Singapore

Beginner's guide
to buying property.

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Section 1

Stay & Invest.

With very limited land area in the island city-state of Singapore, it is a great place to buy a property for the long-term. Whether for your own stay or to add to your investment portfolio, you could enjoy potential savings in owning the home you live in and at the same time grow your wealth through long-term capital appreciation.

 

If you are able to find a property that fulfils your present needs in a home as well as has capital gains potential, then you have found a gem.

Section 2

Set a budget.

The downpayment
You are required to pay a minimum of 20 per cent—consisting of 5 per cent Option Fee and 15 per cent Exercise Fee—of the property price as downpayment; you are allowed to use your CPF funds to help supplement the upfront cash needed for this.

 

Check your CPF Funds
If it is your first property, you can use all that you have in your Ordinary Account, up to the Valuation Limit; for subsequent properties, you will need to set aside a Basic Retirement Sum before you can access more savings from the Ordinary Account.

 

How much loan can you take?
If it is your first property, you can take a maximum loan of 80 per cent, and for your second, 50 per cent. You are not allowed to exceed 60 per cent for your Total Debt Service Ratio, which is your total debt payments combined—from home mortgages, loans, credit card debts, etc.— compared to your total monthly income.

 

Take the time to compare packages from different banks to find one that suits you. You could also get an Approval-in-Principle—ie. how much the bank is willing to loan you—before even start looking at property listings.

 

Additional costs and fees
There are also the legal fees and Buyer’s Stamp Duty. On top of that, you might have to pay the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty, which varies depending on your citizenship and residency status. All these could amount to a significant sum that should be factored in at the start. Visit the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s website for the stamp duty rates.

Section 3

Browse and shortlist property listings.

If you are looking to stay…
Consider your present and future needs: Is the size of the unit sufficient? Are daily conveniences, offices and schools easily reached? Is the development’s concept and in-built facilities complementary to your lifestyle?

 

If you are looking to invest...
Research into the rental market in the area: Does it have good connectivity? Is it located near offices where potential tenants might find attractive? What is the potential rental yield?

 

Either way…
If you are considering a new, off-plan development, make sure that the developer has a good track record of delivering quality construction and finishing, in a timely manner. Since you cannot view the actual unit before purchasing, consider the following:

 

  • What is the unit’s orientation;
  • If there is no show unit, imagine walking in the layout—where are the walls, windows and doors? Does it flow well from one space to another?
  • Is the unit removed from noise sources, such as the lifts, water tank and intermediate pump room;
  • Where is the car park;
  • What facilities does it have to offer?

Start with our search engine to explore what UEM Sunrise has to offer in Singapore.

Section 4

Book your unit.

For a newly launched property, you will usually pay a 5% booking fee to secure the unit of choice. The Option to Purchase will now be available to you. Do note that if you decide to not exercise this option, you will have to forfeit a portion—usually 25 per cent—of the booking fee.

Section 5

Sort out your loan.

With the Option to Purchase, you can now go about securing a loan. Make sure that you understand all the terms & conditions detailed in the bank’s Letter of Offer for the loan before accepting it. At this point, you should already have engaged a trusted solicitor to assist you in conveyancing matters and to look out for your interest.

 

Section 6

Sign the SPA.

The developer should prepare the Sales & Purchase Agreement within two weeks of the Option to Purchase, and you will have another three weeks from receiving the document to read, understand and—if you are agreeable to the terms & conditions—sign it. Remember to refer to your solicitor if you are in doubt of any detail.

 

Subsequently, you will have to pay the remaining 15 per cent of the downpayment, which is essentially the Exercise Free, as well as the Buyer Stamp Duty and Additional Buyer Stamp Duty, if applicable.

Section 7

Wait for completion and receive your keys!

There is nothing much left to do except make the periodical payments that are required as the developer completes certain stages in the building of your new home. All that remains after that is to conduct a thorough inspection of the finished property and collect your keys.

A note for foreign buyers…

Non-Singapore citizens are only allowed to buy certain properties (unless with further approval), but there are still numerous exciting options open to you, such as condominium units and shoplots for commercial use.

 

You will, however, be required to pay the Buyers Stamp Duty and the Additional Buyer Stamp Duty at higher rates. Nonetheless, Singapore is very welcoming to foreign investors and expatriates, thus there is not much difference in obtaining a home loan for non-citizens and local or permanent residents.

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