Managing the Flat Purchase

You can handle the flat purchase on your own or engage the services of a salesperson.

Managing the purchase yourself

Read the guide below, which will help you handle the purchase on your own. This guide is useful even if you decide to engage a salesperson.

Can I buy a flat?

Start your journey by registering an “Intent to Buy” via the HDB Resale Portal. After you have registered, you will be able to view your eligibility to buy the flat, the housing grants you may be eligible for, and whether you are eligible for an HDB housing loan.

If you are keen to obtain a housing loan from HDB, you will be guided by the portal to apply for an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) Letter. You need to have a valid HLE before the sellers can grant you the Option to Purchase (OTP).

What are the HDB resale procedures?

Once the price is agreed upon, the flat sellers will grant you an Option To Purchase (OTP) and you should not pay more than $1,000 to the sellers as the option fee. You have 21 calendar days option period to decide if you wish to proceed with the purchase.

The HDB Resale Portal provides a step-by-step guide on your buying journey. Once you have obtained your OTP from the sellers, you are required to login to the HDB Resale Portal to continue with the next step of your buying journey.

You will be required to indicate your mode of financing for your flat purchase in the portal, and submit a Request for Value of the flat you are buying.

Once this is done, you may decide to:

  • Proceed with the flat purchase and exercise the OTP. You need to pay the sellers an option exercise fee, where the total of the option fee and option exercise fee must not exceed $5,000

Or

  • Give up the flat purchase, and forfeit the option fee. The OTP will lapse after 21 days

If you decide to exercise the OTP, please make sure you have registered your Intent to Buy. If you are taking a housing loan from HDB, please make sure you have a valid HLE before your seller grants you the OTP. If you are taking a housing loan from a FI, please make sure you have a valid Letter of Offer before you exercise the OTP.  

If necessary, you can sign up for the resale seminar conducted by HDB.  

 

How much should I pay?

You can 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. You should also check if you are eligible for any CPF Housing Grants.

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

With your estimated housing budget, check the recent transacted prices if resale 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.

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

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 housing budget

  • Your housing needs, e.g. proximity to parents’ or children’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.

Note: * 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 that can be used for housing by using CPF Board's e-service and HDB loan using our payment plan calculator.

What do I look out for during flat 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. 

Engaging a salesperson

Please read the information in the above section, "Managing the purchase yourself".

Do 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.
  • Make sure 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.