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September 28, 2021

101 Guide to Selling Your House

Selling your house is not one of those things you do on a whim. There are a lot of events in your life that could lead you to decide to sell your home. Regardless of your ‘why,’ the process of selling your home remains the same. It’s a multi-step process that takes time; even if you’re able to find a buyer right away! Just filing the necessary paperwork to register your home for sale can take several weeks!

Due to Singapore’s small landmass, it only makes sense for the government to break steps up in such a way wherein you will naturally give special attention to how your real estate transactions are conducted. Here are several things you absolutely need to know once you decide to sell your property.

1. Figure Out Your Eligibility


For HDB and ECs:

Before you go forward with selling your property, first you have to check if there are any barriers to the sale of the property! Thankfully, the HDB doesn’t have an extensive checklist for this: you just need to have fulfilled the Minimum Occupancy Period (M.O.P.) for your property. In most cases, it’s just 5 years.

Exceptions are only in very niche cases, such as if you purchased your property through the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, or the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme. If so, your M.O.P. would be 20 years and 7 years, respectively.

Mode of purchasing property

M.O.P. Length

Regular 5 years
Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme 7 years
Fresh Start Housing Scheme 20 years

 

A foolproof way to check this would be by looking into your My HDBPage using your Singpass. You can check if you’ve met the MOP by checking your flat details.

For private properties:

On the other hand, privately owned homes or properties acquired outside of the HDB system don’t have an MOP. However, selling a property too soon could potentially lead to you having to pay Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD). This is a property-related tax applicable to all residential properties sold within the first three years of its purchase date. For properties sold less than 1 year after purchase, it would result in a fee amounting to 12% of the property’s estimated market value. The fee decreases the longer the property is on the market, though, and for property purchased three or more years ago will not require you to pay the SSD at all.

Holding Period

SSD Rate

Less than a year 12% of total market value
1 to 2 years 8% of total market value
2 to 3 years 4% of total market value
3 years and up None

 

2. Declare Your Intent to Sell

Now that you’ve checked if your property is eligible to be put on the market, you can formally declare your intent to sell. You can easily do this via the HDB Resale Portal. Your next step after this is to wait for word from the HDB on when you will be allowed to grant an Option to Purchase (OTP) to your potential buyers. Just keep in mind that your intent to sell will only be valid for 12 months. That means if you are unable to find a buyer within this time, you will have to register again. Thankfully this process is relatively straightforward, with the main potential headache coming from waiting for feedback from the HDB.

3. Pick The Right Agent and Find A Buyer

The vast majority of people who perform transactions on the real estate market do so with assistance from a real estate agent or agency. While you can opt to go it alone, this means you will have to perform the entire process of marketing your property on your own. Connecting with an agent gives you a multitude of perks, so we highly encourage you to work with one! You can read more about this process here.

Real estate agents cover all of the activities (if not, more) involved in a property transaction. Aside from handling the staging of your property (which is an entire process on its own), they’ll also market your property online for you. This marketing entails creating content showcasing your property in the form of photos and video, as well as placement on premium channels on real estate properties such as PropertyGuru. The amount of content created for you will depend on which agent, or agency, you entrust with your property. Don’t be surprised if you end up seeing your property on TikTok!

However, you should note that aside from covering all the paperwork involved in the transaction, real estate agents won’t do everything else for you. A good real estate agent goes above and beyond paperwork to cover the subtle things involved in marketing, as well as the negotiation process with a potential buyer.

4. Grant Your Buyer the Option to Purchase

After finding a buyer, your next step is to grant them the Option to Purchase (OTP). Regardless of whether your property is HDB or private, you will need to go through this process if you wish to proceed with the transaction. Think of this as a paid reservation for your buyer to formally acquire your property.

Upon granting the OTP to your potential buyer, they will retain the exclusive right to purchase your property for a period of 3 weeks. Upon granting the OTP, your buyer is then obligated to pay the option fee. For private property owners, this initial fee is 1% of the property’s total cost, with another 4% required upon their exercising of the option fee. Option fees for HDB owners usually cap out at around $5000 SGD for resale properties and $3000 for new properties.

 

5. Meet With A Conveyancing Lawyer

Regardless of whether your property is private or HDB, you will still need the services of a conveyancing lawyer to ensure your transaction goes as smoothly as possible. With their assistance, you will be able to include secondary costs such as property taxes, buyers’ stamp duty, and of course, conveyancing fees in the final quote your buyer will receive. Making sure these fees are all covered beforehand ensures you won’t have to pay for these out of pocket.

6. Final Steps

Before you proceed to finalize your transaction, make sure you’ve submitted a resale application to the HDB via its portal. You will then have to endorse your resale documents to the HDB, pay any necessary fees, and wait on them for your approval letter. After everything is good to go, you can have one final meeting with your buyer with your conveyancing lawyer in tow. During this final meeting with your lawyer, you will also receive the final 95% of your due payment.

At this point, you will have officially sold and handed over ownership of your property to your buyer. Regardless of whether this took you weeks, months, or even years, this is the end of the road.

The process is done!