Compared with selling a flat, it is much easier, more straightforward and a lot less stressful buying your HDB flat on your own without the assistance of an agent. Like with everything, especially if you are doing it for the first time, it is essential that you go into the process fully prepared, and with as much information as possible.
Before you Start
The first thing you need to do is check you are eligible by registering your intent to buy on HDB’s own resale portal. Once you have done that, and have got the green light, you can also use the portal to see if and what grants or loans you are eligible for. Finally, if you qualify, and do want to apply for a loan, the site will take you through the steps required to get the process rolling.
Set your Budget
This is crucial, and something that should be done whether you are engaging an agent or not. Create a financial plan, totaling up all of the cash you want to put forward for the purchase, your CPF Ordinary Account savings, as well as any loans and grants you are eligible for. For those using funds from a financial institution for a private mortgage, they should be approached at this stage, so you know how much money you have to play with. Also, don’t forget that the cost of moving is not just the cost of your new flat. There will be many other factors and costs to consider, such as moving your belongings, the purchase of any new furniture, fixtures and fittings at the new property and the cost of any renovations you may need to carry out at your new home. It is always best to leave yourself with a safety net to cover unforeseen circumstances.
Find your New Home
Have a look at the resale prices of the flats in areas you are interested in, to get a feel for what kind of place you can afford. This is also very good information to have up your sleeve when in any negotiations further down the line. There are many websites and portals listing the properties for sale, most of which will be advertised by agents. Take your time and get a short list of those properties that come within your budget, meet your requirements, and are in the location you want.
Doing the Deal
More often than not, the seller will be represented by an agent. You do not pay the agent any commission as he will be remunerated by the seller. The agent will help you through the process, but do not forget that he has the seller’s (and his or her own) interests at heart, so remain vigilant and don’t let them rush you. In negotiations, take your time. Go back to them if need be with your answer as opposed to being pressured to give it there and then.
If and when you agree upon a price, you will be offered an OTP (Option to Purchase). Do not pay more than $1000 for the option fee, and you have 21 days from that date to decide whether to compete the transaction.