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Purchasing Real Estate In Singapore: 3 Tips for First-Time Buyers

As Malaysia's closest neighbor, Singapore is one of the most sought-after holiday destinations globally. It's a bustling, developed city that boasts architectural wonders, lush greenery, exciting cuisine, and all the amenities you could ever need – it's no wonder that foreigners and residents alike decide to settle there.

However, purchasing real estate in Singapore can be challenging for those who have never embarked on a property purchase. With complex property rules for both residents/foreigners and a high cost of living, it's easy to see how first-time buyers can get confused while securing their first home. To make this process easier, we've created this article outlining several tips for first-time buyers looking to purchase their first home in Singapore – continue reading to learn more.

Understand The Rules Regarding Property Sales

Despite being one of the top destinations for investing in residential properties, Singapore has strict rules regarding property sales, so it's worth obtaining a reasonable degree of understanding before embarking on a property purchase. Anyone can purchase Singaporean real estate, but there are certain limitations regardless of whether you're a resident or a foreigner.

If you're a foreigner, you can only invest in apartments housed in buildings less than six stories, and if you wish to live higher, you'll have to obtain permission from the Singaporean government. As for condominiums, there are no restrictions to stop foreigners from investing.

Whereas, if you wish to purchase vacant land as a foreigner, you need permission from the Singapore Land Authority. For more detailed advice surrounding Singaporean property restrictions, you could consider enlisting the services of mortgage experts. It will be especially beneficial to speak to knowledgeable advisors who are on hand to assist residents and foreigners alike.

Experts such as PropertyGuru can provide exactly that. Their website also provides visitors with helpful resources and tools, such as a mortgage repayment calculator or a buyer stamp duty calculator, to help potential homeowners with their Singaporean property-purchase process. Consider looking at their website/ blog for more insight into their services.

Decide On The Property Type

One of the first things you will have to decide once you've obtained a reasonable understanding of the Singaporean property market is what type of property you are looking for. Whether you're looking for a landed property, private condominium, terraced house, or a townhouse – the Singaporean property market offers potential buyers a versatile selection.

Even before you started looking at properties, we'd wager that you had a vague understanding of what kind of property you were looking for. However, you may find that you might have to alter your perceptions slightly once you see what the Singaporean property market offers and how your budget fits into it.

Since Singapore boasts an expensive cost of living, the house prices reflect this, so you might find your original idea is unattainable either due to monetary or legal issues. To avoid disappointment, if you're purchasing the property for yourself, ensure that you take every opportunity to learn about the Singaporean property market and create a list of home features that are negotiable and non-negotiable so you can narrow down what you're looking for from the start.

Whereas, if you're purchasing the property from an investment perspective to obtain a rental yield, you'll have to consider the features that will attract potential renters. Consider who your target audience will be and what would make that demographic choose your rental over another. Would it have to be in a district close to the city center? Close to local amenities? Near popular tourist attractions? Knowing how to answer these questions will help in your search.

Outline Your Budget

Also, one of the first things you should do when purchasing property in Singapore is to outline a realistic budget for the property you're going to buy. The prices will fluctuate depending on the location, size, and property type, but generally, the house prices in Singapore are high regardless. So, to prepare yourself, it's recommended that you conduct research into property prices around the area to get a rough idea of what to expect.

Once you've shopped around for rough prices, you can begin assessing your finances. You could opt to do this yourself using online tools such as affordability calculators to help you determine an affordable budget, or you could enlist the services of a financial advisor to do this on your behalf, depending on what you can afford. Ensure that you make a list of features that you require from a Singaporean home and which you could comprise.

Doing so will save you wasted time spent looking at unsuitable and make the act of property hunting more efficient. Also, don't forget to check if you're eligible for any grants if you're purchasing an HDB flat or a condominium and which ones apply to you if you do qualify. Depending on your situation, grants are a useful way of reducing the amount of your own money you put into the house purchase.