Buy a Condominium in Singapore

Our aim is to make the purchase of a condominium in Singapore as pain-free and easy as possible. The first step is to familiarize oneself with the legalities involved, especially when considering resale property purchases.

1. Search and Research

It is important that you research what is available in the market. I suggest you find a property agent who can help you to filter your search by the type of property you want and also by the area you are looking to buy in. If you are looking for a straight-out investment, for example, then a one or two bedroom condo on Orchard Road ideally close to a MRT station would be an attractive option.

2. Background Checks

Normally property agent will carries out a number of different checks on any property a client has their heart set on. The primary check is for the deed – to make sure that the seller is actually the rightful owner. It is also important to check whether the own is bankrupt.

On top of this, the title deed will be examined to ascertain if any collateral has been taken out on the property and the Juristic person (or the organization which speaks for the building or complex) will be contacted to make sure that those selling the condo have paid all the common expenses and also that the building or complex is not coming up for any major renovations or other procedures which would incur a lot of cost.

3. The negotiation process

When a client picks out a property or number of properties, Moveandstay property for sale partners can help in the negotiation process in order to secure the best deal – they will help resolve issues like:

  • The payment terms
  • Who will pay tax on the agreement
  • The cost (if any) of furniture included
  • And the best overall price for the client

4. Determining the purchase agreement

Once all parties have come to a suitable agreement, then both the seller and buyer will draft their respective sales and purchase agreements which will contain:

  • The agreed price for the property
  • The terms and provisions of payment
  • The date of the transfer of funds and title

5. Placing the deposit

After the purchase agreement has been finalized and agreed upon by both parties, the buyer will put down their deposit which is normally 1% of actual sale price or market price which is higher. Buyer will be grant 14 days option period.
Within the 14 days option period, buyer can execute option by pay another 4% options fee.

6. Other Expenses

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Based on the Purchase Price or Market Value, whichever is higher:

Every $100 or part thereof of the first $180,000 – $1
Every $100 or part thereof of the next $180,000 – $2
Every $100 or part thereof of the remainder – $3

For ease of calculation, if the purchase price is more than $300,000, stamp duty payable will be:
3% of purchase price minus $5,400

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)

The following measures will take effect on 12 January 2013:

a) Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates will be:

i) Raised between five and seven percentage points across the board.
ii) Imposed on Permanent Residents (PRs) purchasing their first residential property and on Singaporeans purchasing their second residential property.

b) Loan-to-Value limits on housing loans granted by financial institutions1 will be tightened for individuals who already have at least one outstanding loan, as well as to non-individuals such as companies.

c) Besides tighter Loan-to-Value limits, the minimum cash down payment for individuals applying for a second or subsequent housing loan will also be raised from 10% to 25%.

The measures listed above will not impact most Singaporeans buying their first home. Some concessions will also be extended to selected groups of buyers, such as married couples with at least one Singaporean spouse who are purchasing their second property and will sell their first residential property.

These new ABSDs and loan rules are significant, but they are temporary. They are being imposed to cool the market now, and will be reviewed in future depending on market conditions.

The details of the ABSD measure are set out in Annex I, and the housing loan measures, in Annex II.

Please also refer to this article for latest BSD and ABSD rate.

Visit IRAS website for more information:

Generally common expenses are paid in advance in either six month or yearly periods, so buyers will have to reimburse the seller by a cashier’s cheque for the outstanding period. Utility providers also usually need to be paid in deposits, so this will need to be accounted for when looking at additional expenses.

7. Payment

Payment must be made in the form of cashier’s cheques and the usual procedure is to make out at least two cheques to minimize the tax (levied only on the property itself). Furniture and other decorations etc. are usually paid in another separate cashier’s cheque.

8. Transfer

When it is time to transfer the title deed, this happens at the offices of the Land Department, and can take anywhere from two to six hours to complete. Generally a buyer gives power of attorney to their agent or lawyer who will complete the name-change on the title deed on their behalf. The cashier’s cheques will normally be required the day before transfer is to take place, because the seller is issued with a faxed copy of the cheques prior to proceeding with the transfer of title. Once the transfer has been completed, a copy of the new title deed will be forwarded to the building’s juristic person their records.


Last modified: Jan 27, 2015 @ 12:12 am