Should you sell your property now or wait until after COVID-19 end?

Halfway into 2020 in June, we are still in the midst of a massive global COVID-19 pandemic. One of our clients asked us this question – “Should I sell my property now or wait until after COVID-19 end?”. It’s a great question that we would like to address in an article. The more accurate question is “Will I get a lousy price if I sell now during these uncertain times or wait to sell after COVID-19?” ‘

This is not only applicable during this pandemic but also to adverse news that occur periodically around the world. Simply put, the word “COVID-19” can be easily replaced with sharp fall in the Dow Jones Index, a new policy from the government and the list goes on and on.


What’s your motivation to selling your property before the COVID-19 end?

However, the reason for selling could be that family circumstances have changed. You could face a need to upsize the unit. Family members often rubbing elbows with one another can cause a lot of friction within the family. At this juncture, as the seller, you have to decide if it is an urgent matter and how long you can afford to wait.

Another reason for selling can be due to the investment acumen. You may see that the asset is reaching its maturity, and the growth of the unit is stagnating or decreasing. In that case, it is worthwhile to sell now. 


What are you buying next?

The next question is, what will you be buying next? In a balance market or a buyer’s market, the next house that you wish to buy might be realistically priced. If you are upgrading where the next house will cost more than the selling price of your current house, savings can be very significant if you choose to buy now.

If you wait for the market to recover, the prices could be much higher then. The same holds true for investor selling off the current investment unit to purchase another investment unit.


Will you get a lousy price if you sell now during these uncertain times or wait to sell after COVID-19?

If you have decided to move forward to sell, then this is perhaps the best time to sell. The buyers that are in the market currently are the serious ones and also because of these uncertain times, many of your competitors may pause selling because of fear. They will not be listing their units up in the market.


Bonus

Another bonus, there are more instances of working from home and if digital and social marketing is used in the marketing of the unit, there will be an increase in viewership. We will be able to target and induce buyers to be interested in buying the unit. So if the right pricing and marketing strategies is utilised, I believe that a fair price will obtain in any sort of uncertain times and news.

It is not about just producing an amazing video, but the ability to promote this particular video featuring your unit, to the correct audience that will get the house sold! Of course, there are other factors that will affect how fast a unit get sold. This includes price, lease tenure, and layout. We would work out these details on a case by case basis.


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If you have questions or if you are thinking about properly showcasing your house for sale, contact Home Quarters by going over to homequarters.com.sg or send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram!

If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here before COVID-19 end.

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

Your house determines what pets you can have in Singapore!

Cat lovers, do you know that if you owning a cat in a HDB flat, you can be fined up to $4,000? Certainly, pets could provide some great furry companionship in our lives. However, there are rules to owning pets in Singapore with regards to where you stay. In this article, we will be looking into rules and regulation of owning pets in HDB flats and also private homes. There are exceptions to the rules and regulations too.


Having pets, such as cats in HDB flats

Under the Housing and Development (Animals) Rules 1989, it is illegal to keep cats in your HDB flat. In fact, you will be liable for a fine up to $4,000 if you fail to comply. The reason that cats are prohibited is because “They are generally difficult to contain within the flat. When allowed to roam indiscriminately, they tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas, and also make caterwauling sounds, which can inconvenience your neighbours.”


What about dogs?

Five weird lifestyle-changing factors for HDB Flat

HDB Approved Dog Breeds Source: HDB

While dogs are allowed in HDB flats, it has to be one of the 62 HDB-approved dog breeds. You can refer to the full list here on the SPCA website. Moreover, only one dog is allowed per household. Dog owners do not need to apply for HDB’s approval to keep the dog as long as it is an approved breed and the dog needs to be licensed by the NParks Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS).

Other pets that are allowed in HDB flats include rabbits, hamster, approved bird breeds, approved fish breeds, crabs, frogs and approved turtle breeds.


For the love of pets..

