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"I am a BLOGGER NOT an expert. This is a BLOG not a 'go-to' website for official information. I represent no one's view save my own. I have neither legal nor financial training, nor do I have anything to do with the real estate industry. My understanding of the Collective Sale Process is from a layman's position only. My calculations, computations and tables are homespun and may contain errors. Please note that nothing in this blog constitutes any legal or financial advice to anyone reading it. You should refer to your lawyer, CSC or financial adviser for expert advice before making any decision. This disclaimer is applicable to every post and comment on the blog. Read at your own risk."
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There is one thing worse than an Enbloc ----- and that is an Enbloc done badly. Since the majority have the necessary mandate to sell, then they owe it to all SPs to make a success of it. Minority SPs can only watch and wait, if they sell then lets pray it's at a price we can move on with, if they don't sell, then we are happy to stay for a few more years.

RISING CONDO MAINTENANCE FEES



Rising labour and utilities costs, shortage of security guards and management pushing rates up
New condominiums offering a wide range of facilities like swimming pools, saunas, manicured gardens, children’s playgrounds and round-the-clock security can attract buyers like bees to honey.
But these facilities do not come free. Owners have to pay maintenance fees to upkeep them, even if they may never use the facilities.
And now that costs have generally risen, owners may have to be prepared for slightly higher fees ahead.
Nevertheless, experts say the fees are put to good use as they go towards maintaining the value of the property.
‘Nothing is free. If you are going to buy a condo unit but are not going to swim, you will still have to pay to help maintain the pool,’ said Mr Jordan Neo, managing director of Knight Frank Estate Management.
Industry experts say that rising labour and utilities costs, coupled with a shortage of licensed security guards and condo management staff, will contribute to rising fees.
This year, costs have already risen by about 5 per cent to 7 per cent, said Mr Chan Kok Hong, managing director of CKH Strata Management.
Mr Derek Soh, Jones Lang LaSalle’s head of property and asset management in South-east Asia, predicts that owners may have to pay about 3 to 5 per cent more in the coming year.
A landlord of a Grange Road apartment, Mr Eugene Goh, is not too happy about it: ‘I pay $1,000 every three months for my two-bedroom unit at Spring Grove. As to whether it is worth it, only my tenant can tell.
‘He comes screaming to me for help each time something is not working, even though he can approach the management office.’
But Mr Chan pointed out that it is important to understand that a property purchase is an investment, whether it is for rental or owner occupation.
‘A poorly maintained property will bring down the value of the property, resulting in a lower resale price or rental value,’ he said.
While many residents may not make use of the condo facilities, they will still want the pool, gardens and other areas to be well maintained, he said.
For those who do not wish to pay high maintenance fees, Mr Chan’s advice is: Buy units in condominiums that do not have so many facilities or elaborate water features and gardens, which can be costly to maintain.
‘These features and huge pools need water treatment, maintenance and frequent replacement of pumps. There’s also the cost of electricity for running the water features,’ he said.
Generally, the cost of maintenance is ‘directly proportional’ to the number of facilities that a condo has.
‘The fees at condos with elaborate clubhouses, air-conditioned karaoke and reading rooms, multi-purpose halls, saunas and bowling alleys are definitely going to cost more,’ Mr Chan said.
Buyers should know that these facilities require not only maintenance, but also the replacement of equipment.
The typical fees for a mass market condo unit with full facilities can be about $250 a month. But the fees for luxury condo units in districts 9 and 10 such as
Ardmore Park, Draycott 8 and The Claymore can be around $1,000 a month or more.
For instance, the monthly fee for the smallest unit at Draycott 8, said an owner, is $1,070. Draycott 8 owners are also paying for a concierge service, Knight Frank said.
Many properties in districts 9, 10 and 11 are kept for investment, and their owners are thus more willing to spend on maintenance, it said.
The fees in mass market condos are usually much lower as these tend to appeal to HDB flat upgraders, who are used to paying a moderate fee, it added. These are generally larger developments with many units, and the fee per unit is therefore lower because of economies of scale. Also, the standard of services provided can be expected to be lower than that in high-end condos.
For instance, a guard at the main entrance can cost $10 a unit for a 200-unit condo, or $20 a unit for a 100-unit condo, Mr Chan said.
Also, the fees are definitely higher in estates that boast private lifts for every unit, for example.
Condos with private lifts and air-conditioned lift lobbies can cost owners at least $150 more a month in fees.
Those buying new condos can get an estimate of the monthly fees from the developer. At the recent launch of The Minton, a large suburban condo in Lorong Ah Soo, maintenance fees have been estimated at $190 to $350 a month, depending on the size of the unit.
The fees in a private development are set by members of its management corporation strata title-owners who have been duly elected by the rest of the owners.
Besides maintenance fees, there is also the contribution to the sinking fund, which goes towards major expenses incurred in repairs and replacements like repainting the external walls, re-roofing and replacement of pumps.
Average Rates
Here is a rough guide to average condo maintenance fees per month:
· Mass market condos with more than 200 units: $200 to $300
· Mid-tier condos with fairly large grounds: $500 to $700
· Luxury-end condos: Around $1,000 or more
CKH Strata Management says there is no typical average sum for sinking fund contributions, though mass market condo owners usually contribute about $250 to $350 a month for maintenance and to the sinking fund.
Source : Sunday Times – 8 Aug 2010


