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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Lee

Housing Guide For New Couples - Time Saving & Cost Efficient Ways To Find Your New Love Nest.

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

One of the to-dos for couples who are planning to get married is to find their dream house. In Singapore, land is a scarce resource, therefore most of the residential properties are built high above the ground. The lack of land also contributes to the high prices of property. Despite that said, there are several measures in place by the government to ensure that public housing is still affordable for most Singaporeans.

Getting a home will be the first big ticket item for most couples. This makes it an important task to source out the property prices to find the one that works within your budget. Other factors to consider are: location, amenities and facilities nearby, connectivity, age of property, and the view surrounding it.

There are several options for those who are planning to move out of their parents’ home – Built-to-Order (BTO), Executive Condominium (EC), resale HDB flat, condominium, or a landed property.

Before deciding to get a flat, below are some tips that you should know.

Image by Straits Time.

1. Set a time frame

For those who are planning to get a BTO or new EC, it will typically take around 2.5 to 4 years to get the house keys. This makes it important to plan ahead so that you will not need to wait for a few years after registration of your marriage to live together with your partner.

Most new couples will get BTO as their first home as it is brand new and the neighbourhood tends to be unmatured, making it a cheaper option. Furthermore, BTO flats come at a subsidised price for new couples.

Before applying for a BTO, be sure to check that you and your partner have met the criteria. After confirming that you and your partner are eligible, you will have to ballot for a queue number (costs $10). The next steps are to take up a loan, if needed to, and select your BTO unit. Following that, the lease agreement has to be signed and down payment has to be paid. After 2.5 to 4 years, you will be able to pick up the keys to your new home.

In the event where you and your partner decide not to go on with the BTO, there will be a penalty fee and suspension of rights to apply for a BTO again.

ECs are another type of public housing in Singapore, but it looks similar to a private condominium. The average price of ECs is higher than BTOs due to the numerous amenities available. However, the buying and selling restrictions are close to that of HDB flats.

For those that are unable to wait for a brand new BTO flat or EC, an alternative would be resale HDB flat, condominium, or a landed property.

Read: Private Vs Executive Condo? Here are the fundamental Differences that You Must Know.

Image from Lianhe Zaobao

2. Pick your ideal location

Location is one of the most important factors when choosing a home. For most home buyers, the ease of access from home to work, school and town area are the top considerations. Not only that, there should be amenities, such as malls, clinics, and markets, located nearby.

Some might also choose their new home based on where they grew up as the sense of familiarity will give them security. The others tend to choose to live near their elderly parents so that they can easily take care of them, or to leave their future children in their parents’ care.

For couples who are getting their flat for the first time, it is possible to receive as much as $160,000 in grants if the flat is located near your parents’. The Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) is only applicable for resale flat buyers.

Looking beyond the grants and immediate benefits, the ideal location should either be already matured or going to be developed by the government. This makes the property more valuable and will fetch you a higher selling price in the future.

3. Know your budget

Another important factor to consider is your budget. By knowing how much you have on hand, you will be able to better filter out the properties and estimate the amount that you need to loan.

Taking two resale 4-room flats as an example, one is located in Jurong East and is priced at $420,000 while the other is located at Toa Payoh and is priced at $830,000. Both flats have a remaining lease of around 92 years.

The considerable difference between flats is something that one has to take note of as it will affect your choices and the chances of you securing a loan. Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) or Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) is widely used among financial institutes to determine if you are able to take on a loan on either a HDB or private property.

If possible, you should list out the different properties that you are interested in and their respective prices. Do take note of their location, accessibility, and nearby amenities as all these essentials will fall into your consideration later on.

4. Search online

Examples of online property sites include OrangeTee,, PropertyGuru, and EdgeProp. These sites have several features that can help to filter out the properties based on preferences. For instance, OrangeTee has the option to filter the type of property, districts, minimum and maximum price, number of bedrooms, and more.

The lists on such property sites are constantly updated, making it easier for you to find out the market price of the properties around your ideal location. Overall, searching up online will save you the time and energy needed to find out the prices individually and the hassle to visit the property to look at its surroundings.

5. Understand what you are paying for

Downpayment is a must when purchasing a property, but the difference lies in the percentage that you will have to pay upfront. For bank loans, the maximum Loan-to Value ratio (LTV) is 75%. In the event where you do not meet the eligibility, you will get a loan of less than 75% of your purchase value or valuation whichever is lower. Simply put, you will have a larger amount to pay for down payment.

The maximum loan tenure for housing loans is at 25 years for HDB flats and 30 years for non-HDB properties. However, if the tenure period goes beyond the borrower’s age of 65 years, the loan will only be granted for the x number of years that did not exceed the borrower’s age limit.

There are two types of home loans – fixed and variable. A fixed home loan pegs its interest rate to the current market rate for the stated amount of time (eg. 3 months) while the variable home loan will be updated constantly (eg. 1 month).

Conveyancing fees, such as Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) and legal fees, and incidental expenses, such as fire insurance, has to be calculated within the expenses as well.

After reading this article, you might still be unclear on certain aspects. Do not worry, you can engage in the services of a property agent to help to ease your worry of finding a new home.

For many property buyers, especially the first-timers, getting the assistance of a property agent has significantly helped them to save on time to look for a suitable property. It is also more cost efficient and they do not have to deal with the paperwork.

William & Eileen
William Lee / Eileen Au

Ideal Home is well-liked by both local and international clients for their friendly yet professional approach in the way it goes about helping them with their real estate goals in Singapore. They welcome the opportunity to have a no-obligation chat with you to see how they can help you to achieve your real estate goals in Singapore.

Contact us today @ +65 8666 4333 (William) or +65 8686 4333 (Eileen).

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