8 Answers

askguru expert
Hi there, thanks for writing to us on AskGuru.

1. You can either connect directly with the seller's agent via our listings who will assist you in the buying process or you can engage an agent who will represent you. The seller's agent may assist you but they are not obliged to.

2. You can check the recent transaction for HDB flats via HDB's link here to give you a rough gauge on the market price: https://services2.hdb.gov.sg/webapp/BB33RTIS/BB33PReslTrans.jsp?fbclid=IwAR3gGOuYjgjyhCm6kgkHcjSh2OdKxELcs-kmTssf91OyWwIfqEE_jzkpehg

The cash-over-valuation is the difference between the asking price and valuation of the flat. It has to be paid for in cash. By doing the above due diligence, you can get a fair indication of what HDB flats in the area are asking for.

3. Here is the general timeline when buying a resale HDB flat:
Assuming a purchase price of $500,000, the breakdown for the fees are as follows (assuming you are taking an HDB loan, Valuation Limit will apply):
1. Downpayment: 10% - $50,000 (CPF)
2. Stamp duty:
a) Buyer's Stamp Duty $9,600
3. Resale application administrative fees - 3-room and bigger ($80) (cash)
4. Processing fee for Request of Valuation - $120 (cash)
5. HDB Fire Insurance - From $1.62 to $8.10 (https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/living-in-an-hdb-flat/fire-insurance) (cash)
6. Legal fees (assuming you are taking an HDB loan):
a) For Acting in Purchase - $449.00
b) For Acting in Mortgage - $636.00
Total Fees Payable - $1,105.00 (CPF)
7. Agent fees: Subject to discussion with your agent. Assuming at 1% of purchase price: $5,000 (cash)
You may refer to HDB's link here for the full costs: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/financing/costs-and-fees

You will be subjected to Valuation Limit. Valuation Limit is the lower of the purchase price or valuation at the time of purchase. Assuming the valuation and purchase price is $450,000 (no COV), your Valuation Limit is $450,000.

You will also need to set aside a Basic Retirement Sum of $93,000.

Assuming you are taking an HDB loan with a downpayment of $50,000 with a loan of $450,000 over a period of 25 years with an interest rate of 2.6%, your mortgage works out to $2,041.51.

You can use our Mortgage Affordability Calculator here: https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/mortgage/affordability-calculator

4. It depends. If you need funds to finance your purchase, you will need too sell your current HDB 4-room flat before buying the next flat.

Hope this answers your question.

Best Regards,

Team PropertyGuru Read More


Gavin Ng

Unless you are familiar with the process otherwise an experience agent will guide you through. Buying property involve a significance amount and if you are comfortable to risk the hiccups that may happen, it will be your call.

The seller's agent has no obligation to assist as he represent the seller although he may help.

COV will depend on many factors affecting the market.

As to how much cash, it will depend on whether you are using HDB loan or bank loan and your personal preference between the 2 types of loan.

You may buy first, sell later. Again it depends on your situation.

It would seem premature to make any recommendation as there are other questions besides the question you ask.

You may text 9620 0827 for a casual chat. We can share with you the transaction process, timeline and payment structure.

Warmest regards

Gavin Read More


Ivan Ng

I understand all your questions and where you are coming from, have worked with various hdb owners in similar situation. It would be ideal to engage an agent to work out the financials and run through the detailed timeline to understand the best way to do the transition so you can smoothly transit. This would help us understand whether to sell first or both sale & purchase could be done concurrently.

To avoid paying COV, I can advise on the offer range based on recent transacted comparable prices so that you do not overpay for the potential unit you like. The seller agent, as he is representing the seller's interest, will be more focused on maximizing as much interest as possible for his or her sellers, and not you as the buyer.

May I have more info and requirements about your plans so to make better recommendations? Thanks and look forward to value-add to your housing plans.

