Aside from being able to physically check the unit and facilities before purchasing the property, TOP projects, which are also known as newly-completed properties, offer a slew of benefits such as allowing investors to get immediate rental income, while homeowners who are in a rush to get a new home can move in almost immediately.
New home buyers and property investors in Singapore looking to purchase a property either for owner-occupation or investment no doubt have plenty of choices – from new launches, newly completed developments to resale properties.
While the decision of whether to buy a new launch or TOP project will mainly be influenced by your needs, such as whether you need the house urgently, or whether you can afford to wait. Experts say that it may be a good idea to consider TOP projects in our current market situation, as more condominium developers are offering incentives, discounts and even deferred payment schemes (DPS) to try and sell unsold units.
One example of the DPS allows buyers to pay a 20 percent option fee upon confirmation, and the balance 80 percent can be paid two years later.
“Other benefits of TOP projects for buyers include lesser waiting time for the development to be built, ability to inspect the actual property before committing to a purchase, and freedom to move in immediately without the need to look for alternative living options while the unit is being completed,” said Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty.
For those considering TOP projects, here are some enticing attributes about them that will likely win you over.
Available right away
One of the main reasons why buyers pick TOP projects over new launches is the fact that the development and facilities are already completed, and buyers can move in almost immediately, which is great for those who are planning to get married and set up a home as compared to a new launch, which will take a few years to build.
In addition, a TOP project also presents the opportunity of purchasing a unit at a sold-out development, by buying over from another buyer who no longer wishes to own the unit – this is called a sub-sale.
What you see is what you get
Truth be told, often what home buyers see in a showflat may not be an actual representation of what the completed project will be like. We’ve heard countless stories from home buyers who were disappointed that the actual completed project pales in comparison to what they saw in the showflat. As such, it might be a better idea to shop for TOP projects, as you can be assured that what you see is exactly what you’ll get.
“For a TOP project, the buyer has the added advantage of being able to see the unit for him/herself, reducing the probability of unexpected situations, for example, the unit is smaller than expected, a different view, different finishing etc,” shared Wong Xian Yang, Assistant Director Research & Consultancy at OrangeTee.
Sharing similar sentiments, Eugene Lim, Key Executive Officer at ERA Realty Network said, “Buying a TOP project allows the buyer to view the actual unit before committing to a purchase – buyers will not have to use their imagination but will get to see and touch the actual unit, the fixtures and fittings. They will also be able to appreciate the view and orientation of the unit.”
Immediate returns on investment
“For investors, purchasing a TOP project will allow them to enjoy rental yield soon after the collection of the keys where the rental can offset the cost of the purchase or mortgage instalments. Those who wish to rent out properties immediately should consider TOP units in the areas where the infrastructure has already been carried out as this brings higher yield from the beginning,” said Ismail.
Furthermore, with the implementation of the DPS, buyers only need to place a down payment of 20 percent and they can rent it out immediately, allowing them to earn two years worth of rent before even having to make the first loan repayment.
One-year defects liability period
Ismail added that another drawcard for buyers considering TOP projects is the defects liability period. “The defects liability period (offered by the developers), which begins from the date the TOP is obtained, ensures that developers are contractually obliged to rectify, at their own expense, any genuine defects in the property. This offers buyers a guarantee that they are purchasing a unit in good working order.”
Common defects checklist
- Uneven layering of floor tiles: Check for hollow tiles, hairline cracks, chips or discolouring.
- Water flow: Be sure to check the shower areas to ensure that the drainage is working properly and water ponding does not occur. For the kitchen basin and other sinks, make sure there is no chokage.
- Carpentry: Check for any defects in the carpentry. Make sure the doors are properly aligned, and check for rust.
- Windows/Doors: One of the first things to do when you enter your new home is to open and close all the windows and doors to make sure it is working smoothly. Make sure to test the locks and if the keys can open them easily.
- Toilets: Ensure that the toilet can flush well. Also, check for any cracks on the toilet bowl.
- Walls: Check for cracks or water seepage.
What else to look out for?
“Similarly, with any new properties, it is important for buyers to look out for these factors before purchasing a TOP project: the reputation of the developer, right entry price, and is the location best suited for your needs.
For those purchasing for home stay, the proximity of the unit to amenities and transportation networks would definitely be an advantage. Those with families would also be more attracted to projects which are near established schools.
For investors looking for good rental yield, they can engage the assistance of a real estate salesperson to help analyse the surrounding projects and their rental yield and capital appreciation, to ascertain the attractiveness and potential of the selected TOP project,” Ismail added.