Apartments you should avoid buying
Along the years many people have commented on our choice of apartments, saying they look comfortable, roomy, having good air circulation, a lot of natural light, no waste of space, great sun orientation, etc. etc. There are a lot more things that you should look out for in an apartment than what we can write in this article, nevertheless we will share with you several things that we absolutely avoid when buying an apartment. Here they are:
1. Avoid apartments with outdoor kitchen. For some reasons I don’t understand, quite some condominiums have an outdoor kitchen (meaning: there’s no door to separate the kitchen with the yard/laundry area). We currently live in one, while waiting for our new apartment to finish. This type of kitchen is a nightmare!!!! Cooking, usually a joy for me, becomes a chore because air conditioning cannot reach the kitchen. It’s always hot, humid, and cooking becomes a nasty sweaty experience.
Well, okay, some of you may have a live-in maid and do not have to step foot in the kitchen. But think of it this way. An outdoor kitchen is also a resting place for dust, especially if you live near a busy street or construction site (like we do). No matter how often I wipe the kitchen counters, my kitchen wipe always turns black after one swipe. Imagine this dust going into your food while you prepare them. Imagine the dust inhabiting your kitchen utensils while you leave them to dry on the dish rack. Eeeuuuhhhh…….
Another drawback to having an outdoor kitchen is that the laundry area is side by side with the kitchen, often with no door separating them. So, in addition to the dust, you also have to deal with the possible contamination from laundry detergent and the smell of softener. If you have a dryer (we do), add to that the possible contamination from laundry lint into your kitchen utensils and food. And if you cook while the washing machine / dryer is on, the kitchen is a living hell …. it is soooo hot!!!!
2. If you own a car, flee from narrow and winding basement car park. Many people never check the car park while checking out the apartment. A good friend of mine lives in an apartment building where huge columns narrow the driveway in the parking lot … his original wish to buy an SUV is blown to pieces because he’s afraid his wife would keep on scratching the side of the car to the column in this unfriendly narrow winding carpark with tiny parking lots. He hasn’t bought a car until now because he refuses to own a tiny car like Suzuki Swift … having worked for Ferrari before 🙂
3. Avoid apartments where getting in and out of the neighborhood is a pain. Your home should be homey and welcoming … don’t buy a place where guests’ first comment when arriving might be, “Boy … it’s a nightmare trying to get here! The traffic … no street signs … we were lost ….” We make it a point to drive around the area of an apartment (at different times of the day or week!) before deciding to buy. We want my husband to reach home easily after work, not having to worry about traffic. We want my son to be able to find taxi or public transportation if he needs to go. For this reason, we love West Coast, where my husband is always against the traffic flow. And for this reason, we decided not to rent near Kitchener Road, where getting in and out of the condo can be a nightmare because everyone park their car on the street side.
4. If you want full condo facilities, avoid complexes with so-so facilities. Some condos are built with full facilities that are not well thought of just for the sake of being able to mention “full condo facilities”. We currently live in one … the gym has a few cheap machines (but it has a gym!). The pool area is right next to the main street, unhidden from preying eyes, and it’s only about six times the size of a normal bath tub (but it has a swimming pool!). My friend lives in a condo where there’s no seating area around the barbecue pit and we literally party in front of someone’s apartment because there’s no buffer zone in between the private space and public space (but there’s a BBQ pit!). If you want to live in a condo, invest some time observing the public facilities and determine if you can see yourselves using these facilities. If you can’t see yourselves jumping into the pool, doing BBQ, using the children’s playground etc., you might as well not pay for these condo facilities and its management fees 🙂
5. Avoid low ceiling. We hate low ceiling … it makes us feel claustrophobic and make the apartment looks smaller. Note that greedy developers might cut down the ceiling height so they can shovel more floors into the same building height, after all you’re paying for floor space, not volume 🙂 . Note that 20cm difference in ceiling height is all it takes to make a difference in lighting effect and making your apartment roomier – this difference is often overlooked by potential home buyers.
6. Avoid apartments with a lot of wasted space. We have walked in and (swiftly) out of many show flats because of wasted space, like a 1,600 square feet apartment with 300 square feet balcony. Or a three bedroom condos with four long planters and no balcony. Or layout that is so funky looking it leaves a lot of curves that doesn’t allow us to use the nice rectangular space to put furniture. While we love balconies (our new apartment now has 200 square feet of balcony), the fact is that Singapore is hot and humid, and most of our time at home will be spent indoors. If you want to buy one with balcony, choose a balcony that will suit your need, not just a big balcony that costs you tens of thousands of dollars just to be an empty space or storage for junks