Moving from a flat to a landed property means more freedom as a homeowner. However, there are new expenses and responsibilities that you'll need to take into consideration to enjoy these properties to the fullest.
Landed properties, from terrace houses to good class bungalows (GCBs) are coveted for many reasons, including steadier capital appreciation, more space (including outdoor space) and better privacy. However, while the upsides can convince you to pay the extra million or two, landed properties also come with added responsibilities that weren't required when you were living in a condo. These responsibilities may also cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars as well, so it is prudent to make sure you budget accordingly when buying your landed property. So what is it that you'll have to pay for? We explore a few of the new costs below.
1. Gardening and Landscaping
Now that you have a landed property, you also have outdoor space. Gardens and yards can offer great opportunities to create a private outdoor oasis right in your own home. However, landscaping does come at a significant cost, especially if you are looking to do major renovations that require a professional. The average cost of a landscaper is S$41/hour, but you'll also have to accommodate room in your budget for the materials like the soil, stones, shrubbery and trees. The cost of the materials will vary as well. While you can save on costs by opting for common shrubs and inexpensive materials, luxurious and rare materials can cost you thousands more. For instance, rare and meticulously grown Japanese bonsai plants can cost as much as S$70,000.
Landscapers and gardeners may also be required for routine upkeep. Gardeners will be able to trim your shrubbery, mow the lawn, pull out weeds to keep your garden healthy and beautiful on a weekly or biweekly basis. Of course, you always have the option to do the gardening yourself if the foundation of your garden is already there. In this case, you'll have to invest in the plants and the gardening tools. You can buy plants from nurseries or rescue a second-hand plant from sites like Carousell. Typically, large trees will cost the most, ranging from S$5 for saplings to a few thousand dollars for mature varieties. Smaller shrubs like ferns and groundcovers are much cheaper, typically costing S$10-S$30 per plant. You'll also need gardening tools like trowels and shears, which can be bought at nurseries or e-commerce sites like Lazada for roughly S$20 per tool.
Unlike a condo or HDB flat, the exterior of your house is your responsibility. One of the most important parts of the home's exterior that will be your responsibility is the roof. Roof issues that may occur include loose shingles, water damage, thermal shock (UV ray) or physical debris damage. You can spot roof damage if you notice that your roof is cracked, curled or is missing shingles, has peeling paint or clogged/slow draining gutters. On the inside of your home, you should watch for dark spots, sagging, dripping water and spots where the light shines through. If the roof damage is causing damage to the inside of your home, you can temporarily seal the hole while waiting for your contractor to arrive. To do this, you can contain the leak by putting a bucket under the leak and sealing the ceiling with putty.
The amount you'll have to pay for roof repair depends on the extent of the damage and the type of roof you have. If your roof is under 15 years of age, then roof damage may be spot repaired. According to Le Fong Building Services, it will cost around S$200 to fix a roof tile. However, if you have a more severe issue like a sagging roof, then it can cost between S$1,000-S$2,000 for an additional joist or rafter, or up to S$12,000 to repair the entire roof.
3. Home Repairs After Monsoons
While Singapore has been spared many natural disasters that affect other ASEAN nations, like earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires, monsoons can still cause quite a bit of damage to homes. In fact, research has shown that since 2000, flooding has cost Singaporeans USD $23.8 million and damaged 550 homes. While HDBs and condos are usually built with preventative measures in mind, landed properties may still have weak points that will be your responsibility to rectify. Prior owners' renovations or builds may not necessarily have been used with the best materials to prevent flood damage.
Areas Prone To Higher Flooding in Singapore
Data Source: FloodList (Copernicus, the European system for Earth monitoring)
In this case, you may need to do preventative renovations and get materials ready for the monsoon season if you live in a particularly flood-prone zone. For instance, while wood floors and walls may be beautiful, they will hold up worse than concrete, ceramic, clay terrazzo and pressure-treated rubber if flooding occurs. You should also install floor boards, insulate cracks in the foundation and remove electrical panels that are on the ground.
Easy Ways to Save When Owning a Landed Property
Owning a landed property is expensive, even for wealthy homeowners. However, there are plenty of ways to reduce your bills without sacrificing the quality of goods and services you put into your home. The most important thing you can do to save on your property is to invest in a high value home insurance plan. Home insurance policies that are suitable for landed properties are those that have high limits on renovation and contents coverage, while also having high sub-limits for valuables like art and jewelry. This will ensure that when something in your home is damaged, your insurance will cover the costs and reduce your chances of paying out of pocket.
Next, you should compare contractors, interior designers and landscapers. While it is true that you get what you pay for, you should still have an idea of what the average cost is for these jobs. Some contractors and designers may simply overcharge for their services, making you think their high price corresponds to better quality work. Instead, you should find contractors that are licensed, interior designers or landscapers who have verified reviews and have a track record of listening and working with the homeowners.
Lastly, it's important to catch leaks and cracks before they become a larger problem. A leaky faucet is easy and inexpensive to fix, but leaving the problem hanging until it causes water or pipe damage is going to be more expensive. While keeping track of all the small fixes can be challenging in a home that's much larger, one option is to keep a checklist of everything that can be an issue in each room of the home and doing monthly or quarterly checks to make sure nothing is working improperly.
This article is brought to you by ValueChampion Singapore.