5 Typical First-Time Homeowner Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid
5 December, 2023 by
5 Typical First-Time Homeowner Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid
Mindlink Groups, Admin

Embarking on homeownership is a significant milestone, but it comes with its share of challenges. Learn from others' regrets to navigate this journey more smoothly. Here are some valuable insights to avoid common pitfalls:

  1. Obtaining your OTP prior to loan acceptance

It's essential to exercise caution when contemplating signing the Option to Purchase (OTP) before securing loan approval. While some may believe in the possibility of obtaining bank approval within the stipulated 21 days, it's crucial to recognize that such instances are exceptions rather than the norm. The associated risks are significant, encompassing both the forfeiture of your deposit and the potential loss of the intended property.

By obtaining your OTP before loan approval, you not only display unwarranted optimism but also subject yourself to substantial financial jeopardy. In the event that your OTP expires without the completion of the necessary financial arrangements, the seller retains the prerogative to sell the property to another buyer.

Emphasizing the paramount importance of prudence in such matters, it is strongly advised to secure loan approval from either HDB or the bank before affixing your signature to the OTP. This strategic approach mitigates risks and ensures a more secure pathway to the realization of your homeownership aspirations.

  1. Neglecting hidden expenses

In the intricate dance of home negotiation, it's easy to get swept up in the excitement and overlook the concealed expenses tied to homeownership. While renovating your new abode allows for some flexibility based on personal preferences, non-negotiable costs are deserving of careful consideration. These encompass:

Buyer Stamp Duty: For a $500k property, this may reach approximately $9,600. Detailed rates can be explored further.

Home Insurance Fees: Complimentary for the first year through Ohmyhome.

Fire Insurance Fees: Around $5.50 for a 5-year term.

Legal Fees: Ranging from $1,800 to $3,000 with a bank, while HDB fees hinge on the selling price, with a minimum of $20.

HDB Service and Conservancy Charges (or Condo Maintenance Fees): $20-$80 for HDBs, escalating to about $300-$800 for condos.

Agent Commissions: Typically at 2%, translating to approximately $10,000 for a $500k home. 

These concealed costs wield substantial influence over your financial stability and can significantly impact your decision-making process. Recognizing and factoring them in ensures a more comprehensive understanding of your financial commitment to homeownership.

  1. Choices that will last 

Plan ahead for a future upgrade! Look beyond your new home's four walls. Consider the neighborhood's vibe, upcoming amenities, and future developments. The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan is your go-to guide, outlining the next 10-15 years of development. This helps you gauge your neighborhood's potential, assess family-friendliness, and ensure your space can adapt to life changes, like expanding for a growing family. Smart choices today mean a brighter, upgraded tomorrow! 

  1. Costly Renovations

Avoid the renovation money pit! As a new homeowner, the excitement is real, and the desire for a perfect space is understandable. But overspending on renovations can haunt you later. Think ahead: if it's a short-term stay, hefty renovations might strain your finances when home loans come knocking. Prioritize needs over wants, set a budget, and be pragmatic. A stunning home loses its charm if you're drowning in bills. Keep it lean, keep it smart! 

5. Being aware of the market

Be market-savvy for a savvy home buy! Know your subsidies, grants, and transaction prices. Don't guess – research! Explore the neighborhood during viewings, check amenities, and compare shortlisted units. Market knowledge isn't just about prices; it's about financial tools. Renovation loans exist – why go for higher-interest personal loans? Research thoroughly, cherry-pick your resources, and make informed, money-smart choices for your new home!

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