If you are looking to own a cat or dog that is not one of HDB’s approved breeds, or looking to have multiple dogs, a private property might be a better fit. AVS’s current rule states that a maximum of three dogs is allowed to be kept in any one private residences. Of which, only one Specified dog can be licensed and kept in each private residence.

So what exactly is a Specified dog? These are dog breeds that are reported to be more aggressive, and additional measures such as muzzling, have to be put in place to minimize chances of an attack.

Cats and other legal pets can be kept at private residences but do be mindful that if you are living in a condominium or apartment, there might be other by-laws set by the condominium’s Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) that will restrict the number and type of pets you can own. Do check with the specific MCST or Managing Agent in the Condominium or apartment.


What are the exceptions?

There are exceptions; however, to what is mentioned above regarding pets in HDB and also private housing in Singapore. One such exception is Project ADORE  (ADOption and REhoming of dogs) which have became a permanent scheme in May 2014, the project allows HDB flat owners to adopt and keep bigger local mixed breed dogs, also known as Singapore Specials, which are up to 55 cm in height.

This is a 2 year pilot program that started recently on 1 March 2020 to revise the height criteria from 50 cm to 55cm and the weight criteria of 15 kg to be removed. Under the project, adopters have to abide by stringent ownership conditions and need to sign off on requirements to ensure that their dogs do not cause nuisances to the neighbours in the HDB.

The project has also since been expanded in August 2018 to include a pilot project till early 2022 called K9 Adoption Scheme to allow dog handlers to rehome retired sniffer dogs from Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Armed Force in HDB flats. There is also a higher possibility to keep more than 3 dogs if the fourth dog is a mongrel adopted from one of the rehoming partners.


Another project called Project Love Cats, which is a pilot project on cat ownership, was launched on 20 October 2012 in Chong Pang and was supported by its Member of Parliament Mr K. Shanmugam. The programme was effected to test a community management framework on responsible cat ownership in HDB estate. To qualify to be a cat owner in Chong Pang HDB estate, cat owners will need to register with the Cat Welfare Society and abide by ownership conditions such as microchipping and sterilisation. The areas covered are only at Old Chong Pang and New Chong Pang. Cat owners, check out if you stay in one of these blocks, if so you will be able to legally keep cats in your HDB without worrying that you will be fine up to $4,000! Looking ahead, whether the pilot Love Cats be expanded to other HDB estate still remains to be seen.

During a parliament sitting on 6 January 2020, Member of Parliament Mr Louis Ng of Nee Soon East asked Minister of National Development Mr Lawrence Wong very recently:

1. What is the rationale for not allowing people living in HDB flats to keep cats; and

2. whether the Ministry is reviewing this rule.

Minister Lawrence Wong replied, HDB’s pet ownership policies have to strike a balance between residents who are pet lovers and those who are not. Irresponsible pet ownership can lead to dis-amenities in the community and cause unhappiness. In the case of cats, dis-amenities include shedding fur, defecating/urinating in public areas, and caterwauling by roaming cats.

Notwithstanding these concerns, HDB recognizes that there are many residents who are cat lovers and who would like to keep cats in their flats. Hence, HDB will continue to review and update its pet ownership policies, together with NParks/Animal & Veterinary Service which is responsible for the broader issue of animal welfare and licensing.

While we would like very much to accommodate the wishes of all pet owners, we also have to take into consideration the views of other home-owners, and take a holistic and balanced approach in addressing this issue.”

For now, it looks like cats are still a no in other HDB flats in Singapore outside of Chong Pang


Contact Us

Pets are lifelong companions and the commitment to care for it is a big responsibility. So much so that it would also affect the type of property that you are looking to purchase next. That is where Home Quarters’ expertise lies.

Come sit down with us to go through which property type is more suitable for you as a whole by going over to homequarters.com.sg or send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram.

If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here.

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

When should you start buying your first property?

Adulting may be difficult at times but the fun part is – you start to own your own assets, including property! When should you start looking into buying your first property? Perhaps it’s for your own living, or for investments? With some proper planning, you will be able to use your property investments to your advantage and earn from it.


