Ultimate Guide To Purchase a Property in Singapore

Marina One Residences | Singapore Luxury Condominium for Sale

Buying property is not like a small task of your life. It is something big that can change your life tremendously. Like other people, we make a dream to buy our own home or property. Dreaming is a good thing, but what if your idea comes true. Will you take any small ridiculous step to lose your dream? No. you are NOT.

You are even able to lose your car, mobile, bike, or such stuff, but it is not bare-able to lose in the financial figure. Sometimes, we make a single mistake that makes us not able to return our wealth. Of course, not legally. This could make your life worse after that. There are so many things that we can buy and sell randomly and repeatedly, but the property is not like to go shopping to buy candy and come back.

Your money is your asset, and like average people, you almost gave you half of life to earn it. You do not want to take any risk to waste your money in just a single moment of your life because you know that your one big deal can make you make your life from heaven to hell. 


Buying and selling property is a standard business in Singapore. Average people in this Singapore usually buy property once in their life. The prices of property in Singapore always talking to the sky. Because Singapore is a kind of hub of expensive property. For this type of business dealing, you must have to need a consultancy of someone who is an expert in this field.

Nevertheless, given that private property speaks to such a sizeable interest in your portfolio, you will unquestionably need to get your work done heretofore.

Therefore, if you are looking to buy property in Singapore or you need any consultancy to buy any property, then I would like to congratulate you because you landed on the exact website.

That is the reason for helping you determine whether your pay is sufficient to purchase an apartment suite to experiencing the down payment required, I would like to guide you on how to buy your desired property in Singapore.

Before we discuss the core step of how to buy property in Singapore, you need to look at two basic questions that will help you more to make some understanding between new and old property and condominiums.

What are resale property and condominiums?

Resale property or condominium is a private unit, home, or land that has already in someone ownership and the owner of that property is willing to sell it in the market open market legally.

Reselling condominium is usually more than 50 years freehold occupancy with many facilitations like swimming pool, sports, or gym.

New versus Resale condominium

Buying a home flat or condo usually falls into two parts.

1.   Purchasing a unit with completed modern development. (Usually, this kind of group might be unsold by directly from the developer or builder).

2.   Purchasing a unit with incomplete development (Such a newly constructed launch that directly bought from developer or builder).

There is a different type of facts that make you drill into each other.

Suppose you are willing to wait for more than 3 to 4 years for your home, condominium to be constructed, or you want to buy a unit that already has been built.

The primary motive to discuss this example is the payment schedule for both types of purchasing. These both are typically different from each other.

Payment Scheme for Property Under Construction (BUC)


BUC follows a progressive time timeline hence the mortgage will slowly increase and will not be such a big burden. 

5%: Deposit for OTP (Cash)

15%: Exercise (Cash/CPF) 8 Weeks Later

10%: Completion of Land Construction 1 year later. Eg 2021

10%: Completion of Building Construction 1 year later. Eg 2022

20%: Completion of Misc 1 year later Eg 2023

25%: TOP Eg 2024

15%: Legal Completion Eg 2025

Progressive Payment Schedule for New Launch Condo Singapore

Payment Scheme for Resale Property

Payment Scheme for resale property is much more direct. More information in the article below.

1%: Deposit for OTP (Cash)

4%: Exercise (Cash/CPF) 14-21 days later

95%: Completion (Cash/CPF/Bank Loan) 8 weeks later

Day 1Present Offer to Purchase in exchange for an Option *1% Booking Fee
Within 2 weeks from Day 1Buyer to exercise Option & Sign Sales & Purchase at solicitor's law firm4% Exercise Fee
Within 2 weeks from Exercising OptionBuyer to pay Stamp Duty**BSD + ABSD (If applicable)
Within 8-10 weeks from exercising OptionCompletion of Sales & Purchase at Law FirmRemaining Payment (Cash/CPF/Bank Loan)

*Both Buyer & Seller: Engagement of Solicitors
Buyer: Selection of Mortgage Loan

**Rates for Stamp Duty

What are the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing resale property?

Meanwhile, many people usually prefer to purchase property, units, home from the primary market, and the resale market is the second choice they mostly explore after.

Whereas the construction relevant issues, risks in resale homes are less to our financial burden but some other, risk factors are more significant than benefits.


Advantages of resale property

The two most significant benefit of buying a resale home or property in the market is you do not need to wait for the property to be constructed and you get to give an offer of the property, aka room for negotiation.

For example, investors may buy homes, condominiums when the market was at its peak. However, after some time, these investors are not able to hold those properties and selling on scraping rates. Therefore, this can be a significant advantage to buy a resale property from the market.