Unless you have money to burn, these new condos with spurious facilities such as lap pools and water features can burn a hole in your pocket. They may look nice but are expensive to maintain and after a period of time start to look old and dated. Modern designs do not stay modern forever. On top of that, you have a higher plot ratio which translates into smaller common spaces crammed with larger numbers of people. Your idyllic weekend lounge around the pool might be more of a neighbour gawking session with 100 residents jockeying for the 10 available flat beds. You might end up having to do what German tourists do in popular holiday resorts.. come down at 6am and 'chope' the choice deck chairs and flatbeds before anyone else has even woken up!

 If you stay in Tampines Court, it is because you do not wish to have a pool and prefer to have a lower monthly maintenance fee. If you suddenly desire to be within a crowd then all you have to do is walk down to Tampines Mall. If you want a swim, then the Tampines Public Pool is near, Safra is down the road and many private clubs nearby if you care to join; Tanah Merah Country Club, Laguna Country Club, Changi sailing Club, Changi Golf Club and Changi Beach Club. Clubs also charge a monthly fee, but they have many facilities and of course, it is your choice whether to join or not.






Don't you get the impression that all new developments are looking pretty much the same nowadays? They all have that cookie-cutter look which used to be the preserve of city office blocks ; towers of glass and steel of little architectural interest. Gone are the unique designs which differentiated private from HDB and Office Blocks. Why, even new HDB are looking surprisingly like their private counterparts. Why is that? Is it because the HDB has upgraded its image or has the private sector downgraded theirs? Actually, it's both and they now pretty much occupy the same mould. It's becoming quite difficult to tell them apart. Can you spot which three are HDB in the above?

Developers would have you believe that modern designs and mickey mouse apartments and facilities are what buyers really want. People want to spend more on superfluous common property items at the expense of private living space. That people really want to live in close proximity to each other, that people like to be positioned 2 feet away from their flat tv screen on the wall. That waiting in line for the mechanised car lift is preferable to getting in your car and leaving the estate pronto. That you don't need a kitchen at all, all you need is a tiny space for your Bosch dishwasher and European hob. After all, modern families don't cook and certainly don't need a laundry area.

Developers would have you believe that quantum of price is more important than value for money. That if you only have $1million to spend; then they will pitch their smallest size at that  price  to maximise their profit. It used to be size determined the price, now it is price determines the size. For a million dollars; how low can they go - a limbo dance between size and quantum.

Developers go all out to woo buyers with words and pictures which are totally at odds with the final product. Of course it would not matter if you are an investor - churning the property perhaps before TOP - investors buy off the block with hardly a glance at the designs. It is normal market practice for potential buyers to hand over a blank, undated, signed cheque to the agent in order to secure a unit - any unit - in a popular new launch. 

