Buying A New Launch Condo? Here Are 5 Tips On How To Select A Good Unit


July 2, 2024

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Buying A New Launch Condo? Here Are 5 Tips On How To Select A Good Unit

After navigating the market for the right new launch project to purchase, there is one more shortlisting process you will need to think about. Which unit within the project should you select? 

Choosing a good unit is not only a strategy for future exit plans, but also to ensure that your time invested with the property is well spent. If you are intending to live in the unit for a couple of years then you would likely want a quieter facing with a good view. Or if you intend to rent out the unit, then perhaps you would want to lower your investment cost and not pay a premium for a higher floor unit. Depending on your objective of the new launch purchase, the factors you would consider will differ.

The last thing you would want is striking the new launch lottery of balloting queue No.1 and selecting a unit which may not reap the benefits that you thought it would. And if you are not as lucky as Mr No.1 to receive a queue number in the top percentile, perhaps these factors are more crucial for you to consider when selecting from the balance units available. Whatever your queue number is, we got you covered with these tips to select a good unit.

1. Find the Biggest Units

It is a general rule of thumb that the biggest units in any development is usually where developers place the most emphasis on. Why? Simply because they are likely the most expensive units available. Bigger square footage equals bigger price tag. And with that bigger price tag, one would expect intrinsic attributes to match that price tag. 

Take the site map of Grand Dunman for reference. At a single glance, you would immediately notice a block of units which is very much separated from the rest of the blocks. Block 2 of Grand Dunman is the developer’s “Grand” offering of stacks, while the other blocks have been named the “Luxury” series. Stacks 01 and 02 is where you will find the largest 4-Bedroom and 5-Bedroom units available in Grand Dunman.

However it seems counter-intuitive for these stacks to be the most premium stacks given that they are exposed to the dreaded west sun and have an obstructed view from the HDB blocks ahead of their balcony. But if you do get a high enough unit overlooking the HDB blocks ahead, what you will be heading home to is a sunset over our National Stadium and the Central Business District (CBD) skyline. Does this mean that you should go for the largest 4 or 5-Bedroom unit at stack 01 and 02?

Well, it is not called a tip if there is no actual benefit right? Instead of going for the largest 4-Bedroom available from the “Grand” series, you can consider 4-Bedroom units from the “Luxury” series at stacks 17, 56 and 57. Not only will you be able to dodge the direct west sun exposure from your living room, you will also be able to enjoy the internal view towards the pool or an unblocked landed facing towards East Coast Park. Furthermore, you get to enjoy the skyline view from an angle for occasions like National Day Parade or New Year’s countdown. This will allow you to save the premium on the “Grand” series and keep the quantum purchase for a lower square footage within your budget range. 

For 3-Bedroom participants, fret not, you too have an opportunity at the amazing skyline view at stack 18 for one of the most compact 3-Bedroom layouts in Grand Dunman at 958 sqft. However, this stack will also be exposed to the traffic noise along Dunman Road. 

2. Find the Gaps  

Speaking of compact layouts, that brings us to our next tip – selecting the right layout. Choosing the right layout for your objective is paramount in your new launch purchase. Not just for investment purposes, but also for your own well-being if you are living in the unit after the project is completed. 

Referencing this 1-Bedroom + Study unit in Sora, at a glance, it may just seem like you are getting a 1-Bedroom with a large-sized master bedroom. But it has the potential of creating an additional bedroom by partitioning up the living area. Of course, by doing so, you will be left with a minimal living and dining space, but the upside is that you have just turned your 1 Bed 1 Bath rental investment into a 2 Bed 1 Bath unit. This allows you to potentially fetch a higher rental from tenants who prioritise the extra bedroom or possibly giving you the option for two separate tenants.

Buying smaller for larger incentives may not always be the right choice for everyone. These are the compact 3-Bedroom layouts available in The LakeGarden Residences. On the left you have an efficient dumbbell layout at 926 sqft and on the right you have a 1,012 sqft unit with a more conventional layout. 

At first glance, choosing the 926 sqft dumbbell layout seems to be a no-brainer. But upon further consideration, you would notice that the main door for the 926 sqft unit opens up directly to the living and dining area where it is in full view. On the 1,012 sqft unit, you have an angled entrance to maintain the privacy of your unit when leaving the door open for ventilation. 

One other consideration for these two layouts will also be the bathrooms. On the 926 sqft unit, the master bathroom does not come with a ventilation window while the common bathroom does. Both bathrooms in the 1,012 sqft unit have ventilation windows provisioned. In our hot and humid country, we all know the importance of a ventilation window. Of course, these are not detrimental considerations for the 926 sqft unit and nothing a ventilation fan system cannot solve (unless it’s a deal breaker for you). 