Many buyers usually offer to discount when they are able to sell their apartments as if a buyer bought a property $2000 per square foot 3 years ago. Now builder selling the same in the same area at $3000 per square foot. With this excellent opportunity, the seller will sell that property in a $500 concession as compared to builder rates. This will make him prior than developers for buyers.

Ready to move in the choice is readily available in the resale market at any time.

Disadvantages of resale properties.

The two disadvantage of a resale property are:
1. There is no warranty. We call it by what you see is what you get. After the purchase, you cannot go after the former owner for damages, leakages or problems with the unit. One of the biggest problem and disagreement that are always encountered are water damages, mold, air-conditioner issues and condo management problems. These can sometimes be issues that  ex-owners know and want to avoid, hence selling the property cheap or even deciding to sell the property fast.

2. It is statistically proven that resale property, due to their lease, although have a cheaper price over the long term will earn less profit than newly developed properties. This is due to the fact of Singapore having a Seller Stamp Duty fee (SSD), hence minimum holding period before selling a property is 3 years. Moreover, people like brand new properties and hence people are willing to pay more for a brand new constructed property than a resale property which leads to a higher demand.

Here are some fundamental steps that you need to take in sequence to purchase a property anywhere in Singapore.

Eligibility to buy property in Singapore

There is a law for everything or action you take for you in Singapore like to buy anything as an individual you need to check this first that are you able to purchase this, or you meet the criteria or not. Same as if you are from another country and you want to buy property or condominium in Singapore, you must have to check your eligibility to buy that property.

Here are some guidelines:

You have to be above the age of 21 to purchase a property. Under the age of 21, you can purchase a property under Trust.

Foreigners and Permanent Residence (PR) cannot buy freehold landed properties (although there are some exception to the rule). However, they can purchase any freehold condominiums.

Public Housing (HDB) are not eligible to foreigners, PRs can only purchase after 3 years getting their PR status and can only purchase a resale unit and with a family nucleus. 


Check your affordability to buy property

Usually, as we do plan before proceeding anything, same as before purchasing any property, we should do a financial plan. It essential and most necessary step for the future.

If you can buy a property with complete net payment, it might be more worthy for you as buyer.it might be more natural and comfortable for the rest of your life. However, as if you are going to buy a loan from the bank to buy that property, then you need to make a plan to afford down payment every month as bank loan instalments for as stamp duty charges.

There are various online tools like the Property guru calculator that can make you able to evaluate and resolute the maximum or minimum affordability for the property.

 Moreover, using through such type of tools you can measure the amount of Buyer’s Stamp Duty


Estimate your finance

Private property prices usually double than the cost of government-provided flats or quarters. Therefore, you must check your pocket and the price tag first before a step forward to deal.  

You must have to almost 25% to 30% of the property purchase amount that should be save in net cash or CPF. Meanwhile, the bank will give you up to 75% loan for your property evaluation limit.

Moreover, you need 5% net cash as a down payment.

  • It is not going to end here; Of course, you will need more cash to cover some legal charges like buyer’s stamp duty, loan insurance, etc.
  • To encounter all cost, you must have to configure three steps.
  • The actual figure of cash you need to start it
  • Estimate affordability to buy property
  • According to your holding property, expensive like taxes, maintenance, you much you need to pay for regulating cost.
  • What is the current house value of the property you buying and, how much you require maintaining a new one?

If you are an employee, then you must have to insure about retirement plans that it would not be overturned the private property by cost. Several people usually drive their all CPF in it, thinking that they will economize later.

If you are thinking the same as that, then you are taking the most significant risk of your life. It is worse than danger, because, according to the restriction of property law, you have no idea what might be worthy of it later.


Search the resale property

If you are going to buy property, you must have to search it first that what you are going to buy out there. Because this can help you to save your time from unnecessary visits.

The very first thing you search the ads of property online about your desired area. Like the world is going to digitalize day by day, everyone placing its product online via the website, blog ads, or through different kinds of applications. Same as many people selling and purchasing their property via online advertisements.

Therefore, the very first thing searchers property advertisement online or somewhere around you, according to your estimated budget. You can also visit any property agent to help you to locate appropriate property units for you, but keep in mind they will ask you for a little bit of commission for that service.

When you will found any property online that, precisely the thing that you wanted to buy, then set an appointment with the property owner, to visit his or her estate for inspection.

However, before going there, you must have to find an experienced person or whom you take with you to visit that property.

Property Inspection.

The very sharp point here that I wanted to tell you that there are various kinds of frauds and frauds are everywhere regarding property selling. The very first thing, you need to inspect that property very carefully before making any final decision. Because once you got a signature on purchasing documents, you might be getting in severe problems after that.