Warm Regards,

Ivan Ng Realtor
ERA Senior Marketing Director
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-- HDB Yishun BTO 5-RM Sellers, Private Property Upgraders Mr. & Mrs. Koh --

I would like to express my appreciation to Ivan Ng for his excellent work. Ivan is a dedicated, client-focused, patient and sincere agent. Throughout the whole process of selling and looking for our next property, he has always acted very professionally that makes my wife and I feel at ease and assured. Ivan is not a pushy and hard sales agent. Ivan listens and understands our needs and carefully guided us through. We are fortunate to have Ivan as our agent. Thank you Ivan.

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We would like to thank you for ensuring a smooth and well-explained process throughout the whole selling and buying of our property. We got to know you thru Property Guru, where we are scouting for condo around West area. We remember that we are quite tight in our budget in purchasing the condo unit,but you are still very willingly explaining and calculating our financial liabilities. You are always having your smiles whenever we met for discussion.

We appreciated your process of selling and buying of our property are very systematically and well executed, from financial calculation to the purchase procedure of our new house. We are always being updated thru our group chat during the engagement of your service.

We would never expect such a smooth sailing experience of selling and buying of property. Your professionalism in work will definitely be remembered and rewarded. All the best in your property venture!

-- HDB Hougang 4-RM Sellers Mdm. Ng & Jean --

Ivan was the first and only agent that we met before engaging him as our exclusive agent. At the first meeting, Ivan meticulously went through the entire sale process. As we were not familiar with the procedures, he spent extra time to explain what was required from us and what we should expect.

After a week of preparation, Ivan came to take photographs, and once the advertisements were up, we had interested parties coming to view the apartment the very next day. Within a week, we had secured an offer from the buyer. Ivan was reliable and responsive, and he made the entire process smooth and hassle free Read More


Ling CK

1) Easier way to do is to engage an agent. Alternatively, you may browse through hdb.gov.sg to read all the buying processes on resale HDB.
There are instructions, Q&A, detailed process guiding you step-by-step. This is the legal portion. The seller's agent is there to serve the seller as the seller pays them a service charge (commission).
They are not allowed to accept buyer's engagement in a single transaction. This is against the CEA regulation, they might lose their license by accepting fees from both ends, as there is a conflict of interest.

2) Next is the soft skill in negotiation, look out for the hidden problem that a flat could have that might be costly. Weigh out the pros & cons, possible damage, remedy solution, etc before committing.

3) Although COV has become very common in today's market, but you may avoid it if you are careful in your offer. Read as many articles available to understand the market. Check through hdb.gov.sg to understand the surrounding transacted prices. Negotiate carefully with the seller to minimize the chance of incurring COV.

4) Good question on COV estimation. As markets vary day-to-day, it is not easy to pinpoint a single factor or even factors to confirm the correct COV. Even a professional valuer is not able to do that.
See my response on (3), this is the only way to estimate the fair value. The property agent is using both the market rate and experience in COV estimation for your understanding.

5) Amount of cash needed:
Most of the payable item can use CPF if there are sufficient. Without including 1% commission to engage an agent and COV, the following are the items that need to pay cash only:
(a) Option-To-Purchase offer: = Read More


Aaron Chong
Hi, I would be most glad to assist you further and pls feel free to let me know if you need any assistance. Hope to hear from you soon and have a great week ahead. By the way, if you need the funds from the sale of the current flat to pay for the next housing, then it is advisable to sell off the existing flat first before we commit to the next purchase.

Aaron Chong
9730 8455
aaronchong2774@yahoo.com.sg Read More


Robbie Chen Chee Howe

Based on your questions, I understand that you're looking to upgrade from a 4RM flat to an EA flat, and unsure whether to sell first or to buy first.

I strongly recommend you to engage an agent to act for both your sale and purchase, so as to carefully plan a Timeline and ensure a smooth transition to your new place without having to shift house more than once.

In terms of COV, it is dependent on the price (and valuation) the unit is transacted. I understand that you're unwilling to pay COV for your purchase, how about your sale? Do you expect to sell at a high price and that your Buyer to pay a COV?

I am experienced and well-versed in both HDB and private transactions. I will be able to assist you in your property plans.