Eligibility to buying your first property

Let’s start off with eligibility. One of your property choices is likely to be a HDB flat. One of the most important factors when considering a HDB flat is the eligibility criteria.

If you are part of a new Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) household – with either partner under 3 years of being a SPR – and is keen to own a unit now, you will only be able to purchase a private property.

If you are a Singapore citizen and  thinking of purchasing as a sole owner, meaning you are the only person that will be purchasing the unit and you are under the age of 35 years old, generally you will not be able to purchase a HDB flat too.

Exceptions may occur if you are a single, unwed parent. In that situation, HDB will assess on a case to case basis if you are able to purchase a resale flat. In addition, the National Development Minister, Lawrence Wong, announced on 4 March 2020 that single unwed parents aged 21 and above will be allowed to buy new three-room flats in non-mature estates, on top of the existing two-room flexi flats in non-mature estates and resale flats.

So for single individual buyers under the age of 35, your only choice is the private property market.


Objective of the your property purchase

What is the main objective of buying your first property? This is an important point to consider when purchasing a property. Is the unit that you are currently purchasing for your own stay or for investment? There are often polar opposites consideration depending on your objective.

What is your expectations of the market price increase of the unit that you are looking at within the holding period? How much cash and CPF savings are you willing to pay for the capital and rental upside while you hold it? Will you be willing to hold past the expected holding period if the price have not gone up to your expectations?

When should you start buying your first property?_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

For HDB flats, it is built with the intention for buyers to stay in it, thus, once you have purchased the unit, there is a Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of 5 years. Even if the price hit a high, you will not be able to sell it within that period.

When should you start buying your first property?_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

For private property, there is no minimum occupation period. However, there is a seller stamp duty period and right now in early 2020, it is a 3 years period – stepping down from 12% to 8% to 4% for every year held. 

So, it is important to know how long will you wish to hold onto this property as well. Do you hate moving and intend to build a family at this place? Or is this is a temporary housing solution and you will be looking to purchase a bigger unit in the near future if you plan for your family to become bigger with children.


Lifestyle needs

Next up, we can take a look at lifestyle needs. Perhaps you enjoy hosting friends and family over the weekends. You may prefer to have access to condominium facilities such as the pool, gym, BBQ pits and function room then.

You might also have a strict exercise regime, thus needing the pool and gym in close proximity. That will help reduce the travel time to and from your place to your workout location. Or you may want your children to learn how to swim in the comfort and safety of your own condominium pool with a private swim coach teaching them. If the above is important to you, then owning a private condominium might be a better option for you.


What is your next property decision?

Lastly, consider your future property decisions. If you choose to own a private property first, and wish to purchase a HDB build to order (BTO) flat thereafter, you have to wait 30 months after the completion of the sale before you are eligible to apply for a new HDB flat. If you are lucky enough to get a unit on the first try, you might only be able to collect the key to your new HDB home about 4 years later. During the interim period, you have to find alternative housing.

For resale HDB flats, you can go ahead even before selling the private property you own, but you will not get to enjoy the first timer CPF housing grant or take up a HDB loan within that 30 months period either. Also, you will have to sell off the private property within 6 months of owning the resale HDB unit.

For Singaporeans looking to own a HDB flat in your property portfolio, you have to start from a HDB flat first and after satisfying the MOP period, you can then proceed to own multiple other private residential properties. For SPR households, you have to sell off the HDB flat if you desire to own a private residential property after.


Contact US

At Home Quarters, we strongly suggest that you to seek the advice of a professional real estate salesperson to walk you through all these thought provoking questions before you jump head-first into choosing which to buy. Just like how a good doctor conduct fact finding thoroughly for their patients, a good real estate salesperson also do the same before recommending and shortlisting a specific type of property for you. 

Contact Home Quarters by going over to homequarters.com.sg or send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram!

If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing when buying your first property, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here.

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

2013, the fateful year that caused HDB prices to plunge 10%!

What happened in 2013 to cause HDB prices to plunge?

