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Frequently Asked Questions for Property Buyers
As a foreigner, am I eligible to purchase a residential property in Singapore?
Yes, you are eligible to purchase any property in a development that bears the title "Condominium" or "Apartment".
You need approval from the Land Dealing Unit at www.sla.gov.sg to purchase a landed property.
What is the minimum down-payment required to purchase an HDB or private residential property in Singapore?
You need to pay a down-payment of 10% of the purchase price, of which a minimum of 5% must be serviced by cash, and the balance by your CPF savings if any.
What is an Option to Purchase (OTP) as a buyer?
An Option to Purchase (OTP), a valid and binding real estate contract, gives you exactly that – the option to purchase the property.
Before you purchase the property, you will be asked to place an Option Fee when you sign the OTP, which will be drafted by a lawyer.
The Option Fee will be between $1 to $1,000 if you're buying a HDB resale flat, and typically 1% of the sale price if you're buying a condo or private property.
A HDB OTP will last three weeks, while a condo or private property OTP will last two weeks. Within this time, you (the buyer) should exercise the OTP by placing a deposit (see next FAQ) on the property.
Should you choose to back out of the deal, your Option Fee will be forfeited.
Note that it is essential to have an Approval-in-Principle (AIP). It's a promise by a bank to loan you a certain amount if you buy a house within the decided time frame.
What is a Sales and Purchase Agreement as a buyer?
For buyers, a Sales and Purchase Agreement is the next step after you obtain the OTP.
You'll have to place a deposit (also known as an Exercise Fee) for the property when you enter a Sales and Purchase Agreement with the seller. This is will be up to $5,000 (inclusive of the Option Fee) for a HDB resale flat, or 4% of the sale price for a condo or private property.
Your solicitor will then take the steps needed to complete the sale, which involves coordinating with the bank/CPF board for the mortgage and preparation of the contracts.
The entire process will typically take up to 10 weeks to complete.
What are the different kinds of Stamp Duties I need to be aware of?
There are three types of Stamp Duties:
- Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD)
- Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)
- Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD).
You only have to pay the first two as the buyer (regardless of whether you are a Singaporean Citizen, Permanent Resident, or foreigner).
Here are the levy rates for the BSD:
- First S$180,000: 1%
- Next S$180,000: 2%
- Remaining amount: 3%
Here are the levy rates for the ABSD (applies only to residential properties):
- First property: 0% for Singaporean Citizens, 5% for Singapore Permanent Residents
- Second property: 12% for Singaporean Citizens, 15% for Singapore Permanent Residents
- Third property onwards: 15% for Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents
- Foreigners pay 20% tax duty for each property purchase, regardless of volume
You have to pay the Stamp Duty within 14 days of signing the Sales & Purchase Agreement.