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Looking To Buy An Older HDB Flat? Here’s What You Need To Know Before You Sign On The Dotted Line!

Posted by Jayson Ang on March 27, 2024
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TLDR

When considering purchasing an older flat, ensure to thoroughly inspect wet areas for leaks, check balcony conditions, watch out for spalling concrete, inspect windows for maintenance, be cautious of uneven floors and popping tiles, examine the garbage chute in ground-floor units, and check plumbing functionality. Additionally, seek information on past plumbing work from the seller or agent. This checklist will help you make an informed decision about buying an older flat.

Older flats have their charm, right? They’re ready to move into straight away.

But remember, they come with a history and sometimes, that means wear and tear that could lead to headaches down the line.

Not to worry though, we’ve got a handy checklist for you:

1. Start with the wet areas, like bathrooms and under the sink

Leaks are common in these spots. You’ll usually spot them as discoloured or damp areas. Sometimes leaks can come from your upstairs neighbour, which might require some negotiation to fix. If the leak’s from the roof or your unit’s on the second floor, you might need to split the repair cost with the town council. Dealing with these issues before buying is your best bet.

2. Check out the balcony

Older flats often have large balconies that can be hard to maintain. You want to avoid ones with poor drainage or where water tends to puddle. Look for stains, discoloured patches, cracks or rust on metal railings. And if you have kids, ensure the railings are secure and not corroded.

3. Keep an eye out for spalling concrete

That’s a fancy term for when concrete starts to crack or chip due to embedded steel rusting. It can turn into a big problem if left unchecked. Get a contractor to take a look before buying.

4. Inspect the windows

Window maintenance is a must. Check for rusted tracks and screws. Also, make sure the window height is at least one metre off the floor. If it isn’t, you’ll need professional help to replace it.

5. Watch out for uneven floors or popping tiles

HDB won’t always cover the cost of repairing these issues. You might need to find a contractor to handle it. Also, be wary of tiles in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens as they are prone to water damage.

6. For ground-floor units, check the garbage chute

This is often located in the kitchen and can lead to pest problems, especially if it’s not well sealed. Some folks seal it up entirely to avoid the issue.

7. Make sure the plumbing is working well

You know, old apartments tend to have their fair share of plumbing issues. From clogged pipes that could potentially lead to leaks, to other problems like weak water pressure or even that unpleasant smell caused by rusty pipes.

It’s not too tough to spot some of these issues. You could simply flush the toilet a few times, or maybe give the faucet a turn to see how strong the water pressure is. But some problems are a bit more sneaky, like hidden leaks. These invisible culprits can drive your water bill sky high without you even noticing a single drop of water out of place.

So, when you’re thinking of buying one of these old flats, it might be a good idea to chat with the seller or the agent. Ask them about the last time any plumbing work was done on the place and what exactly was fixed or replaced. It could save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Should You Buy, Sell or Wait?

If you’re reading this, you must be trying to figure out the best course of action right now: is it the right time to buy or sell?

It’s difficult to give an exact answer since everyone’s situation is unique and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

I can bring you a wealth of on-the-ground experience and a data-driven approach to provide clarity and direction. From beginners to experienced investors, our top-down, objective approach will help you on your real estate journey.

I can help you by:

  1. Offering Strategic Real Estate Advice – I can help create a comprehensive plan to guide you through your property journey.
  2. Connecting Your Home with the Perfect Buyers – Through stunning visuals, an effective communication strategy, and an in-depth knowledge of the market, we’ll ensure your home is presented in the best possible way to fulfill your goals.

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