May 19, 2010

what to look out when buying an apartment/condo

I have always wanted to write a short guide about buying apartments/properties, but have the reservation to do it. The main reason is, there have been many good guides out there written by savvy professionals who are more experienced than I can ever be (I know nuts about buying/selling properties), and they probably are gonna laugh at my ass for writing craps that they know best. But today, I decided to say ‘fuck them’, and write it anyway, because I have nothing to do at work today. So here you go.

Water pressure.
When you want to buy an apartment/condo, make it a habit to check the water pressure. Water pressure is fucking important. I’ve seen places with water pressure lower than my own piss and it is basically impossible to use a shower at all, especially those with a water heater… unless you get one with a built in pressure pump. Bathing and washing with low water pressure is just the saddest thing ever and you have to make sure you don’t pay for that.

Balcony / main entrance is in a direct line
I think this has to do with fengshui in a scientific aspect, I don’t know. When the balcony is directly opposite the main entrance, it will give an easier path for the air to pass, thus will give the place an ‘airy’ feel and in turn, better ventilation. I’ve been to apartments/condos with poor ventilation, and boy do they stink and musty. And for some weird reason if the apartment/condo you’re looking at does not have a balcony, don’t buy it.

Waste disposal system
Many modern apartments/condos do not come with a garbage chute like what we have in the old days. The tenant will have to dispose the trash at the dump located somewhere out of the apartment compound, which causes the elevator to stink like hell after a period of time. Quite contrary to popular belief that this is the ‘modern way’ to dispose trash, trust me, it is not. The reason for that is cost. It costs more to construct garbage chutes, and also to widen the road for garbage truck access. So to minimize cost and maximize profit, most greedy developers opt for this ‘bring out your own trash’ solution. Not a good idea. If possible, find an apartment/condo with garbage chutes. It is more convenient, and you won’t get to smell other people’s trash in the elevator everyday.

The number of elevators
Enough elevators for your block, that is. I’ve been to an apartment with 2 elevators, but fuckloads of floors and tenants. I had to wait longer than the wait for a public bus just to haul my ass up to the desired floor. And I also hate to smell some assholes or old people with strong BO in the elevator, and the fucking elevator would keep stopping at every goddamn floor just because the block does not have enough elevators. I’d blame this on greedy developers. Make a rough calculation. How many floors and units versus the number of elevators – you’d get the rough idea how many people are going to use the elevator during the peak hour spike.

Proximity of places of worship
I’m going to be honest here – if there’s a mosque, Chinese or Indian temple, church nearby, there’s a high chance that you’re not going to live a peaceful life there. Mosques will wake you up. I lived next to a mosque before, but I had no problem with that because I needed to wake up early and it kinda helped me – but I can’t imagine if I were to have an infant who needs an ample amount of sleep then. It would be catastrophic. Chinese/Indian temple – when they have celebrations like July hungry ghost festival or Thaipusam, you’d get the effect of a hundred mosques combined. And also, you’d get all these incense fumes etc. Church – you’d get assholes parking haphazardly around because they wanted to be with their god and they do it every Sunday just to make sure your weekend is fucked. Ergo, places of worship = troubles. So, in my opinion, it is best that a residential area/building has at least a 2km buffer from ANY place-of-worship. If you believe in god, then you must also believe that his wide-area-network extends beyond that measly 2 – 3km. (he covers the whole planet goddamnit!)

Proximity of a vacant land
A vacant land next to your apartment building is like a sleeping volcano waiting to erupt. Why? You don’t fucking know what are they going to do with that piece of land. If someday someone decides to build a fucking highway through it, there goes your property value. Or a water treatment plant to stink up the air quality (my father in law learnt this lesson before). Or another bigger condo with not enough parking space that causes its tenants to double park the fuck up the entire street. Or even, a place of worship! Your happiness level will be summarized in a 2 syllable word : HAILAT. Look out for those.

Proximity of a school
If you want to have a good life, you should avoid living near a school like a plague. For one, the school buses are going to fuck the air quality up real bad. Secondly, the parents are going to fuck up the traffic, really really bad. Thirdly, the school children are going to fuck up the neighborhood (vandalism, gangsterism, mat-rempitism, etc). If you want to live near a school, make sure the apartment has a helipad and provides free helicopter service to bypass the fucked up traffic with a helicopter – otherwise, it’s not worth considering.


