Property Jargon

Buying Property Guide

GST: Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced in Singapore in the year 1994. It was initially at 3% but was increased to 4% in the year 2003. Today the GST is 7%. This is a consumption tax levied on the import of goods and services with exemptions like sale and lease of properties.

URA: Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is the national land use planning authority of Singapore. It deals with the preparation of long term strategic plans, local area plans and subsequent coordination to bring these plans to reality.

HDB: Housing & Development Board (HDB) is a statutory board and the public housing authority of Singapore. It is under the Ministry of National Development with the main activity being planning and developing public housing towns that provide quality homes and living environments to Singaporeans.

SLA: Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is a statutory under the Ministry of Law in Singapore. The main objective of this body is land resource optimisation. It is also responsible for the management of state land and buildings, land sales and acquisitions.

Condo: Condo is the short form of condominium. It is a form of housing where a part of a real estate is owned individually. The owner of a condo can have access to the common facilities such as hallways, elevators and the exteriors.

LOI: Letter of Intent (LOI) is the written offer which is made to a landlord by a tenant. This actually deals with the terms of tenancy such as rent, duration, commencement date and other factors.

Funds Payable: It deals with various factors related to the rent of a property and includes a one month advance rent, two/three month's security deposit and stamp duties.

Diplomatic Clause: This implies that a tenant has to give an early notice to terminate his/her tenancy but only after the completion of the first twelve months of the term. The tenant also has to serve a written notice period of two/three months or can opt for payment of rent in lieu thereof.

Tenancy Agreement: It is an agreement which bears the names of the landlord and the tenant and the various facets related to the deal such as the area rented, the down payment, the annual rent that has to be paid, the period of the agreement and other conditions pertaining to it. In Singapore, this agreement is prepared on the basis of security deposit and the advance rental. For example, a tenant proposing to stay for a year needs to pay a security deposit and an advance rental of one month and so on.

Proof of Immigration Status: Before the commencement of the agreement, a tenant has to provide certain proofs to the landlord that certifies him as a legal citizen of Singapore. In Singapore, this proof is a must and the basic documents to be submitted are:
1. Birth certificate
2. Passport
3. Green card
4. Naturalization certificate
5. Employment letters
6. Certificate by registered companies.

Partly Furnished/ Fully Furnished: Singapore has apartments which are either partly or fully furnished. In case of the partly furnished houses, it is decked with some white goods, lightings and other items which are inexpensive. But in case of fully furnished houses, the house is supported with all sorts of necessities, be it appliances, electronics, or the hard core items such as beds, dining suites, table, fan, etc. So in a way it can be said that the former is merely a house but the latter is a home in the true sense of the term.

Good Faith Deposit: It is a type of deposit asked by different firms based on certain transactions. Also known as the booking deposit, it is usually a month's rent and is considered to be a part of the security deposit made by the tenant to the landlord after which the latter cannot rent the same to any other citizen.

Security Deposit: Security as the term implies, safeguards one's property. In Singapore, this deposit is a compulsion and is made during the signing up of the agreement. This amount is refunded by the landlord to the tenant at the end of a certain period without any interest. But in case of any damage made to his/ her property, the landlord has the full authority to lower the amount considered to be necessary as a compensation for the damages.

2+1: The 2+1 system in Singapore generally stands for 2 bedrooms with a servant's room or a study room. This type of a system falls in the budget of most families. But finding one at a good location is a little expensive and comes to nearly $2,000 per month for rentals.

4+1: This system comprises 4 bedrooms and 1 study or the servant's room. This type of property is generally surrounded by pleasant views and the cost range nearly comes to $5,500 per month for rentals.

Bungalow: Bungalows in Singapore are huge pieces of property comprising storeys which are mostly 2 to 3 in number. Here bungalows have undergone a great transformation since ages complying with the needs and taste of the people. Everything that has an existence on this earth has a history behind it and that's also true with the bungalows in Singapore. Bungalows came into existence somewhat before the beginning of the Second World War, situated away from the chaos of the city in the wooded surroundings,

Maisonette: Generally known as small houses, maisonettes are 2 storied buildings consisting of bedrooms, wardrobes and kitchens along with a bathroom upstairs. These are like flats on the two floors. The rooms provide view of the greeneries that surround these types of properties.

Level 1: In the real estate world, Level 1 is referred to the ground floor in a building.

Strata: Also known as titled property, the word strata implies a sort of sharing of some common areas in a multi-level apartment block by some apartments, be it a garden, a garage, or a storeroom, etc.

Semi: These are two houses that are joined together by a common wall. A semi-detached house is the best option for the people who seek to have company around them. Owning this sort of property helps in developing a friendly relation with the people next door. It is generally constructed in a manner as to give a common front/ entry to both the houses.

Shop House: Also popularly known as the Chinese doll's house, it is considered to be a typical architectural form of Singapore that has an historical element about it. As the name suggests, it basically consists of shops in the ground floor with the residential apartments above. It stretches almost up to three storeys and is designed/ constructed in a manner as to give an impression of some old ancient regions in the city.

