Guide to Buying Resale Condo in Singapore: The Full Checklist

·9-min read

Buying a resale condo can be an attractive alternative to buying a condo in a new launch, not least because you can begin living in or renting out your condo much sooner. The store of value in condo also makes it ideal for those who are looking for an asset to invest in.

But buying a resale condo in Singapore can sometimes be a complicated process, especially if you are a first-timer. Other than saving up for a sizable downpayment, there are many administrative steps to take and deadlines to abide by.

If you are considering a resale condo, here is an overview of the benefits of picking a resale condo, as well as a checklist of all the steps you need to take, from deciding which property to buy to picking up your keys.

Benefits of Choosing a Resale Condo Over a New Launch Condo

Resale condos have a few advantages over condos in new launches and this is why some homebuyers opt to buy a resale condo in Singapore:

1. Resale Condos Allow You to Inspect the Unit Before Making the Decision to Purchase

When buying private property in a new launch, you only have the showflat and brochures to go by. The finished product might differ from what is advertised. For resale condos, however, you can inspect the actual unit, which not only lets you see exactly what you will get but also lets you consider factors such as sunlight and noise level.

One thing to look out for though is past defects and issues with the condo or neighbours. An online search should be able to throw up common complaints of other residents in the condo development. However, complaints pertaining to your specific unit might be harder to come by, which is why undertaking a thorough inspection is important.

2. Resale Condos Are Ready for Almost Immediate Move in

Buying a resale condo enables you to move in immediately after the sale is completed and does not involve waiting for the development to be built. For investors looking to rent out their units as soon as possible, this is ideal.

3. Resale Condos Are Typically Larger Since They Were Built in the Past

The trend in the market has been moving towards smaller property sizes over the years and it is likely to continue. Thus, as property prices become more expensive, homes become smaller as well. Resale condos are typically older, which means they were built at those times when property size is still big. Thus, if you want or need more space, resale condos might be more suitable.

4. There’s More Room for Price Negotiation for Resale Condos

Since different sellers have their own reasons for why they want to sell, this leaves more room for negotiation for resale condos compared to new launch condos.

Recommended Article: New Launch Property vs Resale Condos in Singapore: Which is Better?

Step-By-Step Guide to Buying a Resale Condo in Singapore

Ready to shop for resale condos? Here's a detailed guide on what you need to do.

1. Browse Resale Condo Listings and Make Viewing Appointments

A property agent can help you find suitable properties based on your price range and criteria. Alternatively, if you do not wish to engage an agent, you can browse portals like PropertyGuru. Shortlist some properties that interest you and that are within your budget, and then make appointments to view them.

2. Go for Property Viewings

Check the unit thoroughly for defects. Some things to look out for include cracks and stains on the walls, ceilings, floors and tiles, as well as the taps, toilet and flushing system. Here is a complete defects inspection checklist. Aesthetic and environmental factors such as view, sunlight and noise levels in the unit should also be assessed.

Other than checking the actual unit, you should also inspect the surrounding area. Check how close public transport links are, as well as what amenities there are in the area and neighbourhood.

3. Negotiate the Price

Once you've settled on the dream home (or well, at least the best one of the lot), it's time to talk about the dollars and sense.

Property prices are frequently open to negotiation in Singapore, so be sure to bargain in order to get a more attractive price. Do your research on similar properties in the area so you know how much you can reasonably lower the price by.

It might also be a good idea to check for the property’s valuation with professional real estate valuers. That’s because the property valuation impacts your home loan quantum (which pegged to 75% loan-to-value (LTV)) and the Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) you need to pay. And it’s simple. Just enquire how much home loan you can qualify for at PropertyGuru Finance and you can get a rough idea of the property’s current market valuation.

4. Plan Your Upfront Payments and Finances

Once you have negotiated a price you are happy with, it is time to plan your finances before you commit to the purchase. Here is what you can expect to pay from now until the day you collect your keys.

  • Booking fee (1% of purchase price)

  • Stamp duty and (if applicable) Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)

  • Balance down payment (4% of purchase price)

  • Balance purchase price minus home loan amount

  • Cash over valuation (if applicable)

While you can typically use your CPF savings to pay part of property price as well as the stamp duty and ABSD, note that the 1% option fee will still have to be put up in cash. And not to forget, you still have to pay the cash over valuation (COV), which is also in cash.

