What All New Homeowners Need To Know After Key Collection

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After a long wait, you’ve finally collected the keys to your new home and are simply exhilarated to start a new chapter of your life. But this new house you’ve been patiently waiting for could turn have a few hidden traps. From reports of homeowners coping with the stench of sewage in their new Executive condominium (EC), to common complaints of severe water damage and flooring issues for Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, there are numerous potential housing defects to take note of during the first few visits to your new lair.

Defects in new property developments

Contrary to popular belief, new homes may not be in pristine condition. It pays to first do a thorough check on your new property for any structural defects as all completed units are covered by the 1-year Deflects Liability Period (DLP).

All new HDB homeowners are provided with a defect feedback form to be submitted within 7 days after you have collected your keys. HDB will then arrange for an inspection and will fix and cover the any defects found before you start your own renovation works. This process generally takes about 2 weeks.

For private homeowners, housing defects should be reported directly to the developer and they will bear all costs for repairs within 1 month of receiving the homeowner’s complaints. Alternatively, you may choose to hire an external contractor upon providing a 2 weeks’ notice to the developer. Any cost incurred can be billed to the developer.

Tools to bring

Here are some useful tools to have while combing through your new house for any defects:

  • Tape and markers: Use masking tape to indicate defects, and markers to write down a description of the problem. You could also come up with a colour scheme: red marker for serious defects and yellow for minor ones which will let the HDB contractors know which problems to focus on.
  • Coins or marbles: Detect hollow spots on floor tiles by tapping on it using a coin or marble.
  • LED Plug-in light: To make sure that all electrical sockets are functional.
  • Spirit level: To make sure that doors and windows are properly aligned and upright.
  • Camera: To have your own visual documentation of any reported defects.

You could also seek further assistance and advice from Building Service Centres.

Planning for renovation

Now that your new house is good to go, it’s time to start renovations to achieve your dream home.

Planning for renovation is an exciting but overwhelming experience. Here are some simple guidelines to help make renovations a smoother process:

  • Research on contractors: Take a look at customer reviews and company websites to determine the workmanship and reliability before hiring. You could refer to HDB for the list of Registered Renovation Contractors (RRC).
  • Break down of quotation: Once you’ve selected a contractor, it’s important to know what you’re paying for. Discuss renovation quotations based on your objectives and make sure that the quotation clearly indicates details to avoid any future disputes.
  • Signing of contract: A work schedule should be provided indicating a timeline for each completed phase of the renovation. Make sure that there is a warranty is included and lastly to only make payment in stages upon successful completion of each phase of the renovation.
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