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Valuable tips for first-time homebuyers
By Nie Xin

THE post-80s generation, those born during the 1980s, are the driving force of property consumption in China, mostly due to social requirements that a couple own a house before they can consider marriage.

High property prices and fierce competition make people into wage slaves in order to become mortgage slaves, unless their parents buy a home for them.

Many people are buying homes for the first time, and there's a lot of information to sort through, especially for white-collar professionals who plan to live in their house for the next five years.

Here are some important, money-saving suggestions to take into consideration before signing a contract.

1. Percentage of usable dwelling area

This percentage of usable dwelling area is crucial, especially for apartments in which lobby space is often counted as living space (but really isn't). The higher the percentage of usable dwelling area, the more reasonable the price. Today in Shanghai the reasonable percentage of usable dwelling space is more than 80 percent.

2. Interior decoration

If possible, choose an apartment that has already been decorated and contains installed electrical appliances. This can save a lot of time and money for busy young people, especially since many newly built apartments are available fully fitted out.

Buyers should pay close attention to details in the contract about the decoration and make sure they get what they want. Be prepared to make some alterations.

3. Bonus area

Many properties promote "bonus areas," typically including basement and terraces. Some projects include 10-square-meter study rooms as a gift. Note what the contract says about entitlement and use of bonus areas.

4. 'Left-over' properties

Most residential properties are sold when a residential community opens up. The unsold, left-over or "tail" properties generally cost less than those sold during the big sale campaigns.

These apartments may not be the most desirable in terms of size, positioning, light and views. The most desirable were sold first. They are usually offered at an appealing lower price.

5. Metro

Convenient transport is important and properties near Metro lines are the most popular - and costly. When looking for a residence to buy, not rent, it's best to consider those where Metro lines are under construction. When the lines are complete, residence costs are higher.

6. Property fees

Many young buyers don't pay much attention to property maintenance fees, but these add up and represent a significant annual expense. Compare with fees at comparable properties.

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