But say you are not an investor, say you are merely someone looking for a single, new home. What do you make of the pictures, the hype, the showroom glitz? You either buy into the 'lifestyle' pitch or look on in amazement at how people completely lose all sense of proportion and leave their mental faculties at the door when entering a show flat. 

Here's a reality check:

It looks quite spacious!
If you bother to ask, you are quietly told that the models are not actually built to scale. 

The facilities are cool
Look again. Imagine what it will be like to actually live there. Can you live with the BBQ under your window? The noise generated from the pool 5 feet from your balcony? The endless waits for the mechanised carpark? The feeling of being enclosed?

The surrounding area is so green and lovely with not another building in sight!
No, it isn't.  Plot ratios of 2.8 and relaxed building rules means there will be very little buffer space between buildings in the same complex and between neighbouring complexes. Look at pics below of new developments in District 15 (taken from Chinese Swimming Club, Amber Rd)


20 comments:

  1. just curious, what are TC's maintenance charges and sinking fund contriubution?

    ReplyDelete
  2. http://www.tampinescourt.org/

    $148/month (incl GST)
    Free parking for first car
    562 above ground car park spaces
    Facilities: 24 hr security, 2 children's playgrounds, park, portable BBQs, Activity room, (and coming soon, a Gym if owners vote yes at the upcoming AGM in August)

    Tampines Court does not have a swimming pool because owners have voted no twice. Tennis courts are a distinct possibility as we have plenty of aboveground space.

    ReplyDelete
  3. T.C maintain fee is not cheap either with no facilities at $148. Braddell view ( x hudc at thomson rd) with full facilities and multi storey carpark only paying $178. Just for $30 only.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Braddell View has 918 units as apposed to TC's 560. There are more units to share the cost so the average goes down. Simple math:

    Braddell View collects 918 x $178 = $163,404 / month in maintenance fee.

    If Tampines Court had that high a maintenance to pay with full facilities, then we would have to fork out:

    $163,404/560 = $292/month

    That's (almost) double, my dear.

    Alternatively, if Braddell View had no facilities then it's maintenance fee could be like TCs at $82,880/month :

    So they would pay: $82,880 / 918 = $90/month

    ReplyDelete
  5. no pool, tennis court...? condo w/o condo facilities and yet pay $148... wow.. no wonder the price of tc apartments are languishing at less than $500 psf.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh for heaven's sake - that is what i call an idiot comment.

    TC unit + car park (uncoverd) = $148/month

    Let's compare with the ULTIMATE no-frills type unit which is HDB.
    Executive + car park (uncovered) = $78 + $65 = $143/month
    Executive + car park (multistory) = $78 + $90 = $168/month

    You cannot get lower than that!

    ReplyDelete
  7. but hdb gets subsidised lift upgrading, estate upgrading and improvement, etc... i rest my case.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What do you mean your ret your case! Sir, you LOST the argument!

    Your case was: T.C maintain fee is not cheap either with no facilities at $148. '.

    And I pointed out that HDB, being the cheapest you can get with no facilities is the same price as TC. And you actually pointed out something in my favour... that the HDB price is even a SUBSIDISED price!!

    So the Mc is running the estate at a very reasonable cost to the owners. If you lived in HDB, you wouldn't get it any cheaper.

    Lift upgrading etc, is not relevant to the argument- it has nothing to do with monthly maintenance.

    Now, I rest me case.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Why are you guys comparing TC with HDB? is TC really that bad? I thought someone mentioned that replacement of TC units are new condos and not HDB in an enbloc.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This discussion is about MAINTENANCE FEES ONLY. And since TC comes with a free car park we have to add that in too.

    There are some HUDCs that remain unprivatised, so It is best to compare TCs maintenance fees with them.

    HUDC (unprivatised) + car park
    $109.50 + $65 = $174.50

    TC (privatised) + carpark
    = $148

    So there you have it. Privatisded Tampines Court has a maintenance fee lower than an unprivatised HUDC.