You will take an expert property agent with you when you go for inspection that property because they are very thorough in this kind of inspection stuff.

You must not only focus on the defected area of the building, like walls, doors, ceiling, but also pay more attention to fitting, finishing, and installation of the unit, cooktops, and electrical wiring. By identifying maintenance, issues of property and can negotiate to the seller about these serious issues at the spot.

 Through this step of inspection, you can evaluate the cost of property maintenance. In addition, a property agent is the best option for you because he can detect more carefully and can give you an excellent idea through his experience. It might be possible that he will charge for this inspection but will provide you with a riskless plan for your long-term investment.

Price negotiation

After the inspection, you got a clear idea about the worth of property. Therefore, I want to make you clear about one thing that price negotiation of private lands or condominiums is quite different and tricky than other stuff.

As we, all know that property owners always put the highest price on advertisement so that they get their willing cost. If you have no idea about pricing negotiation, then you again need the help of a property agent, because they know all kinds of tricks to take down the seller on the desire rate.

Before doing this, you must research the previous dealing of related properties in the same area where you are going to deal with. This might help you to get exact for what you going to purchase and make you able to get your desired price in that negotiation.

 If you were going to buy and old or landed property, you must have to do some evaluations about it so that you will assure that you are not going to rip off.

Usually, Bank System offer you various desktop evaluation, but to be honest, these can quickly sway, so you need two or three at least.

Get you In-Principal-Approval (IPA)

IF you did not have enough money to pay to the seller at the spot. Do not worry about it. You still have one option available to utilise.

Therefore, firstly you must have to evaluate that how much loan you need to get from a bank. 

There is the most un-rare mistake that property buyers that, they do not make it pay the property seller is non-refundable charges, and after that, they feel ripped off when they realised that not have enough loan to get it.

If you do not have enough budget, then do not even miss a single moment to avail that opportunity. Once you miss that opportunity, which means you are not able to afford even down payment for a particular property that you wanted to purchase. As if you are losing a refundable fee means, you losing next home.

There is the best strategy to get this opportunity to succumb to your applications in the different banks at once. Then see which one of the banks is giving the most relevant offer too you. Even you can apply for AIP without any intention to purchase a property.

It is free of cost options from all banks. If you have a mind to apply to it, you must keep ready all your documents with you during use. I am sure you will go to apply with prepared documents; it will take less than 15 minutes hardly.

However, here is something I want to tell you that do not ever select any random bank way for the AIP (Approval of Principle) with thinking like, you will get the exact amount from any of the banks from the chosen list.

The real fact is that every bank usually sets a ration that they required to meet; even they increase rates as if they close to that ration. You must find the best one who gives you the best price for the loan.


OTP and 1% Refundable Option Fee

 Due to a lack of law development procedure, many property sellers are free to make their contracts, or by using the help of a property agent, it is still possible as a seller to dispose of the unit with a single contract.

 It is a bit harsh sound to feel but you must have to secure your OTP first if you are a foreigner. Your only option is OTP, so you obey to use it.

Be frankly, before securing your OTP and you must check your ABSD accountabilities first. If you are a citizen of a Singaporean person who has already his residency, you must have to pay all your ABSD. Even all foreigners and PRs are compelled to pay ABSD.


However, if you are not a citizen of Singapore and looking to buy property over there, you must have to get approval from the LDAU (Land dealing approval Unit), because they have the authority to approve or reject your application as their responsibility.

Well, when the seller and you both make your final deal about price, put a refundable option fee, that is about 1%. You must have to do it in exchange for OTP. You are going to chop the property by using the option fee.

As if you are in buying a procedure, you must have to hire a lawyer who can help you to proceed in its proper way.

Of course, the lawyer will charge you for this legal service but make it more secure.

For carrying the process legally, like transferring the property between sellers to buyers, approximately m cost might become in between $200 to $500. It is legal; you cannot negotiate with less it.

This legal process only makes a title that is presenting that the seller has all authority and legal right to sell this property. There is no criminal record or default case about his wealth. Commonly this all law procedure making sure authentication of the seller and making your sale purchase deal more secure through law stuff.

Well, The OTP frequently be documented by the property owner’s lawyer, and after preparation, he sends it to your buyer’s lawyer to proceed further.

OTP usually includes:

  1. Both Party’s information: The seller, and buyer name, identification, Contact number, Register address, occupation, etc.
  2. Information about OTP: The Option Fee, Option period, and mentioned that if the option fee will be deprived if OTP will not exercise before the expiry date.
  3. All detail of seller’s property: The property area, Property address, Floor area, selling price. Move-in date.
  4. Buyer and seller’s rights on properties.
  5. Buyer and seller’s responsibilities. Like stamp duties, and withholding tax, etc.

