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Buying a Property
Know Your Housing Options

Explore the various housing options available to decide on the type of housing that you would like to live in. There are 3 main types of residential housing - apartments & condominiums, landed houses, and HDB flats.

Private housing are generally classified into "districts". Districts 9, 10, 11 and 21 are prime residential areas that are very popular with expatriates and upper middle class Singaporeans.

Other popular locations are districts 15 and 16 which are near the coastline and hence offer excellent sea views (example, East Coast Park) or river/bay views (example, Tanjong Rhu). Generally, you will only get to enjoy the sea view if you reside in units that are at least 15 stories high.

Public housing are generally classified into "towns". For example: Yishun, Choa Chu Kang, Punggol, Bedok, etc. Towns in the central region tend to be more popular, including Ang Mo Kio, Bishan and Toa Payoh. Other popular areas include Marine Parade (located near the East Coast). With recent upgrades to their amenities, older estates are also seeing increased demand from flat owners as well as tenants (this may interest you as a property owner as you could be renting out your property in the future).

Know Your Requirements

To decide on a suitable housing, you will need to consider the following:

Budget - Regardless of the type of housing you have in mind, you should always work out what you can afford in terms of the home itself and the subsequent renovations. Check with your bankers on the types of home loan and renovation packages that they have available. You can use our mortgage tools to work out the effective interest rate for all the loan packages, how much you can afford, the instalments you need to pay. If you already know an agent, you can ask him/her to provide a referral to a reliable financial consultant who can suggest a suitable package for you.

Accommodation Needs - Decide how much space you and your family require. How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Do you need a layout that will accommodate a lot of entertaining? Do you prefer a spacious or compact work space in the kitchen? If you have little tots, do you require a separate playroom?

Location - Does the location you have in mind meet your needs for transport convenience, proximity to your office/school, leisure facilities, shopping/banking amenities?

Appoint an Agent

Seek out a knowledgeable property agent with recognised experience in the location where you wish to purchase a home. Your agent can help you quickly locate and shortlist those properties that truly matches your budget, desires and needs. It is important to check that the agent is a member of the Institute of Estate Agents (IEA). Once you have found the right agent, share with him/her your motivation and allow him/her to conduct his/her duties in a professional manner.

Viewing Homes

Your agent will arrange for you to view available homes that match your criteria. Bring along a small notebook to scribble down both positive and negative points about the property. This will help you make an informed comparison among the homes you have visited. Do be punctual for your viewing appointments.

Besides the property itself, pay attention to surrounding areas. If you can, have a quick walk around. Take note of the ambience, cleanliness and noise levels. Don't forget, you can always change the property interior but there's no way you can change the surroundings! If you have the time, try to visit the surrounding areas both during daytime and evening.

Eligibility to Buy/Sell

When you see a property that you like, check with your agent on the following to avoid nasty surprises and/or legal complications:

True Ownership - Proof that the Seller is the true Owner of the property.

Mortgaged Property - If the property is mortgaged, whether the Seller is in circumstances where he/she may be prevented by his/her lender from selling the property.

Eligibility to Sell - If the property is a HDB flat, whether the Seller satisfies all eligibility rules as set by HDB prior to selling the property.

Bankruptcy - If the Seller is a bankrupt, he/she will need a written consent from the Official Assignee to sell the property; also, check whether the Official Assignee requires all monies, including the option money or deposit, to be paid to the Official Assignee.

Eligibility to Buy - Depending on the property, you need to comply with the Residential Property Act and/or HDB's strict eligibility rules. For foreigners, there are additional restrictions on buying Singapore properties.

Ethnic Integration - If you are buying a HDB resale flat, HDB's ethnic integration policy may affect your eligibility to purchase that resale flat.

Scheme of Purchase - If you are buying a HDB resale flat, the scheme you are categorised under may affect your eligibility to purchase that resale flat.

Illegal Renovations/Alterations - Ask the Seller if the property renovations or alterations are legal and approved. Get written understanding from the Seller that should the relevant authorities require that any renovations/alterations deemed illegal be rectified, the Seller will be responsible for the rectification, at his/her own expense.

Making Your Offer

You have your eyes set on that dream home, and intend to make an offer. To determine whether the asking price is in line with market prices, ask your Agent to review with you recent transacted prices of similar properties in your neighbourhood. Your agent can help you determine an offer price based on prevailing market prices and your budget. Start the offer at a price that seems fair to you and wait for a reasonable counter offer.

Completing the Deal

The Seller is required to hand over the property upon legal completion as set out in the sales contract. In the case of a HDB flat, vacant possession is a requirement. Make sure that you inspect the property before legal completion. Make known any objections or faults immediately. You can always check with your agent if you are in doubt.

Option Money and Deposit

The option money/deposit should be the standard amount. For private property, this is usually one per cent of the purchase price while for HDB resale flats, the deposit should not exceed $5,000.

Home Insurance

If you own and keep valuable personal items in your home, consider taking up personal housing insurance that covers your valuables. Your agent will be able to help you with this.

Agent's Commission

A set of commission guidelines, published by the Institute of Estate Agents (IEA), is available online at As a buyer, you are required to pay a service fee of 1% of the contracted price to your agent.

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