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Ways to Buy

Handling the flat purchase

You can handle the purchase on your own, or pay a commission to engage the service of a salesperson.

Handling the purchase yourself

Read the guide below which will be useful in helping you handle the purchase, even if you decide to engage a salesperson.




Can I buy a flat?

Find out the eligibility conditions, and check your eligibility to buy a resale flat.

How much should I pay?

Check out the resale flat prices of flats in the location you are interested in. These prices reflect the market conditions at the time of the transactions. You may refer to them to set your offer price. 

Do a financial plan to calculate your budget. You can use a combination of cash, savings in your CPF Ordinary Account, and housing loan to buy a flat. Check if you are eligible for a CPF Housing Grant.

Get an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter if you wish to take an HDB housing loan. If you wish to take a home loan from financial institutions (FIs) that are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, please approach the FIs for an in-principal loan approval.

Make sure you set aside some money for renovation and other necessary expenses to settle into your new home.  

Where do I look for a flat?

Check the Classifieds section of the newspapers or online property portals. In shortlisting flats for viewing, please consider:

  • Your budget
  • If the flat would meet your needs, e.g. proximity to parents’ or children’s home, place of work, school, etc.
  • If there are any restrictions on your ethnic group to buy a flat in the block, or your nationality if you are an SPR whose nationality is non-Malaysian. Check the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) quota
  • The balance flat lease

Note: A flat with a lease of less than 60 years may affect the use of CPF savings and taking of an HDB housing loan. Please read More Information on Your HDB Loan.

What do I look out for during a viewing?

You may arrange for a viewing at different times of the day and week to better gauge if the flat is suitable for you. During a viewing, do consider the following:

  • Conditions of the flat, e.g. renovation and upkeep
  • Spalling concrete, cracks or leakages on ceiling or wall
  • Flat orientation, e.g. north, south, east, or west
  • Tenants in the flat
  • Signs of unlicensed moneylending activities
  • If the flat is on a lift-landing floor
  • Any upgrading programmes announced for the flat, and if the upgrading cost has been settled
  • Issues which you may be concerned with, e.g. past incidents which may have happened in the flat, relationship with the neighbours, etc.

If you have any doubts, please feel free to clarify with the flat sellers or their appointed salesperson. Take note of the answers and observe their reactions.

Proof of flat ownership

Please request the flat sellers to produce evidence of their flat ownership and eligibility to sell the flat. Documents such as a printout from the flat sellers’ My HDBPage at HDB InfoWEB, property tax statement, town council statement, or title deed are examples of documents that can confirm ownership of the flat.

How do I negotiate the price?

Price negotiation is not simply about offering the lowest and haggling with the sellers. Here are some useful tips.

Prepare yourself

Be mindful of your budget. Set a realistic asking price, and the upper limit, based on your budget and your perceived value of the flat. 

Arm yourself with information and alternatives

You are in a better position to negotiate when:

  • You have more information about the flat and the flat sellers
  • You have found other flats which you are open to consider buying

Time and timing

Do not rush into your flat purchase. Give yourself time to look around and assess your choices.

When you see a flat that fits your needs, take your time to inspect it. Remember the caveat emptor principle - you buy what you see. 

What are the HDB resale procedures?

Check the buying process to find out more on the HDB resale procedures.

Once the price is agreed upon, the flat sellers will grant you an Option To Purchase (OTP) and you pay not more than $1,000 to the sellers as the option fee. Do note that the option period is 21 calendar days. 

If you wish to use the savings in your CPF Ordinary Account or take a housing loan to buy the flat, please apply online immediately to HDB for a valuation. With the valuation, you may decide to:

  • Proceed with the flat purchase and exercise the OTP. You need to pay the sellers an option exercise fee. The total amount for the option fee and the option exercise fee must not exceed $5,000.
  • Give up the flat purchase. The OTP will lapse after 21 days. You forfeit the option fee.     

If you decide to exercise the OTP, make sure you complete and submit the online Resale Checklist to HDB. You need to have a valid HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter or an FI’s Letter of Offer before you exercise the OTP. 

If necessary, you can sign up for a resale seminar which is conducted by HDB. 




Engaging a salesperson

In addition to the above guide, do take note of the following:

  • Read the Council for Estate Agents' (CEA) Consumer Guide and case studies for practical tips for engaging the services of a salesperson.
  • Check the CEA’s Public Register to make sure that the salesperson is registered with CEA as a licensed salesperson
  • Ensure that you discuss with the salesperson and mutually agree on: 
    • The terms of service
    • The commission payable
    • The period of representation
    • Any exclusivity (if agreed upon)
    • Any other terms, such as payment for advertising
  • Engaging a salesperson is a private matter between you and the salesperson. Seek clarification from CEA if you have issues relating to estate agents or their salespersons.