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3 Tips for Buying a Home in a Good Location

buying a property in singapore location

Joanne Poh

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Location is everything when it comes to buying property. You wouldn’t want to live in Lim Chu Kang, or a home that required a 30 minute bus ride to get to the nearest MRT station. Buying a home is a long term investment that doesn’t take kindly to mistakes. So don’t go and book a HDB flat in a random area only to realise it takes you 1.5 hours to get to work.

While one person’s definition of a reasonable location is another person’s definition of ulu, here are three things everyone should do to assess the location of a potential property purchase.

1. Find out what URA’s future plans for your area are

The area might look like a complete dump, but if it’s going to be developed into an up and coming urban centre, your purchase might actually turn out to be a good investment, as your property value is likely to rise significantly as the infrastructure developments take place.

The URA Master Plan contains all long- and medium-term plans and proposals for infrastructure developments all over Singapore, but it can be hard to figure out how to use it.

The latest Master Plan can be useful to consult at an early stage when you are considering several areas, as you can compare infrastructure developments across the island. You can click around on the map to look at what types of amenities are in your area.

For those of us who don’t want to lose 10 years of our lives figuring out how to use the Master Plan, there’s always good old Google and the many property websites like PropertyGuru and 99.co, which frequently publish write-ups about residential areas.

2. Be aware of present and future transport links

Now that the government has reduced the vehicle growth rate to 0% and public transport is less-than-reliable, a convenient location is more important than ever.

Never buy property without being very clear about the present and future transport links.

You want to know exactly to get to and from work every day, as well as the city centre and other places you frequent, like your parents’ home, childcare centre, country club, secret S&M dungeon and so on.

Generally, unless you are rich enough to buy property on prime land and have a car, it is best to avoid areas that are not within walking distance of MRT stations. The only exception is if there are future plans to open an MRT station in the area.

And don’t be fooled by the agents’ claims that you can get to the MRT station by feeder bus in 5 minutes. It’s never just 5 minutes when you factor in waiting and walking time.

Finally, try to set aside one day to commute to and from the property site and your workplace at the hours you usually go to work and knock off, just to see if this is something you can see yourself doing for the rest of your forseeable future.

3. Check the distance of amenities you need

You want to move into an area that has as many of the amenities you deem necessary as possible. Take note of the exact locations of your most-used amenities and figure out how much time it is going to take you to travel there.

Essential amenities, other than MRT stations and bus stops, may include:

  • Schools – If you are a parent or intend to become one. You will at least some of the time be required to make the trip from home to your child’s school. You also don’t want your kid to have to wake up at 4am to get to school, which often happens to kids in elite schools.
  • Childcare – Bear in mind, however, that there is no guarantee your child will get a spot at a particular centre even if it’s close to home.
  • Supermarket – Check not only the physical distance of your home to the nearest supermarket, but also how you’re going to get there.
  • Shopping malls, libraries, sports facilities like swimming pools – New towns are generally designed to include such amenities, but you should still check how long it takes you to travel to them, especially when public transport is involved.

 

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.