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Buy House in Singapore: 9 Tips to Help Millennial Women Purchase Their First Property

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Buy House in Singapore: 9 Tips to Help Millennial Women Purchase Their First Property
To buy a house in Singapore is a big commitment. It doesn’t matter if you are doing it purely for property investment purposes, or buying your first home. The rising home prices have become a topic of concern for millennial voters in Asia. In Singapore, increased waiting times for BTO flats due to construction delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed HDB resale prices up for the 20th straight month in February 2022.
There’s a lot to consider before you take the plunge, be it budgeting and planning your finances, browsing online property listings, deciding what type of property you want to buy, going for viewings, designing and renovating your space, and considering whether you plan to sell the property later, and so on.
For many young women in Singapore, buying a house usually occurs when they apply for a BTO flat with their partner, or they buy a property as a single. Regardless if you submitted a BTO application or not, it’s important to be prepared to buy a home in Singapore.
Being equipped with the necessary information makes the homebuying journey a much better experience. Aside from having more time to save up for your renovation and other expenses, knowing the difference between wanting a bank loan or an HDB loan, exploring the possibility of buying a private property and so on is extremely helpful.
So that you don’t risk making an uninformed decision, or even worse, face external pressures dictating what you should do with your life and money at this stage (read: get married just so you can buy a house, and end up breaking up and having to cancel your BTO flat), here are some tips to help millennial women buy their first property.

Buy House in Singapore Step 1: Get Your Finances In Order

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To start you off, you’ll want to know how much you can afford. You can use online Affordability Calculator tools to calculate how much mortgage you can actually afford. These calculators will take into account your available CPF money and current earning capabilities.
Ideally, you’ll want to spend less than what your maximum budget is so that you won’t feel so stretched every month. Here is a rough breakdown of how much you should expect to pay every month:
Of course, divide the cost by two if you’ll be buying the property with your significant other. Do note that you’ll also need to pay the downpayment upfront.
The downpayment is 15% for HDB-granted loans and 25% for bank loans. Typically, you will need to pay in a mixture of cold, hard cash and CPF funds. For bank loans, you have to pay at least 5% of your downpayment in cash. For HDB-granted loans, you can use your CPF to pay the whole downpayment if you wish.
Don’t forget to include additional costs such as legal fees, Cash Over Valuation (COV) fees (if any), buyer’s stamp duty fees, property agent commission fees and so on.

Buy House in Singapore Step 2: Check Your CPF Account

If you’re planning to use CPF for your downpayment and monthly mortgage instalments, do log in to your CPF account to check how healthy it is.
Chances are, if you’ve been working for five to 10 years and have a stable income, your CPF savings should be sufficient. You might even have extra funds that’ll help you reduce the monthly payments even further.
While the monies in your CPF OA can be used for buying a house in Singapore, it may not be the best move to pump all of your available CPF savings into your flat and pay zero cash for your monthly mortgage.

Buy House in Singapore Step 3: Know What Type of Property You’re Eligible to Buy

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Before you can buy property in Singapore, you need to fulfil certain criteria.
For starters, if you want to buy an HDB flat, you need to be either a Singapore Citizen or a Permanent Resident (PR). Singles can only buy an HDB property (resale/BTO) if they are 35 and older; if the single person is widowed or orphaned, they can buy the HDB property if they are 21 years old and above.
If you don’t fulfil these conditions but still want to buy an HDB flat, you’ll need to either 1) be married, 2) be planning to marry, 3) be part of a family nucleus. You’ll still need to be 21 years old and above.
Those who want to buy private property don’t face as many restrictions, but they’ll still need to be at least 21 years of age.
How are your finances and what is your potential earning power in the future? As mentioned above, always spend within your means. Not many of us can afford a GCB in this lifetime, but many of us should be able to buy a BTO flat or an HDB resale flat in our twenties or thirties!

