Managing the Flat Purchase

You may manage the flat purchase on your own or engage the services of a salesperson.

Manage the purchase on your own

The following guide will better prepare you for the flat purchase.

Check your eligibility to buy a resale flat

Start your journey by registering an Intent to Buy via the HDB Resale Portal. After registration, you will know your eligibility for the purchase of a resale flat, CPF housing grant(s) and an HDB housing loan.

If you wish to obtain a housing loan from HDB, apply for an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter. You must have a valid HLE letter before the sellers can grant you the Option to Purchase (OTP).

If you intend to get a housing loan from a financial institution, you must have a valid Letter of Offer before you exercise the OTP.

Consider your budget

You may use a combination of cash, savings in your CPF Ordinary Account, and a housing loan from HDB or a financial institution (FI) regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to buy a flat.

To plan for your flat purchase, you may use the budget calculator to estimate your budget and compare the information on housing loans offered by HDB and the participating FIs.

With an estimated budget, use HDB Map Services, resale flat prices and resale statistics in your search for an HDB flat and in setting your offer price.

Before you proceed with the flat purchase, have your HLE letter ready if you wish to take a housing loan from HDB, or approach an FI for an in-principle approval for a housing loan.

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

Search for a flat

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

  • Your budget
  • Your housing needs, e.g. to live near parents’ or child’s home, place of work, schools, etc.
  • Your ethnic group to buy a flat in the block, or your nationality if you are a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) household. Learn more about the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and SPR quota
  • Remaining lease of the flat*

You may be approached by salespersons offering to act for you. If you are handling the purchase yourself, please tell them so.

* CPF usage and HDB housing loan limits will depend on the extent the remaining lease can cover the youngest buyer to the age of 95. You can check the maximum amount of CPF savings and loan that can be used for housing by using CPF Board's e-service and HDB housing loan using our payment plan calculator.

Attend flat viewings

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

  • Condition 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
  • Any tenants in the flat and whether they can move out by the resale completion
  • Signs of unlicensed moneylending activities
  • Direct lift access, i.e., if the flat is on a lift-landing floor
  • Any upgrading programmes announced for the flat, and if the upgrading cost has been paid
  • Issues which you may be concerned with, e.g. past incidents which may have happened in the flat, neighbours, environment, etc.

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

Proof of flat ownership

Request the flat sellers to show proof that they own the flat and are eligible to sell it.

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 the owners of a flat.

Negotiate the price

Price negotiation is not simply about offering the lowest price 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
  • 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 suits your needs and budget, take your time to inspect the flat and its condition before deciding on the purchase.

Other matters

Other than the flat price, there are other matters you would need to consider when you negotiate with the flat sellers:

Deposit

You have to pay the sellers an Option Fee when they grant you an OTP. You also have to pay the sellers an Option Exercise Fee when you exercise the OTP.

The Option Fee (amount of $1 to $1,000) and Option Exercise Fee make up the deposit, which must be between $2 and $5,000 in total.

Submission of resale application

Under Clause 12 of the OTP, you and the sellers will agree on the timeframe to submit the resale application to HDB.

This is a contractual term between you and the sellers. Once it is agreed upon, it may be varied only with mutual consent.

Extension of stay

To ease sellers’ transition to their next home, sellers may arrange with you to extend their stay temporarily in the flat, for up to 3 months after the resale completion.

The temporary extension of stay is subject to your agreement. If you agree, the minimum occupation period that you have to fulfil after the flat purchase will start only when the sellers have moved out of your flat.

Any other matters E.g. will the sellers leave behind any furniture or appliances? They may offer these items to you and include them in the inventory list of the OTP.

Understand the HDB resale procedures

The HDB Resale Portal provides a step-by-step guide on your buying journey. You may also read the following for more details of the resale procedures:

To better understand the resale process, you may sign up for a resale seminar conducted by HDB.

Engage a salesperson

You may engage a salesperson to help you manage the flat purchase. However, you still need to know your eligibility to buy a resale flat and the financing of the flat purchase. You may read the information in ‘Manage the purchase on your own’, and also:

  • Read the Council for Estate Agents (CEA)'s Consumer Guide and educational materials for practical tips when engaging the services of a salesperson
  • Check the CEA’s Public Register to make sure that the salesperson is registered with CEA
  • 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. If you have any issues relating to estate agents or their salespersons, please seek clarification from CEA.