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Checklist and Tips


SECTION 4

Checklists
and Tips

Whether you intend to purchase a new condo from a developer or a resale condo from an existing homeowner, it is important to be well informed about both the unit and the estate before making the investment. Any unwanted surprises later could mean additional costs for you.

This checklist aims to guide you through the various aspects of condo living before deciding to stay in one. Do note that this list is non-exhaustive. You may wish to request for more information from the developer, seller, or real estate agent where needed and consider seeking independent legal advice.

Download the checklists here:



Select property type

New Condos


Building and its features

  • Understand where the unit's boundaries are and what you will be owning. You may make a request for the floor plan from the developer.
  • Understand the unit's floor area in relation to its share value.

 
  • There may be limitations on what you can do to external features (e.g. type of balcony blinds, erection of sheds over private enclosed space) as they directly affect the outward aesthetic of the estate. The estate's by-laws may provide guidance for these works.
  • Some walls may be load-bearing which you will not be able to alter, unless all necessary approvals, including approval from the Commissioner of Building Control, are obtained. Making unauthorised alterations to load-bearing walls could affect the structural safety of the unit and the building.

 
  • It is good to consider whether you foresee yourself utilising all the facilities, as you will ultimately be paying for them regardless.
 
Such as:
  1. Did the developer receive any Green Mark certification for previously completed projects?
  2. What is the developer's track record when it comes to construction quality of past projects? You may wish to refer to BCA's Quality Housing Portal.

Costs and monthly fees


 
  • What amenities are included in the development and how are they paid for?
  • Are you able to accept increases in your monthly fees should part of the common property in your estate require urgent repairs or due to increasing maintenance costs over time?
  • Condo contributions often increase after the condominium's first year after Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP), as the developer may have agreed to pay for certain expenses in the first year, but not in the subsequent years. Fees may also increase after the first fund study has been completed.
  • For example, shuttle bus services may be provided free of charge by the developer for the first year, but beyond which may be added to your maintenance fees in subsequent years.
  • You may request for the estate's budget for the first year after Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP), to better understand what your monthly contributions will be used for.

 
  • This may be of concern for owners without cars who would have to pay for carpark lots even if they do not use them.
  • Also clarify if there are sufficient parking lots near the unit you wish to purchase. Insufficient lots could mean additional parking charges should you have to find external carparks.

Others


 
  • Units in new condos often come with warranties for major features and works (e.g. water proofing). It is important to clarify which works are covered and the duration, extent, and conditions of their coverage. Major issues may only begin to surface years after Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP). If the warranty coverage has expired, you will have to bear the cost of repairs.

 
  • Other than having implications on what you can and cannot do to your unit, by-laws may limit what you can and cannot do in your unit and in certain areas of the estate (e.g. restrictions on smoking).

 

 
  • It is always important to thoroughly read through any document before signing. You can wish to consult your lawyer if you are unsure.

Resale Condos


Building and its features

  • Understand the unit's boundaries and verify which part of the floor area is considered 'common property'. You may check with the Management Corporation (MC) for more information.
  • Understand the unit's floor area in relation to its share value.

 
  • There may be limitations on what you can do to external features (e.g. type of balcony blinds, erection of sheds over private enclosed space) as they directly affect the outward aesthetic of the estate. The estate's by-laws may provide guidance for these works.
  • Some walls may be load-bearing which you will not be able to alter, unless all necessary approvals, including approval from the Commissioner of Building Control, are obtained. Making unauthorised alterations to load-bearing walls could affect the structural safety of the unit and the building.

 
  • It is good to consider whether you foresee yourself utilising all the facilities, as you will ultimately be paying for them regardless.

 
  • This may be prudent for old condos and units, as rectifying defects will add on to your renovation costs and affect potential resale and rental value.
  • You may also ask the seller if there are any persistent issues with the unit e.g. water leakage / clogged drains.
  • You may also consider asking the seller if there are any challenging features of the unit. For example, challenging location of aircon ledges.

Costs and monthly fees

 
For example:
  • What amenities are included and how are they paid for?
  • Understand what facilities and services you will be paying for and assess whether the price is reasonable to you. Some facilities may be on a pay-per-use system instead.
  • You may choose to find out and compare condo contributions of similar estates in the area and what they cover.
  • You may also wish to consider if you are able to accept increases in your monthly fees should part of the common property in your estate require urgent repairs or due to increasing maintenance costs over time.

 
  • This may be of concern for owners without cars who would have to pay for carpark lots even if they do not use them.
  • Also clarify if there are sufficient parking lots near the unit you wish to purchase. Insufficient lots could mean additional parking charges should you have to find external carparks.

 
  • For example: upgrading of carpark flooring, external repainting works, etc.
  • You may ask the Management Corporation (MC) on the schedule of their cyclical repairs for common facilities, as these anticipated expenses may result in an increase in monthly condo fees and/or a special levy.

 
  • These documents will give you an indication on how your estate is managed and maintained (non-exhaustive list):
    1. Financial documents (e.g. balance sheet)
    2. Annual General Meeting (AGM) reports from preceding years
    3. Details of your managing agent (MA)
  • The seller (the Subsidiary Proprietor ‘SP’) may check with the Management Corporation (MC) on the process of making a request for these documents, as well as the fees payable.

 
  • It is important to clarify if any features or components are still covered under warranty and the duration, extent, and conditions of their coverage. If the warranty coverage has expired, you will have to bear the cost of repairs.

Others


 
  • This could provide an indication of how well the estate is managed, and how your issues will be handled should you raise any.

 
  • This provides an indication of how well the estate is being managed, and how your issues will be handled should you raise any.
  • Living in a condo which has employed an managing agent (MA) means that there will be a dedicated person overseeing and ensuring that condo operations run smoothly. For example, if your water supply is suddenly cut off due to a faulty pipe, you can approach your managing agent (MA) for assistance.
  • There are also managing agents (MAs) that have been accredited. These managing agents (MAs) have gone through a structured training program and pass an examination conducted by either the Association of Property and Facility Managers (APFM) or Association of Strata Managers (ASM), and the BCA Academy, among other requirements set by the respective associations. The skill sets developed through the accreditation training program will equip managing agents (MAs) with the capabilities to carry out duties professionally and provide sound advice to Management Corporations (MCs).

 
  • Other than having implications on what you can and cannot do to your unit, by-laws may limit what you can and cannot do in your unit and in certain areas of the estate (e.g. restrictions on smoking).

 
  • The Management Corporation (MC) is a legal entity which can sue others, be sued by others, and enter into contracts with others (such as service providers). Buyers should find out if there are any ongoing legal actions against the Management Corporation (MC) or commenced by the Management Corporation (MC), as they will need to contribute to legal costs incurred for these actions.

 

 
  • It is always important to thoroughly read through any document before signing. You can wish to consult your lawyer if you are unsure.

In this guide:



Disclaimer

This guide has been prepared by the Building and Construction Authority (“BCA”), and is not intended to be a legal interpretation of laws including the BMSM Act or legal advice. Potential condominium buyers should seek professional legal advice if they wish to better understand their legal rights and duties. The Commissioner of Buildings, BCA and any other agency shall not be liable for any reliance on any information contained in this guide by any person.

Related Information

  • CONQUAS and Quality Mark assess the construction quality of private residential projects, developers and builders. Find out more here.
  • Green buildings are more energy efficient and improve indoor environmental quality. Read on Green Buildings here.
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