You must be sure about your final decision before place the option Fee. Because once you take U-turn after that, you will lose your option fee to the seller’s hand.

That is why getting AIP before time is more critical because there are several cases in history like buyers place the option fee for concerning property, but later, they realised that they are not able to pay the remaining cost of the ownership. Therefore, you must have to be sure about it first then take a step forward.

Sign Your S&P Agreement

Getting the OTP does not mean that you got that property officially.

Usually, OTP validation is almost about fourteen days because the seller is not able to sell his or her property to any other potential buyer in this duration.

 However, before these two weeks ran out, you must have to keep exercise OTP with a 4% Exercise Fee. Because, via exercise OTP, you will able to move into the Sale and purchase in agreement with the property owner.

During this process, your lawyer will make a caution on the property via Singapore, Land Authority, which means you are going to be the owner of that property in attempting to purchase that property from another seller.

You must have to remember that your option fee must be exercise & paid fully in net cash or CPF. Not by any bank mortgage.

Pay Buyer Stamp Duty

Before paying the buyer’s stamp duty, you must have to know about some essential points about what and why you were going to pay.

1. What is stamp duty

Stamp duty is a kind of land tax that you need to pay to IRAS and custom when you officially going to buy a property from someone.

It is all about the buyer who is going to buy property, how much you will pay for that property, is usually depend on where that property is.

2. How much I need to BSD

The buyer’s stamp duty paying is dependent on the price threshold property and the property area. Because there is a massive difference in price according to the city in Singapore.

It also depends on whether you are qualifying for BSD relief as a new buyer, or whether you want to pay an additional because you buying is second property.

3. How to calculate stamp duty

Some duties usually calculated in the same way as income tax. According to the Sale and purchase agreement, you are frankly accountable to pay Buyer stamp duty within two weeks.

The buyer’s stamp duty always evaluates base on the market’s worth of property. Here is a sequence in which usually BSD calculated.

  • First $100,000: 1%

  • Next $100,000: 2%

  • Next $800,000: 3%

  • Remaining amount: 4%


Below is a summary:

Singapore ABSD Rates | SG Luxury Condo


1.   Properties that are usually registered to companies rather than an individual mostly cost are more than $600,000, and These BSD is about 15%.

2.   The properties that are usually use for charities purpose have some relief from stamp duty.

3.   Right –to-buy transaction might be qualified for BSD.

4.   The property owner who already registered can get relaxation on the stamp to buy new properties.

5. Method of paying Stamp Duty.

Usually, you have only one month to complete after the purchase of the property file that you return it to IRAS and pay all stamp duties that are still due.

Your lawyer will calculate all of the stamp duty clearance on your behalf. They usually submit your all return and pay you the BSD and the ABSD on the final date, by having all collected money from your advance payment.

Final Inspection

Finally, it is time to take action from the seller side. After all clearance from lawyer documentation, the seller needs to move from the particular property completely.

Usually, Seller needs to take this action within 8 to 10 weeks after option exercise.

You must have to hire a professional inspector or any sharp agent, who can include an inspection article in the Option of Purchase, make it utilise as much as you could.

This is a tactical step, so you do not have to take this opportunity.

Because sometimes, after purchasing the property, the buyer realised that the defection of the building is too expensive to fix. Therefore, you need to ask the seller to fix all kinds of necessary repairs beforehand it over to you officially.

At the last moment, when the seller moves from the property, you must take a visit to the property for final inspection and make it sure that all fixing has been completed and the property is vacant. Also, confirm that each and everything in the building is working well according to the valuation report of the seller.

Execute final process at lawyer’s office.

On the completion date, after all, inspection and confirmed all vacant ownership,

It is the time for heading down in the conveyancer’s office to settle all stuff. Your conveyancer will evaluate and handle all funds transactions, and make you registered as a new property owner. You must have to take your bank checkbook, as you need to write complicated stuff like:

  1. Lawyer’s service charges

  2. Charges or fees for SLA (Singapore Land Authority)

  3. Loan Stamp Duty (if you got any loan from the bank)

  4. The service charges of inspector or agent (if you hired)

Collect the keys

If the seller has a key at the final date, then it will be better, otherwise, due to some issue, the lawyer will ask you for another day or timeline to pick up the key so that you can move with it with all your patience.

Once you collect the property’s keys, you will be able to move immediately or originate renovation as if you want.

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