Black and White: Not to confuse oneself with the shades of the colours black and white, Singapore's black and white stands for the houses that dates back to hundreds of years in history. They are the typical bungalow kind of houses which gives one an insight into the cultural heritage of the city. The area known as Alexandra Park is full of these types of properties which takes one deep into Singapore's colonial past.

District 9, 10 and 11: Though these numbers are no longer in use, they are the leading residential areas for the expatriates. These regions are located at a walking distance to Orchard Road and Holland Road with property names like Pandan Valley, The Duet, and Robertson Blue, Tanglin Park, etc. These cover an area of around 1,700sq.ft-3,000sq.ft and the cost varies from $3k-$15k. The Cosmopolitan is the latest developed landmark in the district 9 facing the Marina Bay.

Heartlands: It is not in the reach of every individual to afford a bungalow in Singapore and so these Heartlands are the areas where the majority of the Singaporeans, especially the middle and the labour classes have their residence. Situated mostly in the HDB estates, these areas are filled with great facilities. An example of a heartland is Hougang.

Land: t is a property, either residential or commercial, where the owning party or parties have an interest of benefit (equitable interest) or a legal interest.

Fogging: The term fogging stands for mosquito prevention. In order to sustain places for a longer time, the areas are fogged mostly with pesticides and other insecticides that help in a better maintenance of the area.

Pest control: This term signifies the service and aid that is provided to the homeowners or those taking houses on rent. These services protect the houses from cockroaches and other filth promoting insects. There are the latest techniques used to eradicate the insects, and thus, keeping the families healthy.

Neg (negotiable): To go by the amount mentioned by the landlord is a bit difficult by the tenants, and therefore, the tenants generally negotiate on the property transactions best suited as per their budget. The landlords negotiate with different parties and the one that makes the best offer gets the property.

LTV: Loan To Value expresses the amount of the mortgage as a percentage of the total appraised value of real property. LTV is one of the risk factors that lenders assess when qualifying borrowers for a mortgage.

SIBOR: Singapore Interbank Offered Rate is a daily reference rate based on the interest rates at which banks offer to lend unsecured funds to other banks in the Singapore wholesale money market (or interbank market). It is similar to the widely used LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), and Euribor (Euro Interbank Offered Rate). Using SIBOR is more common in the Asian region and set by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS).

TOP: Temporary Occupation Permit is an approval that marks the date when owners or tenants are permitted to stay in a property

DPS: Deferred Payment Scheme is a form of progress payment that allows the property buyer to defer the bulk of the purchase payment to a later date. As it did not require the buyer to take a loan until the home was fully built, buyers could buy and resell many un-built homes without taking a single loan. This encouraged speculation which eventually led to the government removing it. The idea was however revived with a slight twist. Now home buyers have to take up a bank loan at the point of purchase, with a specific bank that has tied up with the developer to offer the scheme.
PSF: Price per Square Foot is the price of the property divided by the land area.

Leasehold: A tenure held by a lessee under a lease

Freehold: A form of tenure by which an estate is held for life.

Stamp Duty: Fees chargeable by the government upon a successful property transaction. The stamp duty in Singapore is currently set at 3% of the purchase price.

CSC: Certificate of Statutory Completion is issued by the building authority that the building has been competed in accordance with all regulations. It denotes legal completion and is given after the Temporary Occupation Permit.

En-bloc sale: Collective sales of a number of owners of separate units in a private residential or commercial building. Units sold in a en-bloc sale usually fetch a higher price as compared to that market value.

Option to Purchase: A right or option given by the vendor of a property to an intending purchaser to buy the property at a specified price within a specified period of time (the validity period of the option). The intending purchaser must pay a booking fee for this right or option. The intending purchaser has to exercise the Option to Purchase within its validity period if he decides to buy the property.

Foreclosure: A legal proceeding that in which a lender obtains a court ordered termination of a borrower's right of redemption of the pledged property. Such is possible when the borrower defaults on payment resulting in the lender opting to repossess the property.

Default: Occurs when a debtor has not met its legal obligations according to the debt contract. Default may occur if the debtor is either unwilling or unable to pay their debt.

Fixtures: Personal property that has become attached to the property so as to become a part of the property itself. For instance, an escalator may be referred to as a fixture while a table lamp is not a fixture.

CMA: Comparative Market Analysis is a report on the value of a home compared to others offered on the current property sales market.

Restricted / Non-restricted property: Property where the purchase need / need not obtain approval from the relevant authority

Property Tenure: States the time of which the owner of the property has the legal right of use. In Singapore, HDB flats usually have tenures of 99 years. Condominiums on the other hand have property tenures of 99 years or are freehold, meaning there is no deadline to the tenure. All property tenures start from the construction year.

Strata Title: A title to a unit or lot on a plan of subdivision associated with townhouses, units and blocks of flats, based on the horizontal and vertical subdivision of air space. The owner of a strata title home unit therefore has title to the cube of air bounded by the inner skin of the boundary walls of the unit vertically and by the ceiling height above and the floor level below horizontally. With a Strata Title, the land is usually owned by all strata title holders.

Bankruptcy Search: A search made by the conveyancers to check whether a buyer or a borrower has been, is, or is about to be declared bankrupt.

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