Dramatic architecture, stunning views, work proximity, resort-style amenities, and customised social activities – these are just a few of the qualities that attract homeowners to beautiful high-rise buildings. However, before you make the decision to purchase a high-rise condominium, here are 10 things to consider:
Location, location, location. This phrase applies to any property purchase including these! When looking to live in a high-rise property, look for properties in thriving and up-and-coming areas rather than areas that may someday improve. You never know – the developer’s dream to revive a dying and high-crime area may never come true after all.
Find out what is nearby and compare it to your needs and preferences. Would you prefer to walk right out your door to malls for shopping, dining and market? Or would you be happier in a more established residential area? Or you want to move closer to work to avoid the mad rush or are having nearby schools or public transportation more important factors in deciding your choice of property?
Within the high-rise building itself, location should also be a consideration. If you have the elderly or kids living with you, units in lower floors might be more suitable due to the fact that you aren’t required to rely solely on the elevator for access – especially if the elevator were to go faulty. Or if you enjoy greeting your day with a beautiful view of the city, higher units could be your choice but the price will be much higher.
2. Land status
Another aspect that you need to take note of is the land status of the high-rise property in which you are intending to purchase a unit. The land status can either be under residential or commercial.
If the land status is commercial, one can expect that the assessment rate and utility bills to be charged at commercial rate which is higher than the rate for residential status.
Another important factor to consider when choosing your high-rise property is whether the parking facilities will meet your needs. Is it a secured parking garage? Elevated or underground? Where will your guests park?
Many high-rise apartments offer only one or two dedicated parking spots, while most commercial high-rise places like SOHO, SOFO and other versions of small offices, do not come with parking bays at all. If you own multiple sets of cars, you can either choose to rent or buy additional units. Find out how much the management charge for additional reserved parking?
Look into the location of the available assigned parking spaces. Do you need a space close to the elevator? For instance, if you’re an older buyer, or a family with small children, you might need a spot very close to the elevator. There may also be limitations relative to the height or length of your vehicle.
Aside from location, amenities tend to be a huge draw for buyers interested in high rise buildings. Landed residential units usually don’t come equipped with facilities such as swimming pool, gym or community hall.
Though almost every condominium comes with ample facilities, if you are buying sub-sale properties, it will be prudent to check the condition of these facilities. Are they well maintained? Or adequately equipped? You wouldn’t want to be paying maintenance fees for a gym with broken equipment.
5. Insurance coverage
The building is usually insured by the management but it does not cover insurance for home contents, so this is something you will get on your own. Ask what would happen if your neighbour had a fire and it impacted your unit or if you accidentally flooded your bathroom and repairs had to be carried out.
The type of insurance and rates will vary according to different types of building, so understanding what the cover does and doesn’t include is vital due diligence. Check with the management and insurer on this.
If you are buying to invest, getting a high-rise property with a good view can be good for your investment. A good view can be a difference of a few thousand Ringgit – who doesn’t like a view of KLCC from their balcony? Higher floors usually offer fabulous views compared to lower units. If you consider this factor very important, then it should play a major role in your decision. Another benefit of living on the top floor is that you will have better lighting and ventilation.
When getting the higher floors, focus on the material used in the windows. It has to be of very good and reliable quality. The frame has to be durable to sustain the wind load during extreme conditions.
When looking out for a property, you should consider if the environment is safe for you and your family. Is the apartment well-guarded? Do guards do patrolling? Are the security restrictions high? If you frequently hear robbery and snatch cases within the vicinity or there have been break-ins in the apartment, you might want to look elsewhere.
Find out how many security guards are on duty in the day and also at night. Finding out more information on the security of the property will at least give you peace of mind.
A higher dense building can get a little overcrowded. Your overall experience with lift waits, tiny car parks, and traffic congestion may be an unpleasant one.
Exclusivity can come at a higher cost, but sometimes it may be money well-spent. High density properties can result in noise and insufficient parking bays. If this is a pet peeve of yours, find out how many units are there in the whole development, and also on each floor. The number of lifts available for each building can also make a big difference.
9. Maintenance Fees
For high rise properties, a monthly maintenance and sinking fund fee is used to pay for maintenance, repairs and upgrades. Maintenance fees tend to be higher for older properties because of the aging facilities. There is also the possibility for an increment in the fees as time goes by.
Generally speaking, larger developments will have more common facilities such as swimming pool, multiple lifts, BBQ areas, terraces, gardens and gyms. The larger the complex, the more surface that needs maintenance and repairs over time.
The minimum chargeable rate is RM0.12 per square foot per month. This rate will change according to the management and the facilities they offer. So, if your apartment is 1,300 square feet, your monthly maintenance fees will be RM156. If it is a condominium with facilities, it is on average RM0.30 per square foot, which makes it RM390 a month. Whatever it may be, make sure it’s an amount you’re willing to fork out every month.
10. Homeowners Association (HOA)
Find out how active is the homeowners’ association in maintaining the property? Do owners have a say in the upkeep of the building? If possible, obtain a copy of the bylaws and recent meeting minutes. From these you may be able to pinpoint issues that will influence your decision.
Before buying a unit, it is important to understand what plans the association has for the building, as well as other rules that will have an impact on how you live in your home and any changes you want to make. It is good practice to find out what on-going maintenance occurs and improvements that might be in the future list. Ask when it is next going to be painted, when the corridors are going to be refreshed and whether there are any other developments planned. That could all have an effect on your living there.
Buying a high rise property has a different list of requirements compared to a landed one. Be aware of what will and will not bring value to your investment before making the decision to purchase.
The amount of due diligence required before purchasing a high-rise building is twice that of a house. Don’t get caught up emotionally with a beautiful view and sacrifice quality. In the end it simply won’t pay off.