5 Things to check in a resale home before you buy it

Buying a home is tedious. Buying a resale home is even more so. From hunting for a good unit in a good location, to settling all the paper works, there are tons of things you need to take care of.  But none of these really matter if the resale house you are ready to buy is just not worth what you are paying for.

So then, how do we know if the house is really worth the bucks?

Interior Designer: Phuoc Cong Truong

As you might already know by now, you need to check if the general location of the house is alright, in terms of the facilities, the amenities and the neighbourhood. But, that aside, let’s also not forget to check the insides of the house as well. Because after all, this determines the happy index of your stay in your new home.

So, here are the 5 things you die-die-must-check in that resale house, before you buy it!

In which direction are the windows of the house facing?

If the last thing you want is the scorching afternoon sun heating up your home, then avoid houses that are east or west facing. And, if you hate dark and gloomy houses, avoid North or South facing units as well.

So, which direction should the ideal house be facing? South-east or north-east.

These homes tend to get the indirect morning sun (which is bright but not too hot) and get a cooler afternoon, so you don’t have to come back to a hot home after a day’s work. Which also means, you don’t need to burst your electricity bills with having the aircon on all the time! For those of us buying a resale flat, find out more about how to select a good unit here!

Interior Designer: Nemanja Topic

Where are the lights in the resale house?

The next thing you need to check are the existing lights in the house. You wouldn’t want a house that’s too gloomy. So, if you can, visit the resale house at least 2 times, once during the day and another during the night. This helps you gauge whether the house has enough natural sunshine in the day and whether it requires heavy lighting (and a bigger electricity bill) at night time.

Another point that many resale home buyers forget to consider is how the wiring of the existing lights are getting concealed. If many of the wires in the house are concealed behind a false ceiling or a permanent wall feature, then be prepared to pay extra for the rewiring costs. You may even end up needing to hack the false ceilings down when doing the re-wiring. If you’re not a fan of wasting money this way, go for houses where the wiring is neatly concealed non-permanently along the walls and ceilings.

Interior Designer: Tamara Gavric

Are there any awkward corners in the house?

Of course, you also shouldn’t miss considering whether there are any awkward corners in the house. For instance, are there any sharp corners that could end up as wasted space? Or perhaps, are there tight corridors that make you feel claustrophobic? Or, are there awkward structural pillars blocking the clear pathway in the house?

Although we can always redesign the resale home around these awkward corners, it is still good to first think through about whether you can make do with them, before you buy the property.

Interior Designer: Nguyen Thi Thu Huong

What will the current owner be leaving behind?

The next time you encounter a resale homeowner that’s willing to leave behind a lot of stuff, don’t be too happy just yet. It is always a good thing to check that what they are leaving behind is in good condition. Otherwise, you will end up incurring additional removal or hacking costs to do away with them.

So, here are some of the common things previous homeowners like to leave behind, and what you can check:


Replacing the flooring can get costly. So, if you like the flooring of a resale house and intend to keep it as it is, be sure to check on its condition. If you are looking at ceramic tiles, do check if the grout between the tiles is dirty beyond repair, and if there are any chipped tiles. For parquet or wood flooring, keep a look out for dents, discolouration or scratches on the flooring. Check out this infographic for more flooring selection tips!

Interior Designer: Jelena Radomirovic

Built-in cabinets in the bedroom, bathroom and the kitchen

If you see any built-in carpentry in the resale home that you are viewing, check with the owner if he intends to leave them behind. In most cases, homeowners will want to leave these built-in cabinets and other carpentry behind. Because after all, it saves them the hassle of having to remove them for you. If you are intending to reuse them, do check if there are any damages on the cabinet that might render them unusable.

For kitchen tops, you should also check for the material used (e.g. Quartz), to see if the material quality can withstand heat (for cooking purposes). For bedroom wardrobes that are made of veneer wood, do check if there are any parts of the veneer layer that is popping out or dented in, as such damages are harder to repair.

Interior Designer: Phuoc Cong Truong

Air-con units

If the previous home owner is leaving behind the air-con units, be sure to check on the brand and model of the air-con to see if they are electricity-bill friendly.  The ideal ones are those with a higher energy efficient rating.

You should also check on the servicing dates of the aircon. Prolonged usage of air-con without regular servicing can lead to leaking problems, which will require cleaning services and even a full replacement. Even if the air-con looks to be in good condition, with no apparent leakage, a unit that is not regularly serviced will be less energy efficient. Which means higher electricity bills, but lower air-con performance.

So, don’t get too happy that there’s already an air-con unit in the resale house. Always run a check on how good the aircon is, and whether the said aircon units are suitable for your home needs. Otherwise, you might end up having to buy a new set altogether.

Wall-papered walls

Wall-papered walls can look gorgeous. But before you sign the deal, checkout when the wall papers were installed. A good quality wall paper can last around 10 years. So, if the wall paper is almost as old, then you might want to consider the wall-paper repair / repainting costs needed. But, of course, what’s more important is to make sure the previous homeowner has not installed the wall paper simply to conceal cracks or damages in the wall.

Interior Designer: Yulia Vishnya

Will the location of the house cause any issue?

The last thing to check is whether there could be any potential issues caused by the location of the house. For instance, having a sea-view house may be nice, but the salty sea wind can also cause issues like metal corrosion and wall paint easily peeling off.  And, a house close to a highway might easily cause noise and dust pollution. So, before you seal the deal, always keep a look out for the surroundings around the neighbourhood.

Interior Designer: Maryna Vaseiko

So, knowing these 5 things to check, when then is the best time to give the resale house a visit? If you can, visit the resale house at least 2 times, once during the day of a weekday and the second visit, during a weekend night. Visiting the house during  both day and night time helps you gauge whether the house has enough natural sunshine in the day and whether it requires heavy lighting at night time. Giving the house a visit during both weekdays and weekends can help you gauge the neighbourhood crowd during both peak and non-peak periods.

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