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Buying a Condo In Singapore

8 Tips For Buying A Condo In Singapore For First-Timers To Check Off 1 Of The 5 Cs In Peace

Tips for buying a condo in Singapore

Most of us set our sights on buying a condo in Singapore at some point in our lives. After all, with many boasting state-of-the-art amenities, it’s no wonder these more “atas” homes claim a place amongst the big 5 C’s many Singaporeans chase after.

Ticking that 1 “C” off ASAP may sound like an enticing idea, but hold your horses. Just like any big-ticket purchase, there are several considerations you’ll need to take note of before you rush to pay. To help you snag your dream condo in peace, we’ve listed 8 tips to consider before going all-in:

1. Make sure you can pay the 25% down payment

Buying Condo in Singapore - loanImage credit: Uptown@Farrer 

With every expensive purchase comes the option of a down payment. For condos, that’s – gasp – 25% of the total price. Fortunately, you can offset up to 20% of it using your CPF Ordinary Account (OA), which means you only need to fork out the remaining 5% from your cash reserves. 

Of course, these percentages aren’t set in stone. As long as you keep that minimum 5% cash rule in mind, feel free to fork out more from your savings. This, in turn, means you can cut down on the expense you’re pulling from your OA.

Once you’ve covered that down payment amount, you can focus on getting a housing loan to finance the rest of your condo. But before that, do consider getting an Approval-In-Principle from a bank first. It’s an agreement that tells you how much the bank is willing to lend you, which some sellers or property agents might ask to see before agreeing to sell the condo to you. 

2. Check if its a freehold or leasehold unit

Buying Condo in Singapore - LeaseholdsLeasehold tenures are either 99 years or 999 years

House-hunters have probably done some research into the condo-buying journey, so terms like freehold and leasehold are definitely familiar. But to the uninitiated, they are essentially tenures that determine how long you can own your property – leaseholds are split into 99 years and 999 years, while you can own freehold properties for, well, forever.

You might immediately think “Aha! Freeholds are the way to go.” But if you dig deeper, you’ll realise that each tenure has their own set of pros and cons. You may have freehold properties for life, but they’re often found in ulu locations – think Changi or Woodlands. Plus, they’re about 10-15% more expensive than their leasehold counterparts.

Leaseholds are the way to go if you’re seeking a cheaper property, but do note that the value will drop as time passes. The older it is, the less it’s worth – so think carefully if you’re considering getting this as a form of long-term investment.

3. Check nearby MRT and transport lines

Buying Condo in Singapore - Farrer ParkCheck resources like the URA master plan for hints that point towards higher values for your unit
Image credit: @cookiss99

Staying near an MRT or transport line always has its merits. Aside from commuting convenience, you can easily find amenities like malls or community centres nearby, which aren’t as easily accessible if you pick a more ulu condo. 

But there’s another reason why nearby MRT or transport lines should be a top consideration. If your condo happens to be a stone’s throw away from any new or upcoming stations, you can bet that the value of your property will soar over the next few years – something to consider if you think you might sell or rent out that condo in the future.

City Square MallUptown@Farrer is just right across the street from City Square Mall
Image credit: Uptown@Farrer 

Generally, condos in the Central area tend to hold the highest value due to the numerous MRT stations and amenities around the area. Uptown@Farrer, for example, is just a 2-minute walk away from Farrer Park MRT station – a great central location that’s just a few stops away from town.

4. Scope out the amenities to see if you’d really use them

Buying Condo in Singapore - swimming poolUptown@Farrer has a lap pool, aqua deck and a kids’ water play area.
Image credit: Uptown@Farrer

It’d be nice to live right next to a tennis court or an infinity pool, but they also beg the question: will you really be using them, or will you simply admire them from afar?

Here’s a suggestion: walk around the area to survey the full range of amenities available. As dazzling as facilities may be, keep in mind that the fancier the condo, the higher the maintenance fees. In fact, it can go all the way up to $1,000 a month! If you really do splurge on that high-end unit, you may also end up paying for things you don’t even use. 

If amenities are at the top of your priority list, make sure that they are spacious enough that you won’t need to compete with other residents, and that they cater to your wants, and your kids’ needs, if any.

5. Set aside extra budget for taxes and stamp duty

Taxes and duty fees

So you’ve saved up enough cash to get your condo. You happily move in and revel in the novelty of owning your luxurious new crib….only to be saddled with additional costs you never saw coming.

