Purchasing a dream home is a significant milestone in life. Today, apartments are a popular choice for many, as they are seen as the pinnacle of convenient and luxurious modern living. When investing in a home, buyers commonly focus on 2 key aspects – a good location and a quality construction.
However, unlike when building a house, the scope of work in constructing an apartment is something tenants are unable to keep track of. Furthermore, as most apartments are sold on pre-sale, a lot of trust is placed on developers to deliver as promised. Sadly, it is not unusual to find that tenants in many apartment buildings are dissatisfied with their apartments and the way they are maintained.
Here are 3 very important aspects to observe when choosing your dream apartment, to avoid such disappointment.
The quality of the developer can also be assessed by the quality and suitability of the finishings used (P2)
1. A Reliable Developer
As mentioned before, buyers primarily purchase apartments on pre-sale. To ensure that developers deliver as promised a provisional condominium plan registration system was implemented by the Condominium Management Authority (CMA). Buyers can check if the plans of their apartment building have been registered and purchase with the confidence that their developer cannot deviate from the registered plans.
Other ways to identify a good developer include:
Visiting their completed projects and observing the quality of the finishing, i.e. the developer’s attention to detail. For example, “are the switches exposed to the rain rated for the outdoors?”
Assessing the architects and the contractors they work with.
Contacting the CMA for its assessment of the developer and any complaints raised against them.
Regular maintenance is essential for smooth operations (P3)
2. An Established Management Committee
It is common practice for developers to include a variety of common amenities to attract potential tenants. It is important to note that while the maintenance and repairs of these amenities are the developer’s responsibility during the first year, subsequently, the tenants are expected to form and register a Management Committee (MC) and take on this responsibility.
The upkeep of amenities is the biggest challenge faced by most MCs. Most apartments have a monthly maintenance fee to cover this, payable by each of the apartment owners. However, to further assist with this it is the developer's and future owners’ responsibility, and legal liability, to set up a sinking fund to cover larger repairs as and when they arise. Such measures will ensure that a future MC will be able to conduct major repairs in a timely manner. The registration form for setting up a Management Committee is available from the Condominium Management Authority (CMA). Page two of the linked form includes all the certificates required for the process. Check with your developer if they have obtained the necessary certification for your future dream home.
A reputed contractor will ensure that the work is carried out to the highest standards (P4)
3. A Reputed Contractor
A home is a long-term asset. If the investment in it is to be worthwhile it’s essential that it is well constructed. Quality products as well as good design principles and construction practices help reduce maintenance and repair costs.
Besides assessing the main contractor, it is important to look closer at the Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing contractors, as it is in these areas that problems arise during the lifespan of the building. The Institute for Construction, Training and Development (ICTAD) allows you to sort through approved contractors based on their given grade. Main and specialist contractors are given grades limiting the maximum project size they can take on, based on their assessed capabilities. More information can be found here. However, note that these grades are limited to the size of the project the contractor can take on, and are not an indication of the quality of their finished work.