2013. The year in which we experienced a 10% drastic drop in HDB prices in Singapore. What happened in 2013, what is the impact on resale HDB flats during then and have we actually recovered from the shock today? Such a catastrophic situation for HDB prices to plunge affect our HDB homes and 70% of Singaporeans that live in them. It definitely sent shockwaves across the nation during then.

On 11 January 2013, a joint press release issued by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of National Development, Monetary Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Trade & Industry states that the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) is being reduced.

The Mortgage Servicing Ratio determines how much loans a buyer can get for a HDB flat. The smaller the percentage the lower the loan a buyer can get. For loans from banks, it was lowered from 40% to 30%. For loans from HDB, it was lowered from 40% to 35%. What this suggests is that HDB buyers are not able to get as much loans as compared to before.

Together with the MSR reduction, Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) who own a HDB flat will not be allowed to rent out the entire flat. On top of that, PRs who own a HDB flat must sell their flat within 6 months of purchasing a private property in Singapore. This rule is likely created to deter PRs from using HDB for rental income and then move on to stay in private housing, or perhaps do not even stay in Singapore.

After the announcement, the transaction volume did not immediately go down. In fact, it increased about 20.8% and the resale price also increased 0.5% from Q1 to Q2 of 2013.


Introduction of other measures to stabilize the HDB resale prices

On 27 August 2013, the government introduced two measures to further stabilize the HDB resale market. In my opinion, that was really the last nail in the coffin for HDB resale prices. After what happened that cause the HDB prices to plunge so much, the measures were much needed.

One, they are reducing the maximum loan term from 30 years to 25 years. This means that HDB buyers will need to pay a higher monthly loan repayment due to the shorter loan term. In addition, for HDB loans, the MSR is reduced from 35% to 30%. Like we mentioned previously, this means that HDB buyers will not be able to get as much loans from HDB. This rule affected more Singaporeans. Most Singaporeans take up a HDB loan when buying a HDB flat.

Two, they ruled that PR households to wait three years from the date of obtaining PR status, before they can buy a resale HDB flat. The demand of HDB resale flat, which was previously made up of a significant number of PR households, will be greatly reduced with the new measure. HDB resale flat is the only type of HDB that a PR household can buy as they cannot apply for a new flat.

2013, the fateful year that caused HDB prices to plunge 10%!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

It was hugely shocking as the measures’ take effect immediately on the day of the announcement at 5.30pm. There was no grace period given. This stranded many PR buyers that were in the middle of a deal.

After this announcement, the transaction volume immediately plunged to 13.4% and the resale price also sharply dropped by 0.9% from Q2 to Q3 of 2013. From Q2 2013, Prices continue to drop quarter-on-quarter until Q3 2015 before stabilizing. The total drop in price was about 11.6%. The median price of HDB flat in Q2 2013 is S$460,000, a 11.6% drop means that if you buy a HDB flat in mid 2013 for S$460,000 then by end 2015, your HDB flat will be worth S$53,360 lesser than what you paid for.


Effects of the measures in 2020

The impact of the 2013 HDB measures introduced is still being felt today, coupled with the economy slowdown in growth rate. The HDB resale prices have been falling consistently from Q3 2013 till today, with only 4 quarters registering quarter-on-quarter positive growth. However, the growth never exceeded 0.5%. The median price of HDB for the full year of 2019 is S$400,000.

Compared to the historic prices of HDB, only those buyers that have bought a HDB before year 2011 (with median price of S$418,000) will make a profit or break-even. This is not taking into account other costs such as housing loan interest and CPF accrued interest. That is why sellers of HDB flats often face a negative sale situation.

This means that the money received after they sell their unit is not enough to pay for the HDB loan or bank loan, even taking into consideration CPF. If they bought a resale HDB flat after 2011, or used huge portion of their CPF to pay for the HDB flat, the effects are felt especially acute.

