the compound and the pool usage. If the sound of children and activity in the evening irk you, then you may wish to reconsider that pool view. However, smaller developments may not have high pool usage, which provides for a serene view at all hours of the day.

    4. Which is your preferred floor and accessibility options?

    Although it is common to find a correlation between the ideal condominium unit’s floor number and its price, the experiences of living on different floors within a condominium block vary between 3 groups – lower and ground floors, middle floors and upper floors.

    The lower floors provide an accessibility to the envy of those upper floor dwellers. Ground floor residents have the added advantage of the accessibility similar to that of a landed property. Rush hour affects everyone the same in a condominium block. Especially with developments getting higher and higher, 4-5 flights of stairs down each morning is not a bad idea compared to waiting 10 minutes to travel through 20 floors.

    In some developments, ground floor units have the advantage of private enclosed spaces which serve as a patio area for social gatherings. The space provided is usually more ample than the balconies of the floors higher up, which make for fantastic private sun tanning or cocktail party spots.

    Middle floors do not vary that much between each other, so do consider if they are worth the premium. With that in mind, they do benefit from the added privacy that is not experienced on the ground floor, while capitalising on the sunlight and views on the slightly higher floors without being priced exorbitantly.

    Higher floors offer more privacy, removing the occupant from the bustle of the noise down at street level. This may vary from property to property, depending on the activity in your vicinity. Furthermore, if you are fortunate, you may be able to experience panoramic views which offer better ventilation in sunny Singapore.

    Penthouse units usually offer higher ceilings as a bonus, and these do contribute to the feeling of roominess and breathability within your unit. Nonetheless, even without a high ceiling, some smart lighting solutions and good interior design does serve to create a warm and inviting experience.

    5. What are the available amenities?

    If you have been searching for a ideal condominium unit by visiting showrooms for new launches, it should be no surprise that a large part of what makes show-units so stunning is the quality and finishes of the amenities within the unit.

    Appliances, shelving, tiling and water seals should all be inspected thoroughly for its reliability and quality. If you are not looking at a new launch, do examine the wear and tear on common surfaces, tile grouts and the ceilings for water leaks.

    Not all new launches will provide the same standard of amenities, such as stoves, ovens, and other appliances. So do factor that into your assessment of whether your ideal condominium unit is for you.

    6. What are the facilities?

    For those of you who have been on the prowl to purchase a new launch, it should come as no surprise that developers have been creating smaller units and compensating with more abundant shared facilities.

    Gyms, pools, tennis courts and function rooms are generally staples in larger developments. If you prioritise this, it may help to get a unit close to these facilities. Similarly, do consider the quality of these amenities.

    7. Is the location suitable for you?

    One advantage of purchasing a private condominium is how a young family can effectively be within a 1km radius to the primary school of their choice. However, estates with primary schools are typically denser. This also means the by-product of being so close to a school is the increased morning traffic jams. Not forgetting the gloriously roaring sound of recess.

    If kids are not a priority, you can consider the proximity to malls and public transportation. Once again, we recommend doing your research with the URA Master Plan to have a better understanding of future development within the vicinity.

    8. How is the layout?

    There are a number of ambitious residential developments in Singapore which feature glamorous facades and building design. This is all extremely impressive from the outside and may even impress your friends.

    In reality, it is more important to consider the configuration of the living space. It is what you are essentially paying for. Poor interior configuration may lead to more unusable space. Which may result in you effectively paying a higher price per square foot of usable space.

    Furthermore, poor indoor configuration may affect the amount of sunlight entering your ideal condominium unit, and the general enjoyability of your expensive condominium.

    ideal condominium unit _3

    Conclusion

    This list is a brief snippet of what you need to consider when purchasing your ideal condominium unit. It is important to consider financial prudence and practicality when purchasing properties. Chat with our mortgage advisors to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to make your transaction smoother when you spot that ideal property!

    Jennelle Lee
    Share this article

    Receive FREE updates on changes in property prices & mortgage