Finding your new abode in your new home?
Try these handy property-hunting hacks to land your Singaporean home, sweet home.
The following three apps provide tools to help you make renting or buying decisions. Take advantage of their free rate comparison and affordability calculators, expert advice, and more.
Valued for the quality of its information on the SG real estate market, it offers a thorough listing of residential properties. Tip: Use
it to inform your decision about the amount to offer when renting a condo with its “View Past Transactions” feature.
If you like the simple, modular visual presentation of Airbnb with lots of photos and easy navigation, you’ll like 99.co’s app. Search by housing type, neighbourhood or nearby MRT station.
Billed as “Singapore’s leading real estate website”, its app provides a flexible search interface for premium properties and access to real estate agents. Figure out your monthly repayments using its useful mortgage calculator.
Where you live has a huge impact on your day-to-day comfort, so search for a place close to amenities and transport hubs you will frequent. Can’t commit? Consider staying in a serviced apartment for a month or two.
Before signing your tenancy or rental agreement (a.k.a., the lease), note details such as:
• Term of lease and termination clauses (see below)
• Rental payment and any utility charges
• Property inventory
• Any maintenance or repair fees for items within the apartment
Lost your job, or need to relocate during the lease period? Foreigners can terminate the contract after a year by giving two months’ notice under the Diplomatic or Repatriate Clause. But, note: Most landlords will only include the diplomatic clause if the lease lasts more than a year.
Another tip: If you’re renting an apartment or condo for $3,500 or more per month, and you sign a lease for two years, you typically won’t need to pay to engage a property or real estate agent. Why? Usually, the landlord’s agent splits the commission.
Just FYI: Not all properties in SG can be bought by non-Singaporeans. While you can purchase a condo unit or shophouse, you cannot buy landed property without prior approval, as you must either be a permanent resident (PR) or contribute to the SG economy for your application to be considered. The exception? Expats are allowed to buy any kind of property at Sentosa Cove, as a fast-track approval will be given. However, a buyer’s stamp duty of 15 percent on the property price will be imposed, unless you are from a country with a free-trade agreement with SG.
As for public housing, you may only invest in an Housing Development Board (HDB) unit that is at least 10 years old, or buy a brand-new apartment through the Build-To-Order scheme (reserved for married or engaged couples).
Alternatively, aim for an HDB apartment from the resale market, though you must wait three years from the date of receiving your PR status before you can buy. In any case, you and your partner must either be a citizen or PR.
Some text adapted from www.homeanddecor.com.sg + www.thenewsavvy.com / Additional Reporting: Christopher Ong Ujine, From The Finder Annual Directory 2019
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