Looking forward, as HDB flats are supposed to serve as a primary home for Singaporean citizens and also PRs, prices will be consistently monitored to be kept low in order to allow it to be affordable to the masses. In the last 4 – 5 years, prices have been stable for resale HDB flats.

In the short term, we foresee that there will not be seeing any significant increase in the price of resale HDB flat unless we experience an economy boom in Singapore that significantly bring up the income level of the masses.

MSR most likely will stay on although the government have recognised the effect of inflation and have since increased the income ceiling eligibility of new flats from S$12,000 to S$14,000. The new executive condominium income ceiling was also increased from $14,000 to $16,000 on 11 September 2019.


What’s next in it for you?

Looking at the measures that were implemented, we can see that government policy changes definitely play a big part in influencing the price of our HDB flats. In fact, government policy impact all type of properties and not just HDB.

As a home seller selling your home in order to upgrade or right size into another home because your current home is no longer suitable for your needs, do you know if you fall under the negative sales scenario? If you do, what can you do if you are still keen to sell the place? Will we see such a situation of HDB prices to plunge greatly again?


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But if you have an agent that can take you through the process carefully, you will be able to find a new residential unit that could serve as your home for a long time. That is where Home Quarters can help. Sit down with Home Quarters to go through the current price of your HDB and what you owe on loans and CPF.

Whatsapp message or call KC from Home Quarters and begin finding your new home today: +65 8809 2889! Or drop us an email, commenting on our YouTube or contacting us through our Facebook and Instagram pages!

He is extremely knowledgeable about everything to help you find your new home today. Watch KC, your friendly neighbourhood agent here in action: If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing when buying your first property, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here.

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

Getting Cashback From Agent For Buying A Developer’s Unit?

Imagine this situation: you have shortlisted your ideal home after few nights of intense discussion, and you finally decided to buy a new launch developer’s unit. Now, you learn that you can get a cashback from agent that is selling it to you. Is this true?

In any given new launch scenario, the agent that is assisting the buyer to purchase the unit sold by the developer. The agent is paid by the developers for assisting to sell a unit to the buyer. There are buyers and third parties that ask for the salesperson’s remuneration to be given to them if they choose to be serviced by that particular salesperson. What could go wrong in a situation as such?


Firstly, let’s look at legality issues of getting cashback from agent.

I have found 2 guidelines and notices from Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) respectively that disapproved of the behavior of getting cashback from agent:

The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) was formed as a statutory board under the Ministry of National Development. Established under the Estate Agents Act, CEA is empowered to administer the regulatory framework for the real estate agency industry.

This is what it says under CEA’s regulations:

Point 1.10 Offering gifts and cash vouchers

1.10.1 Estate agents and salespersons shall not advertise or offer any benefit, in cash or kind, to any party in a transaction, so as to induce them to engage the services of the estate agents or salespersons. Estate agents and salespersons also shall not agree if any person initiates the request for them to offer such benefits. This practice of offering benefits as inducement is an unprofessional and unethical practice and brings disrepute and discredit to the industry.

On 12 July 2018, a new Practice regulation was also announced.

Circular PC 04-18

Practice Circular on the Offering of Benefits by Estate Agents and Salespersons via Third Party Entities

It quoted the same clause 1.10 from the Professional Service Manual and added, “Salespersons and estate agents who work with and/or use third parties to offer benefits, including any “cash back programme”, which results in the consumer engaging the services of the salespersons or estate agent will be in breach of this Practice Circular.

Moreover, it states that “Estate agents and salespersons are not to participate in any schemes where direct or indirect benefits are given to a consumer in a new development sale transaction that ultimately results in the consumer engaging the services of the estate agent or salesperson. This includes “cash back” schemes from third parties that offer benefits to consumers in new development sale transactions.”

In two places, CAS specifically identified “cash back programmes” to be illegal to entice buyers or encourage transactions.

Buyers and third party would also infringe MAS’s “Notice 1106 Residential Property Loans”. If they are taking a loan with a financial institution and fail to declare the “cash back”, this may result in the bank granting a loan higher than the loan at the valuation of the unit that the buyer bought.