The 926 sqft unit will also allow you to have a cost savings of close to $200,000 based on the same Price Per Square Foot (PSF), assuming $2,000 PSF for the 86 sqft difference. For future exit strategies and potential, even with the smaller price tag for the 926 sqft unit, some buyers may still prioritse the larger 1,012 sqft unit for the enhanced privacy and ventilation window. All these considered, which 3-Bedroom layout will you choose? 

3. Consider the Surroundings (URA Master Plan) 

Sometimes we dive so deeply within a project, we overlook considering the surroundings. If you recognise the Master Plan map above, yes, it is none other than J’den, one of the best-performing new launch projects of 2024 with over 90% of its units sold. 

As it currently stands, the north facing units of J’den are towards the MRT track which may not be as preferred due to noise concerns. But with the buffer distance from the track and considering that the trains entering Jurong East MRT Interchange are slow-approaching due to the multiple tracks, the noise concern may not be substantiated. On the other side, south facing units will likely be exposed to future construction noise. There is a large span of white sites being slated for development towards the southern direction of J’den with some plots being released for tender

Southern facing units would potentially enjoy unblocked views towards Pandan reservoir and overlooking the sea on the horizon for units on the higher floor. But with the new plots released and the plot ratio of these land lots being bigger than the plot J’den sits on, there may potentially be taller structures obstructing the views towards the south. Nothing is confirmed at the moment with proposals being considered for the cohesive use of 6.5 hectares of land, but this could be a potential downside for the south facing units. 

In reference to warnings from your overly concerned parents when you were younger to always be careful of your surroundings, in this context, it pays to be careful of your surroundings. 

4. Hunting for Good Buys between Floor Levels

The balloting process can be a very nerve-wracking period. You have your choice of stacks selected, and it will give you a beautiful unblocked view, but how high should you go before you pay an overly big premium?

Developers usually price units with a differential for each level as you go higher. Although the cost of the materials to build each unit should hypothetically be the same, the price differential seems to get larger as you move up the stack. For the obvious reason that the higher you go, the better the view. 

For the units at stack 23 in Lentor Hills Residences, the price differential starts at $10,000 per level between the first 7 levels. But the price differential starts to see a larger jump at $20,500 per level between levels 7 and 9. Subsequently, it reduces back to $11,000 per level between levels 11 and 12. 

If you are in the position of choosing a mid level unit, you will now be faced with the dilemma of going for the level 7 unit to avoid the larger price differential jump. Or go for a higher unit on level 13 because you have already crossed the $20,500 price differential barrier and you want to make the most out of paying that bigger premium.

If you are prioritising going for a higher floor unit to get better views, then there is little to consider, go forth (or in this context, go up) and get the best you can afford. But if you are hunting for a sweet spot, the unit on level 7 would unlikely have vastly different views from level 9 and you could potentially sell it off in the future for the same price tag as your 9th floor companion, reaping slightly more appreciation out of your purchase. 

5. Hunting for Good Buys Between Unit Types  

Hunting for price differentials does not pertain to only floor levels, but also within layout types. 

Buyers who are interested in Hillock Green are faced with a dilemma of either going for the 1,066 sqft 3 Bedroom + Study unit or the 1,184 sqft 4-Bedroom unit. A 3 + Study layout essentially serves the same functions of a 4-Bedroom layout depending on how you utilise the additional rooms. If you have a budget of about $2.6M, you will have 2 options in Hillock Green. A super high 23rd floor 3-bedroom + Study unit or still relatively high 16th floor 4-bedroom unit. For buyers at Hillock Green, a budget of $2.4M would be a tougher position at deciding between a 16th floor 3 + study or 2nd floor 4-bedroom. 

Technically, you would be getting more square footage for the same buy in price which means a lower PSF cost for you. But you will not be enjoying the same views between the 2nd floor and 16th floor. 

Final Thoughts

Congratulations Mr Queue No.1, these are the 5 tips on selecting a good unit at a new launch project. You are now ready to make full extensive use of your luck to get first dibs on a brand new development. 

As our present to you, here is an additional BONUS TIP to you. If you are visiting the showflat during the preview period of any new launch, you don’t have to go on the preview weekend. Visit after you have read the reviews of the new launch project you are deciding on. With all the content being generated by real estate agents and other real estate market enthusiasts, you will likely find all the information you would need for your consideration. 

If you don’t see any content released online for a project, fret not. Just stay tuned to our PLB New Launch Studio review and we’ll be sure to get you covered before balloting day. Alternatively, if you still can’t wait, then you can also connect with us here. Our PLB Consultants, with their wealth of knowledge and experience, stand ready to offer you a personalised consultation session. 

AND! Get ready for the ultimate new condo showcase: PLB x Seedly New Launch Convention 2024! View and compare more than 80+ New Launch condominiums in Singapore through this one-stop expo for investors and homebuyers.
If you’re still on the fence and considering a new launch property, this is the best place to be! Join us this July 7th at Suntec Convention Centre, Hall 404 and gain access to PLB’s latest investment strategies and exclusive frameworks for choosing the right condo. Early bird tickets are now available here:

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