Forking out for a condo doesn’t just stop at the cost of the unit itself. On top of that, you’ll also need to make sure your pockets are deep enough to pay for things like monthly maintenance fees and property tax, the latter of which can go up to $2,100 a year.

Additionally, if you purchase your condo before selling your current property, note that you’ll be required to pay the Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) as the condo will be seen as your second property. That’s going to amount to a whopping 12% of your condo price, so be sure to plan your finances properly before actually making a purchase.

6. See if the size of the condo is suitable for future plans

Starting a familyConsider a bigger condo if you plan to start a family
Image credit: Uptown@Farrer

Condos these days are generally smaller than their older counterparts, so do ensure that the one you’ve got your eye on is suitable for you. Single pringles will do fine in smaller units like lofts and studio condos, but if you’re planning on starting a family, it’s best to search for a bigger space.

StoveSome condos come with kitchen fittings which can spare you additional renovation costs
Image credit: Uptown@Farrer

Additionally, take a look at all the condo fittings. Most units are usually fitted with in-built appliances like fridges, kitchen hoods, and stoves – so to save yourself from spending extra, consider getting a condo that already comes with appliances you see yourself using.

7. Check if the showflat dimensions are similar to yours

Showflat dimensions

It’s easy to fall in love with a showflat, but don’t be too quick to sign the contracts. Developers tend to put in a lot of effort to make that particular unit look nice – think large mirrors, plush furniture and pretty decor.

To lower your chances of disappointment, it pays to take the things you see with a pinch of salt. Showflats on the ground floor tend to have higher ceilings and larger balconies, so ask beforehand if the dimensions match the ones for your dream condo. 

If possible, get your hands on the floor plan as this gives you a better overview of your home without the niceties to distract you.

8. Consider the pros and cons of each unit position

Aerial viewUnits on higher levels tend to be more expensive, so consider your priorities before purchasing.

Decisions are usually made on a list full of pros and cons, and that extends to the type of condo unit you’re purchasing. For instance, living on the top floor is a total dream, but getting those unobstructed views of the sea and surrounding areas will usually also come with a heftier price.

On the topic of price, also note that units near refuse stations are much cheaper than others. That’s great if you can bear with the potential smell, but those cheaper prices may not be enough to convince folks with more sensitive noses.

If you think you’d be regularly using amenities like tennis courts, gyms, or swimming pools, consider picking a unit nearer to them. Remember, some condo estates have huge grounds, so walk around the area to make sure you won’t have to take 5-minute walks back to your home when you forget your goggles at the pool. 

Pro tips for buying a condo in Singapore

There are plenty of factors to consider when buying a condo in Singapore. Ultimately, choosing the most ideal one boils down to your personal preferences – take some time to consider what your priorities are before making the leap to land your dream home. 

Uptown@Farrer – new condo at Farrer Park next to the MRT

Uptown@FarrerImage credit: Uptown@Farrer

If you’re in the midst of condo-hunting, perhaps the upcoming Uptown@Farrer by Low Keng Huat Singapore will tick all the boxes on your list. It’s situated just a few minutes away from Farrer Park MRT, which means that amenities such as City Square Mall and Mustafa Centre are just a quick stroll away.

Condo unitImage credit: Uptown@Farrer

Condo types range from compact 2-bedroom units to huge 5-bedroom duplexes, so anyone from couples to 3-gen families can find a home here. Bonus: they’ve even got lofts available – perfect for those who yearn for that extra ceiling height. The developers are also providing the loft decking for the end user!

Swimming pool Uptown@FarrerImage credit: Uptown@Farrer

With top-class amenities all over the grounds, spending your down time here is almost certainly in the books. Gardens, BBQ pits, a swimming pool, jacuzzi and spa… the list goes on, which means you’ll definitely be able to find something to do whether for some much-needed “me” time or with family and friends.

Uptown@Farrer is slated to be completed by 16th January 2022 for now, but it could very well be finished much earlier should no delays occur. If you want to take a closer look, book an appointment to see their showflats.

Video credit: Uptown@Farrer

In the meantime, you can check out their cheeky advertisement above, or browse through their website for more information on their upcoming units as well. 

Find out more about Uptown@Farrer here


Address: 2 Perumal Rd, Singapore 218778
Opening hours (show room): 10AM-6PM, Daily
Telephone: 9001 5060

This post was brought to you by a development by Low Keng Huat S Ltd.