Homeowners’ 7 biggest regrets after buying a home

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Before putting down your hard-earned money on buying a home, remember to consider other aspects of the neighbourhood besides its location.

When buying a home, the emphasis tends to be on “location, location, location”. That’s why all property ads mention that a home is located near highways, schools, or MRT stations and so on.

However, location is not the only factor. Below are some “regrets” homeowners have had to live with.

1. Forgetting to check if there is mobile service in the neighbourhood

Mobile service coverage around the Klang Valley. Red spots indicate weaker signal strength on average across popular service providers. (OpenSignal pic)

As property developments extend further out from densely populated areas, mobile services may be weaker. Of course, you will have broadband internet at home, but if you have bad 4G coverage the moment you step out of your house, it can be frustrating.

According to OpenSignal, an app that measures mobile signal strength in different locations, some examples of areas with weaker mobile coverage in Klang Valley include Setia Eco Park (Shah Alam), Bandar Tasik Puteri (Rawang) and Bandar Puteri Puchong.

These are crowdsourced data and not official coverage maps, but they show that it’s important to check if your new home location is covered by your existing mobile provider.

2. Immediately accepting the first home loan plan you see

Property developers usually partner with a bank to offer home loans, the assumption being that better rates have been negotiated with the bank. But this is not always true.

At the same time, don’t always go for the maximum loan duration. While it does lower your monthly repayments, changing the duration may not impact your cash flow that badly.

For example, if you wanted to borrow RM450,000 and pay it back over 35 years versus 20 years, the difference in monthly repayments is around RM700 extra for the 20-year plan.

The benefit however is that you get to pay off your debt faster. For some, this is a better arrangement.

3. Asking the seller to repair something

When buying a resale house, don’t expect the seller to make repairs before handing over the keys.

If you’re buying a resale home, it will usually come with existing fittings. Bear in mind however that these lights, fans, kitchen cabinets, water heaters, and air-conditioning could be very old and in need of repairs.

There is also loose tiles, rotting wooden door frames, dark grout and stained walls to consider. If there are fittings you wish to keep, repair or service these yourself.

Why? Most sellers take the cheapest way out, and cut corners to satisfy your requirements. In the end, the repairs may not hold, and you will end up spending money to replace it anyway.

Instead of asking for repairs to be done, negotiate for a better selling price. Then use the money saved on the repairs.

4. Accepting freebies from the seller

Some sellers give you freebies to save money on junk removal.

In one example, the seller said the kitchen fridge was in good condition. But, after moving in, the buyer discovered that the fridge was leaking, and was hiding termite damage in the cabinets behind it.

The buyer had to pay to rip out the kitchen cabinets, and haul the fridge away.

A general rule when buying a resale house is that the seller removes everything before handing the house over.

5. Not spending time in the neighbourhood first

Badly-maintained amenities can be a sign of a poorly run management committee, or an underfunded municipal council.

Visit the neighbourhood at different times of the day to get a feel of what it’s like at night, during rush hour, over weekends, etc. Also visit when it’s raining to see if the area is prone to flooding.

You could also ask around to get a sense of the demographics. For example, how many homes are tenants versus owners? Or, how many homes are young families, etc.

If it’s a gated community, try to get a sense of how well-run the management committee is. Are people paying their maintenance fees on time? Are the common areas, such as the playground well-maintained?

6. Not checking the master plan of the neighbourhood

The home may be located next to an empty field or a forested hill. While this may be desirable, check if there are plans to develop that area in the near future. You may be unknowingly buying a home that will soon be dwarfed by a 50-storey condominium.

While developments will bring more amenities to the area, it may severely strain the infrastructure.

If the neighbourhood is already experiencing regular traffic jams, a new condo will cause further chaos.

This is the same reason why residents in Jalan Bukit in Kajang protested against the development of an additional 1,800 condo units in the area.

7. Not checking for noise and smells

Living near an airport can mean sleepless nights.

Homeowners in Taman Saujana KLIA and Kota Warisan regret buying their homes there because of the noise.

Due to its proximity to the airport, owners are being woken up at 3am from the engine noise of aircraft landing and taking off. At peak times, up to 20 flights can pass overhead within 30 minutes. The noise causes roof tiles and window grilles to vibrate, and car alarms to go off.

Your home may also experience noise if it’s situated near highway traffic, schools, sports stadiums, or performance venues. At a more micro level, even living next to a 24-hour mamak restaurant may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The noises and activity may bother even the deepest sleeper.

Unwanted smells meanwhile may come from smoke and chemicals. So, check if you are downwind from a sewer treatment plant, or a recycling factory.

This article originally appeared on Recommend.my – Malaysia’s #1 Home Improvement Services Platform. Recommend.my offers a safer and more convenient way to hire the best home improvement and home maintenance professionals. From flooring to interior design to air-conditioner servicing, get access to thousands of the best local contractors and professionals at your fingertips.