When it comes to buying an HDB resale flat, it is very important for buyers to inspect the flat they are buying to ensure that they are getting a good home that will keep them happy and safe for many years to come. Outside of the physical flat, there are other factors to consider as well, such as loans, pricing, and the surrounding environment.
Resale flats are different from Build-to-Order (BTO) flats because the latter are newly built and owners can point out defects to developers, whereas the resale flat’s history is a relative mystery, and it’s up to the buyer (with the help of an agent) to find out as much as they can before a purchase.
What should you look out for when buying a resale HDB flat:
1. Can you get a loan?
Loans are relatively easy to get for HDB flats. As long as you have a good credit rating, you should be able to obtain a loan. To apply for an HDB loan, check out the HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE). You can also choose to get a bank loan by approaching different financial institutions to find their prevailing interest rates.
2. Is the size of the flat sufficient?
The size of the flat should be optimum for your family to stay in. If you have kids and are living with your in-laws or parents, you would want to get a flat which everyone is able to live in comfort and yet not pose a strain on your finances. Here’s a general size breakdown of the modern HDB flat:
|UNIT TYPE||FLOOR SPACE (SQM)|
A family with kids would generally feel more comfortable with a 4-room or larger flat, but the good news about the resale market is that there are less buying restrictions, such as a single person can still buy a 5-room flat despite living alone.
3. Is it a good price or are you overpaying?
It is always good to compare prices of the flats around your potential unit to ensure you are buying a flat for the right price. Because HDB units are public flats, you can actually use HDB’s Map Services to research on prices around your preferred area, or look at the prices other people are selling on our Android or iOS app to have a better gauge of the current market.
One of Ohmyhome’s unique offerings is its extensive database of transactions and price trends. If you engage an Ohmyhome agent, they will provide a professional and neutral assessment on prices to ensure that you get good value for the unit.
4. Leaking problem?
Water may seem harmless, but if left unattended, leaking pipes can cause flooding and permanent damage to furniture, flooring, and electrical appliances.
Some buyers are also extra wary of units on lower floors because they would be the ones most affected by pipe issues. In old flats where homeowners have direct access to garbage chutes inside their home, do take note that leakages can also come from chutes if they are not properly sealed.
5. Inspect infrastructure and previous renovations
Is the flat in its original condition or has it gone through some renovations by the current owner? Either way, it’s important to look out for serious infrastructure damage that could pose as a future safety hazard or require more money to repair. For example, cracks on the wall, loose hinges on doors and cabinets are some fittings that buyers should look out for.
6. Is your HDB unit facing the sun?
Look out for the HDB unit’s facing – an east-west facing will likely receive strong morning and afternoon sun, unless there are other nearby high-rise blocks that can serve as a pseudo sunshade.
The last thing you want to end up with is a flat that is exposed to the full glare of the sun. Even though blinds and curtains help, the house would probably be stuffy and may lead to higher electricity bills to cool down the heat. However, if you have the sun shining into the kitchen or the yard, that’s good as it helps dry laundry faster.
7. How noisy does it get?
Listen out for any noise pollution around the potential unit when you view it. One possible source is from neighbouring construction sites, on upcoming residential developments or public amenities. Apart from checking news sources such as The Straits Times or Channel News Asia, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) also prominently showcases future development plans.
Another possible source of noise pollution is heavy road traffic. HDB flats located right next to major expressways, viaducts or arterial roads where there is constant traffic. And this doesn’t apply just for the day, but traffic noise can also spoil a good night’s sleep.
8. Who are your neighbours?
Moving into an HDB estate is all about communal living. However that doesn’t mean issues and disputes don’t arise with those who do not share the same values.
When viewing a unit for sale, observe how neighbours use the communal spaces such as corridors and lift landing areas. Are they tidy with their footwear or do they place big clothes racks that block the path?
Your neighbours’ cleanliness can also affect the quality of your life in an HDB flat. Look out for signs of uncleared trash or litter along the corridors, as this could potentially attract house pests such as ants and cockroaches.
9. Is this a safe neighbourhood?
Walk around the neighbourhood to see if the area is well lit in the evening, or walking home at night may be dangerous in the future. Despite the crime rate in Singapore being relatively low, it is always best to be safe than sorry, as after all, “low crime doesn’t mean no crime.”
If the resale HDB flat is located in an neighbourhood famed for its nightlife, there is a higher chance of meeting drunk, unruly characters when you come home late. If another location is not at option, consider a unit that is close to a police station or in an area that is well lit with plenty of passers-by.
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Frequently Answered Questions
How do we find out the value of a HDB flat?
Once you have an Option to Purchase the HDB flat, you can submit a request for valuation from HDB itself, through its online portal.
How do I find past HDB transactions for flats in my area?
You can use HDB’s Map Services that shows past transactions by area, up to the last 12 months.
I’m interested in a BTO flat instead of resale. How do I ballot for one?
HDB holds 3-4 sales launches each year. The launches last for 2 weeks and homebuyers can submit their application. Check out our comprehensive step-by-step guide to buying a BTO flat.