Buy House in Singapore Step 4: Know the Purpose of Your Property Purchase

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Are you buying a home or investment? If you’re buying a home, are you buying it as a single bachelorette or with your partner? Are you planning to stay single, get married and/or have children? Do you plan to sell the property after the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) or rent it out?
No pressure, it’s just important to have an idea of what your future might look like. Different goals require different property purchasing decisions.
Consider factors such as your lifestyle, commute, family life, and social life. If you like peace and quiet, you might want to live somewhere close to nature parks so you can be near nature in less populated areas. If you work in the CBD and want a short commute to work, then perhaps a city-fringe property might suit you.
Regardless of where you choose to live, it’s good to know the price range for properties in the different areas of Singapore, and how much they can increase depending on development plans for the region. This applies regardless of whether your property is being purchased to be sold later or lived in right now.

Buy House in Singapore Step 5: For Investment Property, Buy Private Property After Purchasing Public Property

If you’re hoping to own more than one property, know you have to be mindful of what you buy first. You can buy a private property if you have an HDB flat, but you cannot buy public housing once you already own private property; you’ll need to sell your private property first.
So don’t jump straight into buying a recently TOP-ed condo just because you can afford it! If you’re buying multiple properties, do remember to factor in Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) fees when budgeting.

Buy House in Singapore Step 6: Keep Your Credit Score/Credit Rating In Tip-top Shape

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Your credit score affects the loan amount you’re able to get. If you maintain a good credit rating, it’ll be easier for your loan to be approved when you want to purchase your property. You might also be able to get a larger loan.
Some tips to keep your credit score in great shape include paying your credit card bills on time and not defaulting on any loans, etc.
Reach out to the Credit Bureau of Singapore to get a copy of your credit report (admin fee of ~$6).

Buy House in Singapore Step 7: Know Your Property and Mortgage Jargon

It pays to know acronyms and jargon before you make your first property purchase. Some key terms include Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) and Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR).
Even though a good property agent or HDB officer will definitely help you through the process, knowing your stuff will put you in good stead.
Staying on top of property reports and global events will keep you in the know. It is important that you understand property terms, it’ll prevent you from being ripped off by unscrupulous property agents or sellers.
Ask all the questions you might have, clarify anything that seems vague or potentially misleading, and view the property as many times as you need. After all, we don’t know what we don’t know, so make sure we know as much as we can!
If you need help understanding mortgage terminology or on which home loan to pick, you can always speak to our friendly Mortgage Experts. They can provide you with tailored advice, all for free!

Buy House in Singapore Step 8: Start Reading Up on Property News

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Start off by immersing yourself in property news, take note of upcoming new launch condominiums, last transacted prices, infrastructure developments and so on, even if you don’t plan on purchasing said property for a few years to come. As mentioned above, knowledge truly is power.
You can also check out our questions on investing in Singapore, with answers and advice from the helpful PropertyGuru community. We also have a wealth of knowledge available on our Property Resources page and we also produce detailed and insightful reports such as the PropertyGuru Singapore Property Market Report Q1 2022.

Buy House in Singapore Step 9: Stay Confident, Know What You Want and Stand Firm!

Finally, you need to stick to your guns. You go, girl! You’ve already done all the necessary calculations and research.
If there’s anything that makes you uneasy about a deal, or any feature in the showflat that turns you off, don’t settle. Don’t feel like you’re an inconvenience either just because you need time to make a decision or are afraid of taking up other people’s time.
Buying property is not like nipping to the store and casually grabbing a jar of peanut butter; as a big-ticket item, your involvement in the decision process is crucial. With that, we wish you good luck!
For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.
Need help financing your latest property purchase? Let the mortgage experts at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals.

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More FAQs About Buying a House in Singapore

If you're a non-Singapore PR, you can only buy private condominiums, private ECs, landed property in Sentosa Cove, and landed properties (with special permission from Singapore Land Authority).

Prices depend on the size, housing type, age of the home, etc. of a place. You can browse listings on the PropertyGuru website.

This depends on your budget. For instance, if you're buying a 4-room HDB flat that costs between $400,000 to $500,000 and you take a bank loan, expect to pay between $1,300 to $1,500 in monthly instalments.