In addition, limits on the use of CPF savings might apply depending on how many years remain on the lease, how much you have in your CPF accounts and/or your age.

5. Pay Booking Fee (1%) and Obtain Option to Purchase (OTP)

In order to obtain an Optionto urchase (OTP), you must pay in cash a booking fee equivalent to 1% of the purchase price. Once the OTP is obtained, the seller cannot agree to sell the property to anyone else until you exercise the option or until it has expired.

6. Take Out a Home Loan

Once you have paid the booking fee, it is time to source for financing. Consider how much of the purchase price you can put up using cash and CPF savings, and how much you will need to borrow. Next, compare the interest rates on loans from different banks in order to find one that is competitively priced.

If you need help, PropertyGuru's Home Finance Advisors can guide you. You can even request for a resale condo payment schedule from our home finance advisors.

Be aware that the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) might limit how much banks can lend you. All your loan repayments, including your housing loans and other loans like car loans, tuition fee loans and credit card debt, should not exceed 60% of your income.

You can read more about home financing in Singapore here: Singapore Home Loans 101: Breaking Down The Basics.

“How much down payment for resale condo” is another question you have to consider. Note that taking a home loan requires you to pay 25% of the purchase price as down payment since banks will only loan you up to 75% when buying private property in Singapore.

7. Exercise Option and Pay Balance Down Payment (4%), Stamp Duty and (If Applicable) ABSD

In order to exercise the OTP, you need to return the signed document to the buyer. Depending on what is written on the OTP, you usually also need to pay 4% of the purchase price either on the same date or not long after.

Stamp duty and, if applicable, ABSD will also have to be paid when the option is exercised. Your lawyer will probably wish to collect the 4% initial down payment, stamp duty and ABSD payments a few days in advance.

8. Pay Balance Purchase Price, Minus Home Loan Amount

On the completion date, you will have to pay the balance of the purchase price minus your home loan amount. Your lawyer will probably ask you to submit a cashier’s order a few days in advance.

9. Collect Your Keys

On the completion date indicated in your contract, your lawyer will pass your balance down payment to the seller, and you will thereafter be free to collect the keys to your new home.

... And that's it! Congratulations on your new home.

Other FAQs About Resale Condo in Singapore:

Do Condos Have Good Resale Value?

Condos in Singapore generally have a good resale value. According to the private property price index released by Urban Redevelopment Authority every quarter, the value of private properties in Singapore has been on an uptrend. It continues to climb, even in recent years.

How Can I Buy Resale Condo in Singapore?

Buying a resale condo in Singapore involves nine simple steps, starting with finding your ideal unit on PropertyGuru.

  1. Browse resale condo listings and make viewing appointments

  2. Go for property viewings

  3. Negotiate the price

  4. Plan your upfront payments and finances

  5. Pay booking fee (1%) and obtain the OTP

  6. Take out a home loan

  7. Exercise option and pay balance down payment (4%), stamp duty and (if applicable) ABSD

  8. Pay balance purchase price, minus home loan amount

  9. Collect your keys

How Much is the Cheapest Resale Condo in Singapore?

You can find cheap condos in Singapore that are selling at prices equivalent to HDBs, i.e. less than $700k. There are also a handful of cheap freehold resale condos in Singapore that are selling for less than $600k.

How Much Cash do I Need to Buy a Resale Condo in Singapore?

To pay for a private property in Singapore, you can only loan up to 75% of the purchase price from banks for the home loan. Thus, you will need to pay a 25% down payment in cash/CPF. Out of this 25%, you will need at least 5% of the purchase price in cash. The remaining can come from your CPF OA.

How Much is the Condo Maintenance Fee in Singapore?

Condo maintenance fee varies from condo to condo. However, you can expect to pay at least $300 a month as maintenance fee to the condo’s management committee, i.e. Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST).

For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.

Looking for a new home? Head to PropertyGuru to browse the top properties for sale in Singapore.

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