Tan Hwee Hwee | Things to consider as a first-time home buyer
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Things to consider as a first-time home buyer

The article below was published in Propertyguru

TITLE: Things to consider as a first-time home buyer

You may be living with your parents right now and it’s a comfortable existence. However, there may come a time when you might want the freedom (and maybe even bragging rights) of having your own house. What should you consider when you’re thinking of buying a home for the first time? And what are some of the factors that make it attractive to invest in a large space?

BENEFITS OF BUYING A LARGE SPACE

Even if it’s the first time you’re buying a house, there are several reasons why you may want to invest more money to get a large space. You might be single or married without children now, but if you intend to have kids in the future, you’ll need more space which may not be possible if you’re living with your parents in a small HDB flat. Rather than having to move or upgrade to a larger space after you buy a new home, it would be less hassle to start off with a large space already. A large house would benefit your future kids, as children thrive when they have space and a large house would give them the benefit of having their own room and play areas. Also, as your parents age, having a large space would provide the option to enable them to move in with you so you can take care of them when they grow older. A dual-key configuration would offer increased privacy for starting a family whilst still living with one’s parents.

One advantage of getting landed property is that it usually comes with its own garden and yard. This is ideal for those who crave their own patch of private nature.

Furthermore, for homebuyers who love showing hospitality and entertaining, owning a large home would enable you to host people for gatherings, which would require you to have a large dining room or living room. Also, you’ll be able to have guests staying over with you if you have a large house with a guest room.

Another benefit of having a large space is storage space. You may be a pack rat or just have a lot of clothes which requires a large closet, so it’s nice to have enough space to be able to store everything you need.

If you’re a pet owner, you may also want to consider having a large home as animals thrive better when they have space to roam. So get a place that Fido the dog would love!

Another factor that may push you into investing in a large space is that usually landed houses or even cluster homes are freehold strata. Sometimes there are even freehold non-strata projects like Brooks Signature where you can own the property and the land.

Finally, a key reason why you would want a large space is the enjoyment you would get with designing and renovating the place. After all, the more space you have, the more things you can do with it. Larger spaces also afford homeowners the option to design the interior space more efficiently such as adding or removing partitions more freely to suit the family’s needs.

CONSIDERING THE PRICE ISSUE

Of course there are many benefits to living in a large space but sometimes people are held back because they think they won’t be able to afford a large house.

Buying a large space may not be as expensive as you think. At an entry level, you can get a five bedroom condominium at a place like Coco Palms in Pasir Ris for $1.8 million. For a landed property like Victoria Park Villas, prices of transacted units start from $3.9 million, which is a good deal for a house located near prestigious Coronation Road. When you consider projects like Seaside Residences, whose highest transacted is $5.7 million, the gap is vast and dispels the misconception that condos are always more affordable than houses.

As long as you carefully calculate whether you can afford the market rates for a large space, you can have peace of mind in investing in a large home. You can figure out what you can afford with an affordability calculator like http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/mortgage/affordability-calculator

If budget is a constraint, then perhaps you can consider sacrificing on location or age of the unit or other expenses (like renovation).

If you can afford it, buying a large space makes good financial sense as Wong Xian Yang, an analyst with OrangeTee points out, that “though the quantums for large spaces tend to be high due to their larger size, they tend to be cheaper on a per square foot (psf) basis as compared to other units within the same development, assuming similar storey and facing. So for a multi-generation family, it would be more cost efficient to buy a large unit to house the entire family rather than buying two separate units. “

From a long term perspective, it may be a good idea to buy a large space now as new large units are expected to become rare in the future, given that most new developments tend to lean towards a unit mix which favours smaller units due to current loan curbs and cooling measures. So now may be a good time to invest in a large space since it may be difficult to find a similar size property in the future.

LOCATION AND AMENITIES

One key consideration when you’re buying a home is its location and the amenities nearby. How close is it to the city and how convenient is its access to public transport like buses and the MRT? You may also want to consider its proximity to good schools for your children, leisure facilities like a cinema, parks, restaurants and shops like a big supermarket.

MAINTENANCE

One thing that new home-buyers worry about buying a large space is that it would be difficult to maintain. Though larger homes require more maintenance such as dusting and vacuuming, the difference in workload can be lightened with the use of technologies such as autonomous robotic cleaners and HEPA filter air purifiers. Furniture and fittings such as curtains and drapes can also be replaced with blinders and sunshades which require less cleaning.

With all these compelling reasons that make buying a large space a good idea if it fits your budget, now is a great time to invest in the large house of your dreams and live large!