    ReplyDelete
  11. compare apple to apple. HDB/HUDC charges not only go to maintenance but also into sinking fund which can be used to support estate upgrading, lift upgrading, etc.

    I am not here to win argument but to offer an alternative view.

    I pay $100/mth more than TC for maintenance but I enjoy the pool, gym, squash, tennis, facilities. More importantly, the value of my condo appreciate much faster than some condos w/o similar facilities.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I didn't make it clear, as I presumed I was talking to a Tampines Courter

    Tampines Court: $108 = maintenance fund, $40 - sinking fund so it is apple to apple.

    It comes down to personal choice whether or not you want to pay $250 for a condo with facilities.

    ReplyDelete
  13. not really apple to apple as hdb's sinking fund is more than sufficient to support estate and lift upgrading.

    If you wish to see the value of your apartment rise and enjoy the facilities at the same time, go with one that has facilities, if not, TC is an option.

    cheers!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sorry, you are wrong again.

    Conservncy fees (maintenance fees) do not cover lift upgrading. Lift upgrading comes under LUP (Lift Upgrading Programme): the Gov pays up to 90% of the cost and owners have to pay the difference to a maximum of $3000/unit using their CPF.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Not wrong, just the facts.

    There is also the Town council lift upgrading scheme which where town council funds can be used to support lift upgrading. Estate upggrading comes from town councils too.

    so not really apple-to-apple.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm afraid you don't know your Town Council from HDB from Gov.....

    "and there is also Town Council lift upgrading scheme"... didn't I just tell you that.

    The LUP is implemented through the Town Council. There is no 'also' to lift upgrading - there is only one.

    ReplyDelete
  17. and the town council can use their funds to support the govt scheme. something TC cannot do, unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete
  18. FYI

    What is Interim Upgrading Programme (IUP) Plus

    IUP Plus was announced by Minister for National Development, Mr. Mah Bow Tan, in Parliament on 20 May 2002. It is a combination of two programmes:

    Interim Upgrading Programme (IUP) and
    Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP)

    With a combined programme, HDB flat owners do not have to wait for two separate programmes which are carried out at different times. More flat owners can now benefit from an earlier lift upgrading and enjoy the benefits of interim upgrading as well.

    The scope of works in an IUP Plus are categorised into improvements under IUP and improvements under LUP respectively.

    Improvements under IUP:-

    The IUP budget per flat under the IUP Plus is up to $2,400 (fully funded by the Government).

    The possible IUP scope of works within this budget includes functional items such as:
    Linkways
    Repainting
    New letter boxes

    Other functional items may also be provided if the budget allows.

    Improvements under LUP:-

    The lift upgrading aims to achieve 100% direct lift access for all flats, where technically feasible.

    Upgraded lifts will move at a faster speed. New lift cars will have improved finishes similar to lifts in new HDB blocks such as:
    Better lighting, and
    See-through glass vision panels

    Polling Requirements:-

    Improvements under IUP
    No polling is required.

    Improvements under LUP
    Eligible Singapore Citizen households who stand to benefit from lift upgrading will be required to vote. At least 75% of the eligible flat owners in the block must vote for LUP in order for the programme to proceed in that block

    As in other upgrading programmes, Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) households are not eligible to poll.

    IUP Works
    It is fully funded by Government.

    LUP Works
    Singapore Citizen (SC) Households
    All the flat owners who stand to benefit from the lift upgrading works need to pay.

    With the Government paying a large part of the cost and the Town Council sharing the remaining portion with flat owners, the flat owners' share of the lift upgrading cost starts from as low as a few hundred dollars up to a maximum of $3,000. The actual cost will depend on the flat type and block configuration

    Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) households will have to pay the full upgrading cost as the subsidy is meant for SCs only.

    ReplyDelete
  19. End of comments thread.

    Maintenance fees/conservancy fees have nothing to do with lift upgrading.

    ReplyDelete
  20. itshometome, i agreed with u. That anonymous is someone who is eyeing to buy tampines court but want to find a reason to push down the price. By the way, the transaction of TC is now $900K. Cheers !

    ReplyDelete