That’s about it, the important ones. I’m sure there are many more, which you can read them off the net. But these, are stuff that none of those people are going to tell you. You’ll have to thank me for that.

Related post –
what to look out when buying an apartment/condo – part 2
what to look out when buying an apartment/condo – part 3

michaelooi  | thoughts  | 

10 Comments to “what to look out when buying an apartment/condo”

  1. Ryan says:

    I would like to add a few:

    (1) high maintenance fee – I have came across condos/apartments that charges up to RM300 of maintenance fee!! Pening

    (2) too near to hypermarkets like Tesco, Jusco, etc.

    (3) opposite terrace houses. Why? because they always fucking renovate their home and while apartments have timeframe when you can and cannot renovate there is none for terrace houses. I have came across renovations even on sundays up till wee hours. tiuuuu…

  2. Ryan says:

    (4) too near to restaurants. unless you like to have rats and cockroaches as your neighbor.

  3. michaelooi says:

    I think the amount of maintenance fee is based on the level of amenities you have and also the area of your apartment. You pay what you get. As for your 4th point, I don’t think renovation from a landed house could be an issue for a high rise building dweller… if you know what I mean. The rest I tarak comment.

  4. Mobi says:

    Mike, I would give you a score of 9 out of 10 for your valuable guide about buying apartments. I have a few points to suggests, which you may want to add to your great guide before sending them out to a printing shop.

    1) Avoid low density gated community unless you are willing to pay extremely high maintenance fee in return for privacy. There apartments with less than 20 units within a gated zone. It only make sense to achieve an economy of scale in order to ensure that maintenance fee per household is not overpriced.

    2) Many apartments & condos are constructed with 1 car parking bay allocation per household. In our modern society, the average number of cars per household is 2. Unless you don’t mind parking your car by the side of the road and walk 200m to the security checkpoint of your apartment under rain or shine, get an apartment with 2 car parking bays.

    3) If you have a large family, it is worthwhile to check the size of the smallest room in the apartment, particularly those 3-rooms apartment. You may discover that the room is too mini for you to even fit in a single bed and a wardrobe.

    4) Never buy apartments located next to a busy road. Often you will notice that apartments and landed houses located by a busy road have their windows shut all the time. It is not that the owner can afford to turn-on the air conditioning unit but to keep their home clean and quiet. The owner is trying hard to keep the dust, fumes and noise of lorries, Bas Kilang and Ah Beng’s motorcycle from penetrating your home.

    5) If your are buying an apartment through sub-sale. You do not want Banglas to be your neighbors. Of course, you can’t possibly know who your neighbors would be next week. But at least try to verify before you purchase the unit.

    6) Get apartments with ceiling height of at least 10ft. You don’t want to imagine your neighbors dragging a wooden chair right over your head.

  5. Well said my friend…

  6. frankie says:

    Rent, don’t buy, do your calculation, the mortgage interest fucked u up high and dry. Don’t like the location, noise, dust or the fuckface neighbour, just move away.

    Actually it is not worth it, apartment in Penang island is too overpriced and too over glamourised. And it is too fucking crowded with too few parking space and with the many kiasu vehicles owners, it is just too much fucking stress.

  7. poker says:

    check for water marks that indicate leakages.

    I know of cases where leakages were not repaired for an extended period of time because the chee bye kia upstairs disclaimed his responsibility.

    There are also cases where the person living upstairs is willing to pay to sort out the mess but numerous plumber were not able to locate the source hence unable to do the repair. After many months, it was discovered that the leakage occured at the 14th floor and all the way down to the 8th floor.

    I was told by contractors that this is a major problem to avoid.

  8. michaelooi says:

    Mobi – There you go. The conventional points, readily off the net.

    dangerous – Thanks.

    frankie – What you said is true, but depending on how you look at it, Penang could be a good spot for you to exploit, if you know what I mean. If you don’t, then never mind.

    poker – Yep, my aunt kena from a cheebye Indian neighbor upstairs. Refuse to pay for anything. Real sad case.

  9. […] of my favourite bloggers, Michael Ooi dished out some pointers on what you should look out for when buying an apartment or condo unit. All very good and solid points indeed, especially the part on the water pressure. I can tell you […]

  10. gapnap says:


    To those guys who are trying to tell michael those logical shit he should add in his article .
    ….You totally don’t get the point of his post and his blog .

    Okay dude , i said it for you .

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