Ultimate Guide to Checking for Defects in Your Newly Bought Property


There are tons of wonderful homes out there but even the most jaw-dropping house isn’t perfect – flaws and home defects will always be present. It is extremely rare to come across a home that is free of defects even for new launches because the work involved in the construction requires manual labor and the nature of materials used, even if high-quality, can always show imperfections.

What Are Property Defects?

The term “defect” means that there is a fault in the unit due to either defective workmanship, materials, or structures that have failed to pass the specifications set by the developer or governing body such as HDB.

Purchasing a home is probably the biggest single investment you will ever make in your entire life. And as a new home owner, determining the condition of your home before or right after moving in is significantly important. Checking property defects will save you from unpleasant surprises that might come along the way. Additionally, it will protect you from costly repairs that on the first place, should be rectified by the developer since you procure a brand new property.

The Importance of Checking Your New Property for Defects

From uneven paint to chipped floor tiles, you might be overwhelmed with the dozens of imperfections present on your newly acquired home. Cosmetic flaws such as uneven paint on the wall, nail holes, dent on the table and the likes might not require immediate renovation but critical home defects like cracks on the wall, watermarks, leaking faucet, hollow tiles and door problems will necessitate prompt repairs to prevent future problems from haunting you back.

Likewise, these crucial condo defects might be a sign that there is an underlying, more serious construction issue that needs to be rectified immediately. Often seen as a huge eyesore, cracks on the wall might mean that there is something wrong on the durability of the barrier. Leaking faucets if not solved immediately will result to increased monthly water consumption while door problems threatens your security at home.

Areas You Need to Check for Property Defects

Whether it’s a big crack on the ceiling or minute things like uneven crevices, you need to check all parts of your home for defects. Remember that not all property defects are visible in the naked eye, some are subtle and hidden that is why checking your new property meticulously is indeed essential.

To avoid overlooking house or condo defects, especially those that are concealed, it is advised to inspect your home systematically. Categorizing areas on your home and checking them per group is easier and definitely more convenient.

1. Floors

  •  Check for cracks, chips, marks and stains on the floor.
  •  Make sure that the color tone is consistent.
  •  Tap the floor to see if there is a hollow sound.
  •  Floor unevenness of more than 3mm is generally not acceptable.


2. Walls

  •  Ensure that there are no stains, rough or patchy surfaces.
  •  Walls near doors and windows should be free from watermarks.
  •  Check the evenness of the paint, obvious deviation and patchiness is not acceptable.
  •  Make sure that there are no visible cracks, blistering or damages on the wall.

3. Ceiling

  •  Check for straightness of the corners.
  •  There should be no stains, marks, patchy surfaces, or cracks present.
  •  Look for leaks and spalling due to water.

4. Doors

  •  There should be no visible gap between the door and its frame.
  •  Doors should have consistent and neat joints.
  •  The door leaf and frame should be no more than 5mm.
  •  Doors and frames should always be properly aligned.
  •  Check for nail holes, dents and cracks.
  •  The door security system should always run smoothly.

5. Windows

  •  Windows shouldn’t have visible damages.
  •  Make sure there are no dents, cracks or scratches on the window’s glass and frame.
  •  You should be able to open and close the window easily.
  •  Check for rainwater leakage and squeaky sounds.
  •  See if there are paint stains, plaster left over and cement residues.

6. Mechanical and Electrical Fittings

  •  Fittings must be properly aligned.
  •  Check the switches for gaps between the wall.
  •  There should be no exposed wirings.
  •  Check the light switches, power box, air-con units,etc.
  •  Make sure that there are no loose mechanisms.

7. Other Components

  • External components such as railings, letter box, lightning and emergency taps should be checked for damages.
  • Internal components like faucets, mirror, bath tub, closet, toilet, shelves and cabinets should be free from physical damages.
  • Check for visible stains and functional issues.

Responsibility of the Developer and HDB

What if you found defects on your new property? Is the developer held responsible for this? How can HDB help you in terms of cost and repairs? What if the defects surface months after you moved in?…

Bear in mind that under the “Sale & Purchase (S&P) Agreement” you signed with the developer, they have certain obligations to fulfill should defects are found within the Defects Liability Period (DLP). The developer is obliged to rectify any defect in the unit within a period of 12 months from the date of key collection or 15th day after you received the notice of Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP).

When it comes to Singapore HDB flats, the Singapore Government body assures 3 types of warranty coverage. These includes the ceiling, external wall seepage and spalling concrete defects. This is on top of the 1-year DLP that covers any imperfections within the unit at no cost.

Procedure to Rectify Property Defects

Should you find defects on your new property, make sure to note it and take pictures if possible. Aside from personal documentation, you should also report any condo defects to the Building Services Centre (BSC) of the developer. You can likewise report it on the nearest HDB branch. Again, home defects should be reported within the given DLP period.

1. Specify the details of the defect through a written notice.

2. Request a joint inspection between you and the developer.

3. Allow the developer to carry out rectifications.

Important Things to Note

Generally, reported home defects are rectified within two weeks to one month. In case the contractor or developer requires more time due to the nature of the defect, unavailability of the materials and unforeseen events, you must be informed about the expected date of completion.

  • If you are not satisfied with the corrections made, you may notify the developer by sending a Notice of Intent.
  • If the developer failed to make arrangements within 14 days, you may proceed to personally rectify the mistakes by consulting third party contractors.
  • Provide a written quotation of the estimated cost before proceeding with the repairs.
  • To claim for the cost and expenses made for the repairs, follow the guidelines stipulated on your contract or contact the developer for discussion.

checking property defects

Checking property defects is no easy task, it requires a lot of patience and effort on your part. Unlike the 7-day replacement warranty of electronic gadgets or appliances, properties don’t have this express guarantee that is why checking your home for every possible defect made by the developer should always be taken seriously.

To live comfortably and to uphold the safety conditions of your new home, remember to check your property for possible defects. This is to ensure that you get what you pay for and that untimely costs from unwanted repairs wouldn’t be an issue you need to worry about.

Read more: Singapore Property News 2021


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