High-rise living is becoming a norm. Nowadays, increasingly more people are choosing to live in high-rise homes, especially the younger generation. The number of high-rise projects have risen exponentially in the past few decades; especially in city centres, where land scarcity has caused land costs in main urban areas to soar significantly. For example, new properties in KL in the past decade have been mostly developed as high-rise properties. With less space to expand horizontally, property developers have next to no choice but to go vertical and construct high-rise projects. So yeah, me and Danny had also bought our high-rise house few years back, which is going to ready soon! (Gonna get the key next month… Wow! Excited yet panic too.)
I still remember we went to a lot of property fairs to look as different upcoming projects, comparing here and there. From totally no idea, till a clearer picture on how we want our future home is. Honestly speaking, there are so many things you have to take into consideration. And if you are thinking to get a high-rise property like we did, here are 10 things you should consider when buying.
Location, location, location. YES! Location is everything! So, do your research on the location of your prospective property purchase. Is the property located in a well-established area? Or is the area up-and-coming and will someday improve? Or is it a less desirable area that the developer is trying to rebrand and revive?
Further, this ‘location, location, location’ mantra not only applies to the location of your high-rise condominium, but also the location of your unit in the high-rise building itself. Lower floored units are usually cheaper in price, and offer some benefits such as ease of access, compared to higher floored units. Especially in more densely-packed condominiums where you would depend solely on elevators for access. No one likes spending 15 minutes just waiting for elevators to reach your floor, only to find that is it full and you need to spend another 15 minutes waiting for the next elevator. If you would prefer a gorgeous view greeting you when you wake up each day, higher units would be the choice, albeit at a higher purchase price.
2. Land status
Find out the land status of the high-rise property you are intending to purchase a unit in. Depending on the developer, it can be either titled as residential or commercial. This would make a big difference in your future cost of living. For example, commercial properties would be subjected to commercial tariffs of assessment rates and utility bills, which is much higher than the rate for residential properties.
Car ownership in Malaysia is one of the highest in the world. Think about it, we still rely on private vehicles as our main mode of transport instead of public transportation. Parking in urban areas is already such a hassle. You wouldn’t want to reach home from a long day at work, only to have to go through another headache of finding a place to park your car.
High-rise condominiums have limitations in the number of parking spots available. Most will offer at most two dedicated parking spots. Some commercial high-rise properties even offer none at all. Some will even charge you a premium for any additional parking spots you may choose to rent or buy. Thus, find out beforehand the parking situation at the property you are looking at buying.
High-rise condominiums come with a lot of facilities, such as swimming pools, gyms, BBQ areas, terraces, gardens, etc. These facilities tend to allure buyers towards choosing high-rise condominiums instead of landed residential properties. Furthermore, with the stiff competition in the real estate market for high-rise properties today, developers are integrating more and more facilities into their new high-rise projects to entice more interest in the property.
Though most condominiums have similar facilities, you need to be more aware of the condition of these facilities especially if you are buying from the sub-sale market. Take a tour around the building to see if these facilities are well maintained. It would be a loss for you if you will be paying maintenance fees for facilities that are not well-maintained at all.
With the increasing density of people in high-rise apartments, security will become an issue. For your peace of mind as well as well-being, find out if the apartment has security services. Take note of things like if there is a gatehouse at the entrance, how well-guarded the whole apartment compound is, how often do guards patrol the property, how many guards are on duty at different times of day, how easy is it for outsiders to enter the property, etc.
Unlike landed property, where the owner bears entire responsible for maintenance and repairs, high-rise properties utilise monthly maintenance fees and sinking funds to pay for consistent maintenance, and necessary repairs and upgrades to the building. The older the property gets, the more the facilities age, and the higher the cost of maintenance. Thus, you can expect maintenance fees to increase over time. Furthermore, with the plethora of common facilities available in larger developments, the larger the complex becomes, and the more surface that needs to be maintained and repaired periodically. Make doubly sure that the amount that needs to be contributed towards maintenance fees is an amount that you are willing to pay each month.
If you are looking to purchase a high-rise property as an investment, the rate of capital appreciation would be a major factor. Long-term value and appreciation for high-rise properties are determined by an array of factors – including the facilities, livability, accessibility, land status, environment and also sacrosanct law of supply and demand. If investment is your main objective, be sure to take all of these factors into account less you risk burning a hole in your pocket.
As with any high-rise buildings, the more units there are, the denser the building becomes. Living in the same building as hundreds of other people is bound to be not as private as living in a landed house. For many, this may be an unpleasant experience. You will experience longer lift waits, smaller parking areas, and more traffic congestion. Thus, you need to take into account the density in terms of unit to land size ratio. The more units, irrespective of size, on a plot of land, the higher is the density.
The benefits of high-rise living may come at a cost. With the increasing population density comes more rules and regulations. For example, most high-rise properties do not allow the keeping of pets even though the keeping of pets in high-rise properties is actually legal. You may also face stricter regulations in terms what you can and cannot do for your home. For instance, the management of some high-rise condominiums will not allow you to dry clothes on balconies as they consider it to be unsightly and ruining the aesthetics of the building.
Consider the overall community of the high-rise apartment. Are the residents mostly students or families? The community builds the ecosystem of the whole high-rise residential property. Make sure you have a strong community of like-minded individuals in order for good upkeep to be easier and feasible.
Also, look at how active the homeowners association and management is in maintaining the property. Obtain a copy of the bylaws if it is possible. It is a good idea to find out if the homeowners association is actively planning out on-going maintenance and improvements. Also check if any other developments are planned for the property.
Overall, whether high-rise or landed, do your research well before making any decision to purchase property. This helps you to be soundly aware of what will and will not be a valuable investment.