Transactions involving the buying of a house with land is more complicated than the purchase of a condo, executive-type apartment, or HDB flat. Landed housing may have several owners or are owned by whole families, and there are restrictions regarding the sale and purchase, especially regarding foreign ownership.
With the exception of Sentosa Cove, foreign individuals are not permitted to buy land in Singapore without permission from the government.
Foreign individuals from countries that have a free-trade agreement with Singapore are exempt:
United States, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein
Processes and costs
An agreement between a seller and buyer as to the price of the house with land commences a series of actions that will culminate in the passing of the title of the house with land from the seller to the buyer. These processes consist of the following:
Appointment of an estate agent
The first step that a purchaser needs to take is to appoint a very competent real estate agent. He will act as a mediator between purchaser and seller during the whole period of the transaction. A competent agent can also act as a consultant for offering legal and financial advice.
Appointment of a solicitor
To deal with the drawing up of legal documentations and other legal requirements related to the transaction.
Option to Purchase
This is an agreement entered into by the buyer and the seller, which gives the buyer priority over others in purchasing the house with land property.
The buyer is given 14 days to make a decision regarding the purchase.
A 1% of the agreed sale price is paid as a deposit on the intended purchase.
The option can be lost along with the deposit if the purchaser chooses not to proceed with the purchase.
Sale and Purchase Agreement
This is an agreement drawn up after the buyer has decided to accept the seller’s OTP, after paying an additional 9% of the agreed sale price, above and after the lawyer has conducted a thorough search on the seller’s Certificate of Title and bankruptcy status.
Inspection of the Certificate of Title
This is the only legal document that proves real-estate ownership and needs to be inspected by the purchaser’s lawyer.
The seller hands the document to the buyer’s lawyer for inspection and is kept by him or her for surrendering to the Singapore Land Authority when a new Certificate of Title is issued to the purchaser.
Completion of legal requirements
Once a CPF withdrawal or a mortgage is approved, the buyer’s solicitor will commence to prepare the following documents:
Completion statements: these statements are submitted to the bank providing the mortgage for needed funds, to the seller for finalizing the amount of down payment required, and to the purchaser stating the balance of the sale price (which the purchaser must pay, excluding the deposit already paid).
Transfer document: the purchaser pays the outstanding balance of the purchase price on the legal completion date. The seller’s lawyer hands over the house keys to the buyer and the Transfer Document to the buyer’s lawyer. The document records the transfer from the seller to the purchaser.
Certificate of Title: this is a certificate that testifies to the ownership of the house with land by the purchaser, which is handed over to the mortgagee bank as security against the loan taken out by the purchaser.
In addition to the 10% down payment made to the seller, the purchaser has to pay for the solicitor’s fees, mortgage and stamp fees.