What Expats Should Know Before Buying Property in Singapore


Before you place that final signature, are you sure you’re buying the right property? Expats in Singapore are getting leveraged buying power, thanks to the favourable exchange rate. But is it really the best property in terms of your personal preferences, basic needs, and of course your budget? Here’s what you should know before you sign up for a mortgage.

hdb-rochor-centre-496748-data-620x264Types of Housing

Singapore, like other countries, have several options when it comes to housing. There’s public housing, commonly known as HDB flats, which comprises 80 percent of the population’s living accommodation. There are also traditional apartment rentals and condominium units located inland, yet a buyer on a budget may have limited options to choose from.

There’s also shophouses, which are basically a hybrid between residential and commercial properties. Knowing the type of housing you need should be common sense, yet most expats neglect the need to identify this bit of information. As a result, they often get confused and overwhelmed when looking through broker-generated and online listings of property in Singapore.

PinDrop-LocationLocation and Community

Environmental factors must also be carefully examined before you move in, especially if you are bringing family members along. Is it safe for your spouse and kids? Is the culture comparable or conflicting to your own? Are there public services like health centers, pharmacies, and public schools? Does the community look impoverished or wealthy?

A good location makes it easier for you to access public services and get to where you need to be on time and without hassle. Moreover, a great community with a highly developed culture makes it easier to integrate yourself and your family to this new place.

Finalizing is Important

Once you find the right house or service apartments in Singapore, don’t be passive when making an offer. Be aggressive and acknowledge the fact that there are other interested parties looking to buy it from behind. This is where a real estate agent becomes a valuable asset. Your real estate agent can advise you on what steps to follow next once you’ve decided on the right property.

Prepare an option to purchase or offer to purchase. This consists of 1 percent of the purchase price to show your commitment and interest in buying the property. In exchange, the seller should give you rights to purchase. You get 14 days to exercise your right to purchase. If you do not exercise it before the two weeks, it may be sold to a different party. If you do choose to buy the private single-family home or HDB flats for sale, exercise the option by signing it and sending it back to the seller’s representative.

As a final tip, make sure you have permission from the housing authority to acquire a property. Without such permission, any transactions made are considered null. Your broker will know how to proceed with requesting for permission from a local housing agency.

Whether you’re buying property in Singapore to turn into an investment or business or a new home for your growing family, it pays to be aware of key geographic, legal, and cultural differences in property acquisition. The guidelines above should build a solid base for you to make all the right decisions, from the initial property search to the contract signing.