SINGAPORE CONVEYANCING LAWYER GUIDE FOR THE HOME BUYER
Preliminary Considerations for the Prospective Purchaser
The purchase of a property should be carefully considered prior to the placement of any payment or booking fee. This will not only put the Prospective Purchaser at ease, but will be essential in avoiding some of the common pitfalls in conveyancing.
Costs and Eligibilty
Having a prior understanding of the various costs and financing involved eg. the stamp duty(ies) payable, the Housing Loan financing available and CPF usage as well as and the estimated cash difference payable towards the Purchase Price, are crucial in ensuring that the Prospective Purchaser undertakes a purchase which is within his financial abilities.
At the outset, it is also imperative for the Prospective Purchaser to ascertain as to his eligibility to acquire the property. For instance:
a. Singapore Permanent Residents (who will not be buying jointly with any Singapore Citizen) would need to wait 3 years from the date of obtaining the SPR status before they can purchase a HDB Resale Flat; or
b. The Prospective Purchaser who owns an existing HDB flat has to fulfill the minimum occupation period required under the rules and regulations of HDB before purchasing a second property; or
c. A foreigner interested in purchasing a Landed Property has to obtain the final approval of the Land Dealings Approval Unit of the Singapore Land Authority in order to acquire the same.
Fixture and Fittings
Amongst other considerations, the Prospective Purchaser should be clear as to what if any, fixture and fittings will be left behind by the Vendor. The fixtures of a property are items which are secured or bolted to the walls and ceilings, the removal of which would seriously damage the property. Eg. Built-in Cabinets, bathroom suites and customised built-in ceiling lightings.
Unless contractually provided, the property must be delivered with its fixtures. Fittings however are movable furniture the retention of which should be itemised in a formal Inventory List incorporated as part of the terms of the Option to Purchase, so as to minimise any disappointment and additional costs to the Prospective Purchaser, post-completion.
Such fittings can include any movable furniture such as specific lamp or free-standing kitchen appliances and curtains or such other inventory which can be shifted easily or removed without damaging the property.
Even where the property is to be sold subject to a tenancy, an Inventory List should nonetheless be prepared as part of the terms of the Option to Purchase if one or more of the furniture under the Tenancy Agreement are to be retained by the Prospective Purchaser, at the expiry or termination of the Tenancy Agreement.
Physical state and condition of the property
Unless provided to the contrary, the Prospective Purchaser upon the exercise of the Option, is deemed to know and accept the state and condition of the property and will not be entitled to demand any form of repairs or rectification works by the Vendor.
The Prospective Purchaser should therefore inspect the property more than once before any payment is made towards the purchase, in order for a more thorough examination to be carried out on the state and structure of the property as well as its surroundings.
At the same time, the Prospective Purchaser should enquire directly from the Vendor as to what structural defects and/or the structural improvements (if any) which have been carried out on the premises.
Where structural improvements or changes have been made, be sure to request for the regulatory permits that ought to have been obtained and conduct independent legal requisitions with the relevant authorities such as the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Urban Renewal Authority (URA).
Before any Offer to Purchase is issued and any booking fee/deposit is paid towards the property, it will be most prudent (especially for a purchase of a landed property), to engage a Structural Engineer to inspect the structure of the property as well as to review the legal requisition replies in this regard, which should ideally include enquiries vis-a-vis any material adverse interference or encroachments on the property such as a road reserves or drainage reserves or MRT line proposals, should similarly be conducted.
Knowledge is Power. Having a better understanding of the above factors and more, will go a long way towards the avoidance of costly mistakes and in safeguarding one’s rights and interest in the conveyancing transaction.
ABOUT PKWA LAW – Leading Property Law Firm
PKWA Law is a leading Property Law Firm in Singapore. Our conveyancing, real estate and property lawyers have decades of experience in advising clients on the purchase of properties. Contact us today at 6397-6100.