13 things to check before buying a secondary high-rise unit

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Updated. These days, it has become a buyers’ market as everyone was saying. So, is it then a buy, buy and buy then? Briefly, no. As for buying for own stay, it’s also not about location, location and location only because if we are expand the search just 10 minutes from the area we love, we could usually find units which are 20-30 percent lower too. Let me remind everyone that just because the price is much lower still does not mean it’s a good buy. For new units, we may need to rely on the reputation of the developer. When it comes to secondary units, especially for high-rise, here are 13 things we could inspect before we decide to buy.

1) External paint. If the developer did a good job, the coat of paint should usually last 8-10 years. If the paint looks worn out in less than 5 years, something is not right. By the way, repainting the whole building is going to be expensive and the JMC could do it only when the reserve fund is very high.

2) Facilities. Check the conditions of all the common facilities. Normal wear and tear is expected but if you see the sign ‘ROSAK’ in every single facility that you inspect, I think you have your answer. There’s no need to view the house.

3) Walk around. Do you feel comfortable? The guard house (dilapidated?), the guards themselves (old and frail?), the environment (dirty?), the people who’s staying there (mostly foreigners?), the cars which are parked there (many are abandoned), the corridors (too narrow?)?, the lift (smelly?) If majority are negative, there’s no need to view the home.

I would view the unit if it passed the three above. This is because all three is hard to CHANGE! Or expensive to change.

4) Corridor leading to home. Too dark? The unit is at the very end of a very long dark corridor? Lights not working but the agent said the management will fix it?  Sorry, please stop here. Are you sure you want your wife or kids to walk home by themselves and you happen to be not around?

5) Distance between your unit and the opposite unit. 5 feet distance should be minimum. The further the better and usually condos are 5.5 feet or more. (Yes, I have been to one which is 4 feet. Well, if the price is very affordable, perhaps)

6) The first view into the high-rise unit. Typical apartments may have 9-10 feet ceiling. A condo should have 10 feet ceiling or higher. I am not sure if anything lower than 10 feet could be considered as ‘Condo.’ How to measure? Look at the front door. The door is usually 6 / 7 feet.

7) The flooring. Jaded looking? Signs of cracks? Too old fashioned? (Ask them for discounts if you could accept. If you could not accept, please understand that changing all tiles are not cheap. It’s considered a major renovation.

8) The ceilings for rooms, toilets, any leaking signs detected? While these CAN be fixed but it will not be easy unless you know the neighbour on top floor who’s willing to spend money to fix something which affects YOU. (Yes, it’s the top unit’s responsibility but getting them to fix is going to take a long time)

9) Built in cabinets / closets. Are they in good condition? If it’s in bad condition, better ask for discounts as you need to redo them. If there are water signs everywhere, I think it’s not going to be easy to fix. Get a friendly plumber to take a look.

10) View from the balcony, if any.  Don’t tell me you can’t see anything except for a tall bald hill right in front. From Feng Shui perspective, this is not good. For your own safety, there’s a little chance for potential safety hazard too. If the view is another high-rise tower, well, that’s normal even if not preferred. (By the way, looking at another tower is common even in Mont Kiara ok…)

11) Unless you are buying a drying machine, ask where will you be drying your clothes. It’s best if there’s sun. If none, deduct some points and get ready to buy TOP or DAIA or Breeze. (Haha…. they are good enough for indoor drying)

12) Room layout / arrangement. Too small? Layout not to your liking? Strangely shaped? Remember, you will be using it every single day. Units are usually bigger in rooms and smaller in living room or bigger in living room and smaller rooms. Decide… (Unless you could afford a 1,700 sq ft unit, then I think it should be okay with 3+1 room arrangement)

13) Cooking arrangement. Only for those intending to cook. (This was my wife and my top requirement) Can you cook freely without making your home ‘oily’, ‘smelly’, and ‘dirty’? Wet and dry kitchen possible? At least a door which you can shut out the kitchen from the living room when you are cooking? Okay, if you do not need a kitchen, perhaps the unit you may be buying may be more modern looking. (just eat out everyday then)

Are you viewing your very first unit? Write all these down and view a few more units to get a much better idea before making a decision. If this is a secondary unit, the advantage is that everything you could see would be the thing you are buying. I did not talk about area because the truth is, everyone has their favourite areas. It is highly unlikely for someone who loves Puchong side to choose a unit within Damansara and vice-versa. Both have their advantages yeah and by the way, that super busy expressway is called Lebuhraya Damansara – Puchong yeah. Haha. Happy deciding.

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updated 20 Jan 2019

Next suggested article: 6 reasons I love secondary units

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