When it comes to viewing properties, there's more to it than meets the eye, which is why you need to know what loopholes to look out for. We get tips from Winston Lee, 44, PropertyGuru’s regional head of special projects. The serial property investor — he has a portfolio of residential, commercial and industrial properties in Southeast Asia, Australia and the UK — is also a speaker and moderator at property seminars.
#1: You don’t assemble the troops before you begin viewing properties.
“The property market this year is going to be very competitive,” Winston advises. “Get a banker, lawyer, contractor or an interior designer and a fengshui master — if you believe in fengshui — even before you buy the property. So that when you spot something you like, you can quickly go in for the kill.”
#2: You forget about the “staging process”.
“Another common thing at viewings — and it’s part of the staging process — is that the agent will turn on all the lights to make the house look bright. Ask them to turn off all the lights and check out the brightness of the house again. You have to check out the house in its worst case condition, not look at it when it’s in the best case scenario. Of course you have to look at the condition of the house and for things like leakage or water marks.”
#3: You don’t ask the right questions.
“If you’re intolerable of noise and the unit faces the road, open the windows and decide if the noise level is something you can tolerate. A lot of the time, windows are closed during viewings and you don’t know what’s happening outside. If the unit faces an empty plot of greenery, you may think it’s good because it’s very quiet. But that can be risky because they may start building something else there. Then you should ask the agent what’s going on with that plot of land. It’s about asking the right questions during viewings.”
#4: You don’t look outside.
“There are other factors, such as the surrounding environment and neighbours. If you see loanshark signs around [the block], it may not be an environment you want to be at.”
#5: You don’t double or even triple check.
“Going back to see the unit at different times of the day is important too. It may be cooling in the morning, but the house may get the afternoon sun. Going at night will also give you a sense of what activities are happening around at night. After all, most people are home mostly at night after work.”
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