1. Investment Purpose and Horizon
Investing in real estate is a big step to take. It involves a lot of resources and to buy or to sell it is a lengthy and somewhat complicated process. It’s because of these reasons that you must plan ahead and decide what it is you want the property for. Do you want it for your personal use? Do you plan to lease it or to sell it?
If you want to sell it, will you do so shortly after buying it and receive a low return on investment? Won’t you rather wait for the property’s appreciation to go up considerably before finally selling it? You must ponder upon all of these options before reaching your final decision.
Public transport availability is also a key factor when acquiring a property. You must pay special attention to the proximity of any MRT stations, where the closest bus stops are and what routes do the buses follow. Even if you do own a vehicle and wish to use it to its full extent, other aspects must be taken into account. Factors such as the proximity to main highways, avenues, and streets come in very handy when using a privately owned vehicle.
Last, but not least, proximity to transport facilities has an effect on real estate valuation. The closer the property is to bus stops, bus terminals, important highways and other transport-related infrastructure, the higher its value will be.
Choosing between freehold and leasehold can be the difference between owning a house and paying rent to a landlord. If you opt for a freehold, then you own the property and the land it stands on forever. The property is yours, plain and simple. There is no landlord to pay annual ground rent to, nor is there a landlord to maintain the property; that responsibility is yours. Freehold is the most common way in which whole houses are sold.
Leasehold, on the other hand, means that you have a lease from the landlord or freeholder to use the property for a limited amount of time. This period of time can be as long as 999 years. This may not matter much for you as an individual but if you have a family to leave patrimony to, a 40-year leasehold takes on a different dimension. Additionally, leasehold means that you must pay an annual ground rent as well as maintenance fees to the freeholder.
At first sight, freehold seems like the best option. However, this may not be the case.
Due to how volatile a leasehold property is, the economy will create very interesting fluctuations in its value. When the economy booms, the value of leasehold properties skyrockets; unfortunately, the opposite will happen once the economy goes down. This creates more complex decisions when it comes to leaseholds whether you’re a freeholder or a leaseholder.
For instance, as a leaseholder, you could take advantage of reduced prices (and annual ground rent) when the economy is experiencing issues. Alternatively, you might consider increasing your rental yield when you’re the freeholder, leasing the property at astonishing prices.
Last, but not least, amenities will increase the value of your property because they will benefit those who live in it. Amenities can be within your own property such as Internet access, extra rooms, etc. Other amenities can exist outside your property and the benefits they bring can be measured by their proximity to your property. These include:
When the owner or the user of the property has children to care for, being near a school or school district will be of great value and the property’s value could be perceived to be even higher than it already is. This allows for better deals to be reached both for the buyer and the owner as they both receive increased value.
Buying groceries is a necessary, periodical activity in every household. Therefore, living close to a supermarket is very convenient and it adds value to the property as a result. Living close to multiple supermarkets will only give you more options and in turn, will skyrocket the value.
The quality of said supermarkets should also be taken into consideration: not all supermarkets are created equal; they offer different items intended for different people and it’s only logical that those supermarkets that offer gourmet products will be valued higher as an amenity than those that don’t. Still, even a small convenience store will help adding value to the property.
Increased security always leads to increased value. Having a permanent police presence in the vicinity of the property will not only serve as an added bonus to the property but it will also dramatically decrease the chance for any criminal activity in that area. Home buyers will be willing to pay extra in exchange for the peace of mind.
For those who engage in an active lifestyle, this may well be essential. It’s important to note that these facilities can be a part of the property or they can be external. Gyms, for instance, may be available for use by any owners in a condominium complex; the same goes for pools and tennis courts.
Other facilities, however, will be outside the confines of the property yet their proximity will still increase its value. Golf courses, sports clubs and stadiums are examples of sports related facilities that will increase the value of the property just by being in the same area.
Text: Anna Haotanto, The New Savvy / Additional Reporting: Elizabeth Liew
The New Savvy is Asia’s leading online platform that focuses on financial and career issues for women. They empower women to make smarter financial decisions and transform their money relationships.