As a homeowner, you want to maximize the deal and receive the optimum benefits for the brand new residential property you’re about to own. One of the earliest steps of the home hunting process is researching, and one of the most credible sources of information about the property is hearing from the real estate property developers themselves.

After hitting that “Send Inquiry” button of the property you’re interested in, here are smart questions you should ask to facilitate the getting-to-know stage of the property:

1. Is the property Ready for Occupancy (RFO) or Pre-selling?

What mainly differentiates the two is that RFO properties are already built and open for homeowners moving in after purchasing, while pre-selling properties are still under construction (no groundbreaking yet, or not yet built), and are turned over from as early as less than a year, to as late as more than four years. For pre-selling units, it’s important to acknowledge that the turnover date is not certain, but you should at least get an idea of the month and year that it will be fully completed.

Determining the status of the property is important in determining its “fit” with your needs and wants, which brings us to the next question:

2. What are the payment terms? Are there discounts being offered?

RFO properties tend to be more expensive due to the growth in market prices, while pre-selling properties have low introductory prices. Additionally, RFO properties usually require spot cash full payment (or if staggered, duration to pay is shorter).  If there are any discounts, they’re usually rushed. Pre-selling properties, on the other hand, have flexible terms, such as spot cash downpayment, downpayment payable in one to two years, staggered amortization, and promos and discounts if you pay in full. You might also want to be more careful with your decisions by asking if the reservation fee is refundable, or if there are hidden charges.

3. Where is the location of the unit within the building?

If immediate personal use is what you’re looking for, RFO properties are perfect for you, although the units you can choose are limited, or only what’s available for offer. So if you don’t want a balcony facing suffocating skyscrapers or crowded streets, consult with the property developer on which unit you wish to purchase.

In pre-selling units, the earlier you purchase, the more choices you’re offered with (re: the benefits on a first come, first reserve basis). Do you prefer units near the elevator? How about units situated on the upper parts of the high-rise residential building? Is it dark on the lower floors? You all get to discover these kinds of information during open houses and site visits.

4. What are the standard finish inclusions?

The models are only a “sneak peek” of how the unit will appear once it is furnished. With that, check on the type of floorings (are the bathroom tiles slide-proof?), material used for the windows on the glass, color of the paint on the walls, safety precautions (water sprinklers, for example), and provisions for air conditioning and water supply.

Most new homes already have set room layouts and designs, studied and planned by the property developers, but others can be tweaked according to your liking. For instance, a 2-bedroom unit can have customizable compartments, should homeowners want to convert a room into a walk-in closet. On the other hand, some kitchens are yet to be installed with counter top granite.

5. How much is the estimated association fees?

Purchasing a property doesn’t mean you no longer have to pay for additional expenses. Condominiums, subdivisions, and other real estate developments require homeowners to pay association fees. These fund the operations of security guards, gardeners, front desk assistance employees, maintenance personnel, and other amenities that are shared by the community. Familiarize yourself with the association policies of the property to prevent conflicts in the future. You don’t want to bring your cute, little dog, in a building that is not pet-friendly!

6. Is there a way for me to connect with your clients and current homeowners of the property?

Exhaust every credible source of information as much as you can. Recommendations from property developers are biased, so their job is literally to persuade you to purchase a unit with them. Meanwhile, hearing primary testimonies from the clients of the property developers (or current homeowners, highly recommended), gives you a fresh perspective on the property you’re eyeing. Ask them the pros and cons of purchasing the property, based on their first-hand experiences, and evaluate that later on. If they decline to be interviewed, as per data privacy purposes, try looking up for online reviews, and then compare your options.

Enta is the trusted real estate website for easy access to your property needs. Still confused with the complex home buying process? Read about The Enta Experience — Simplifying Real Estate For You.