For couples in Singapore who are intending to tie the knot, finding a home should be top on the planning list, because everyone knows, there’s a dearth of physical space in the Lion City.
Hence, looking for the perfect abode for the newlyweds should be done way ahead of the wedding vows.
What are your options?
Your choices range from a brand new Built-To-Order (BTO) flat or Executive Condominium (EC) from the Housing Development Board (HDB), a resale HDB flat, a new or resale condominium, or even a landed property depending on your budget.
For many, your marital home would be the first and costliest expense you’ll ever make in your life. So, your choice requires some careful deliberations.
At this stage of your life, you are probably not thinking about purchasing a property to be part of an investment portfolio but a place to live contentedly. However, it pays to consider your options in future as well.
The cost of available housing in Singapore is already high. While you may expect prices to grow in future, it is unlikely to skyrocket, with the current property measures in place. So it is sensible to work within your current budget to acquire a suitable dwelling, with a view that its value would be able continue to grow, either due to the age of the property, its location, its connectivity, its attributes and even its view.
Here is some helpful advice to help you decide:
1. Be aware of your time frame
Couples who have firmed up their decision to marry in Singapore would typically need to plan ahead. Many take advantage of the Fiance/Fiancee scheme to apply for a BTO as their starter home. Securing an allocation for a BTO is a great way to reserve your future marital residence at a subsidied price.
However, the BTO process is racked with uncertainty, as you would need to be given a queue number in order to apply for a particular project. Even if you are fortunate enough to be given a queue number, you may not be able to select your ideal flat if it has been selected by someone else ahead in the queue.
Beyond the selection of the BTO flat, you would also be expected to wait between 2.5 years to over 4 years to eventually receive the keys to your new home. There are forfeiture costs and penalties involved as well as suspension of your rights to apply for a BTO in case you have a change of heart. That is why applying for an HBD BTO should be taken seriously.
What about brand new ECs? ECs are a hybrid property, with the amenities of a private condominium, but with buying and selling restrictions that are close to a HDB flat. Its average price is also higher than BTO flats for the same reason.
Those who are eligible to purchase ECs would have a much easier time in selecting their flat, but the waiting time for the flat to be ready would also be 2.5 years or more.
If time is not on your side, and you want to start your marital life in your love nest right away, your best bet would be a resale HDB flat or a condominium.
2. Choose your ideal location
Singapore may be relatively small but the choice of location is still extremely important.
Naturally, access to transportation going to and from work is a major consideration. A home that is located close to or is easily accessible to schools, malls, hospitals, and other common places of interest are also good choices.
For some buyers, their ideal home location is a very personal and emotional decision. They may prefer to continue living in the areas that they grew up in and are familiar with. Others may want to live close to family so they can care for elderly parents or enjoy the family support when they plan to have children.
Let’s also not forget that you can enjoy subsidies when you purchase a resale HDB flat that is close to your parents’ home. Eligible first timer households can get as much as $110,000 in grants.
Going beyond the immediate benefits, a resale HDB flat or a condominium in a matured estate typically fetches a premium when you are ready to sell it.
3. Work Around Your Budget
After scouting the location, the next thing to consider is affordability.
Keep in mind that prime locations are priced higher and therefore the need to work around your budget. For instance, the average 4-room resale flat in Queenstown is priced around $695,000, while the average resale price of a 4-room flat in Sengkang is $415,000, according to HDB’s statistics. Your decision will be anchored on how much you can afford when securing a loan.
You should list down the possible choices, taking into account the essentials – location, price and accessibility. All of the choices should encompass all the essentials, falling within your budget range or limit.
4. Search For Properties Online
Couples planning for a wedding usually navigate the internet to save time, money, and effort to lessen the pressure of preparations. In the same light, it would greatly help if you search for properties via the internet. Find time to check the listings of available properties.
The list is regularly updated so narrowing down your list before physical inspection will lessen your burden of selecting.
5. Know what you will be paying for
Unless you have substantial funds to purchase a property outright, you would need a financial facility to pay for your marital home over time. You can make use of a housing loan for your property purchase.
There is no 100% funding so you’ll need to put up an equity or down payment to fill in the difference between the purchase price and your maximum loanable amount. In bank loans, the maximum loan-to-security ratio (LSR) is normally 80% if you meet the eligbility requirements. Otherwise, a higher equity is needed, if the approved LSR is below 80%.
The loan is payable for a period is 25-30 years, subject to a limiting age requirement (not to exceed 65 years of age at the maturity of the loan). The interest rate on the mortgage loan can be fixed or variable (repriced daily or monthly).
There are other incidental expenses like fire insurance and conveyancing fees (appraisal, legal and stamp fees among others) which are for the account of the prospective home buyer.
Saving time with the help from a professional
Now that you know the intricacies of purchasing a property in Singapore, you can lighten the pressure if you engage a property agent, who can assist and guide you during the entire process.
Many property buyers, particularly couples in Singapore who are looking for their marital dwelling, have simplified the complications with the valuable assistance of experienced real-estate agents. They found it to be the most cost efficient and less-time consuming route in making the all-important decision.
These agents are certified by the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA). They are incisive as well as perceptive to the actual needs of the buying couple. They bring their expertise on the table when it comes to location, budget, and pertinent information like pricing, processes, and expenses.
You can be assured of a competent, problem-free and timely service, because you can see how your agent helped their other customers, through the verified, honest reviews made on the PropertyAgentsReview site.
This research is kindly sponsored by OrangeTee.
OrangeTee is a reputable, dynamic and fast-growing real estate company in Singapore. Established in 2000, the company has over 3100 management and support staff, real estate consultants and managers, property management specialists, and information technology consultants, working together with the single aim of providing a one-stop solution to the real estate needs of its corporate and individual clients.
OrangeTee is also the first in Singapore to launch PropertyAgentsReview, a property agent search engine that is powered by peer reviews.