Should you need require further assistance in matters relating to property, please contact me at my mobile 9748 6305. I will be happy to assess and share with you the possibilities for you in the current market.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Robbie Chen
9748 6305
PropNex Realty Read More


Lynn Tan 琳
Dear Sir/Madam,

If you are unfamiliar with the buying process, paper work, price to offer, negotiation, things to look out for, it will save you a lot of hassle and stress by engaging an agent. Since you are intending to sell your 4room, having an agent to assist in both selling and buying will help you more effectively in financial and timeline planning.

Valuation depends on recent market transacted prices and many other factors. An agent will have a more precise estimation of the COV due to the familiarity with the market.

I’m active in District 27, Sembawang, Canberra, Yishun area. I can provide you with more insights and help to ensure a smooth transaction for you. Feel free to contact/whatsapp me at (65) 8830 4008 or email me at lynntan.contact@gmail.com for no obligation discussion. I will be glad to assist. Thank you.

Warmest regards,
Lynn Tan (琳)
Your Trusted Real Estate Advisor/Agent
Asset Progression and Wealth Creation Consultant
ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd
Website: https://www.LynnTanRealty.com
Email: lynntan.contact@gmail.com
Mobile: (65) 8830 4008 Read More


Nick Tan
Dear Sir/Mdm,

Let me provide you with some clarifications.

1. It will be better to engage an agent as the agent will be able to help you negotiate the best price and more importantly manage the sale and purchase timeline for you.

2. It is possible not to pay any COV and an experienced agent will be able to assist you to estimate on whether there is any COV involved.

3. Before you proceed with the sale and purchase, it will be recommended to firm up the financial plan and you will be able to estimate how much cash is required.

4. If you wish to use the sales proceeds from your current HDB to purchase the EA, then you will need to sell first before purchasing.

I have assisted many of my clients who are in a similar situation to upgrade smoothly and seamlessly. Please feel free to contact me so that I can provide you with further assistance.

Nick Tan
(M) +65 9644 4854
B.Eng(Chemical)(Hons)(NUS) / Cert-in-REA
(E) nick96444854@gmail.com
SEAA Salespersons Achievement Platinum Award 2020
Visit my website to get to know me better:
I was featured recently on Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) Newsletter:

Testimonial from Satisfied Clients
“I would like to recommend Nick Tan from SRI. Before we engaged Nick, we were working with another agent from a very popular property agency in February 2017. We decided to terminate the contract after 5 weeks of zero viewings and no paper advertisements. Basically he was just waiting for phone calls. We engaged Nick on 20th April and by 10th of May, our unit was sold off. Why Nick? 1. He has good marketing strategies 2. He always kept us posted on what he did (communications!) 3. He made sure we understand the current market situation but he will consistently reassure us that the unit can be sold off 4. He is not greedy and trusting 5. He walks the talk”
Peter & Wendy (Property Seller)

I write to commend Nick Tan (R040814C). When my husband and I first met Nick, we were impressed by his drive, commitment, business acumen and strategical thinking, and decided to engage him. We were not disappointed. Nick sourced for prospective quality buyers in a targeted methodical fashion and was effective in connecting us with serious buyers, notwithstanding the fact that the search primarily took place over Dec – Feb (a traditional lull period). Throughout the transaction, he also gave us helpful advice in various aspects; the advice reflected his personal experience and expertise and was not simply regurgitated from public sources without any value-add. Further, Nick went beyond the call of duty of a competent professional. He had a sense of humanity in the way he interacted with myself and the other parties to the transaction such as my parents. As an example, my newborn daughter was warded into A&E on the completion date of the transaction; the care and concern that Nick showed went beyond the scope of work of an estate agent. I commend Nick for his capabilities and character, and would certainly wish to engage him for future property transactions.
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Mr & Mrs Wong (Property Seller)

“Nick has conducted himself ethically and professionally when handling the sales of our property. Thanks to his patience and perseverance, we managed to secure a sales price beyond our expectations. We are very happy and satisfied with his services and will definitely recommend him to our friends and family in the future.”
Mr & Mrs Tan (Seller of Inter-Terrace House)

“Nick provides a delightful customer experience from day one when I engage him as my agent to look for a flat of my choice to the completion of the deal. He is competent, resourceful and ha Read More