Under 6. Declaration part (b) “A merchant bank granting a credit facility for the purchase of Residential Property shall obtain a written declaration from the Borrower on…whether any discount, rebate or any other benefit (including the payment of legal or stamp fees for the purchase) which has the effect of reducing the true purchase price has been or will be received from the vendor or any other party, and the amount of such discount, rebate or benefit;”

So with regards to the law, getting cashback from agent sure is a BIG NO NO!


Case Studies of Asking For Cashback From Agent – and Is It Ethical or Ideal?

Sometimes, clients work with their agents that have recommended, shortlisted and gone through the whole process. Right before the final step, they suggest that if the agent does not offer the cashback, they would not make the purchase.

This has happened, and this is a lack of respect to the agent’s hard work in analyzing based on suitability to recommend and shortlist developments that match what the clients are looking for.

In other cases, clients are asking for a discount so that they can afford the development’s downpayment. I will suggest that the buyer re-evaluate the decision with his or her agent. If the buyer is financially stretched too thin, it is not suitable for the buyer and the agent should suggest a different unit.


What should be done then?

Buy only if you feel that the property matches what you need or want. Shortlist developments that have prices that you feel are fair and match the level that you are comfortable in paying. If not, move on to another property.

To summarise, firstly, it is not legal to engage in such an act. Regardless whether this is initiated by the buyers, the salesperson or any other third parties, we have to support CEA’s in that the practice of offering benefits as inducement is an unprofessional and unethical practice and brings disrepute and discredit to the industry.


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So what do you, our audience think? Share with us your comment in the comments section. If you are looking for a home, finding the right agent and staying safe in the process is very important. Let your agent take on the stress and help you find the place that could fit your needs.

Whatsapp message or call KC from Home Quarters and begin finding your new home today: +65 8809 2889! Or drop us an email, commenting on our YouTube or contacting us through our Facebook and Instagram pages!

Having 10 years of experience in the realtor industry, he is extremely knowledgeable about everything to help you find your new home today. Watch KC, your friendly neighbourhood agent here in action:

If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here before COVID-19 end.

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

The 3 Best Timings To Sell Off An Investment Property!

So you bought an investment property years ago, and are now wondering when is the best time to sell? In this article, we share about what we feel are the 3 best timings to sell off an investment unit.


Stagnation of prices of the unit when you want to sell off an investment property

As investors, we know the importance of making your money work hard for you. For property, we look at both rental yields and capital appreciation potential in a real estate asset. Rental yields are easy to determine, based on the current market rental that is being transacted. For example, in a condominium unit, we can take reference to the recent transacted rental prices in the condominium.

The 3 Best Timings To Sell Off An Investment Property!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

That will determine the next rental price if the current tenant is looking to renew or terminate. From there, we are able to calculate the gross rental yield and also the nett rental yield after taking into account other costs relating to the investment unit such as mortgage rate, condo maintenance fee, property tax and agent service fees to name a few.

Capital appreciation potential is a little more complicated. Like the name suggests, it is potential and it could go higher in due time. But how long the potential can be realized is important here. Let me illustrate. If there are 2 properties that cost S$1 million each, and both have the potential to increase 50% to S$1.5 million. Investors will most likely be indifferent to choose one over another.

The 3 Best Timings To Sell Off An Investment Property!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

However, let’s say after 5 years, Property A appreciates by 25% and Property B appreciates by 30%. On hindsight, Property B is a better investment if the investor only wants to hold on to the unit for 5 years. However, if the investor has another 5 years to go before needing the money from the investment for other needs, then what could be done?

Assuming that both Property A and B’s prices are already stagnant. For one, the investor can keep the same property and hopefully at the end of another 5 years, it will realize its full potential and appreciate to S$1.5 million. He could sell off the unit and put it in another one that have a better growth potential. As an added bonus, with a larger capital after sale, there could be units with better opportunities available.


Restructuring the owners for tax planning purposes

If you have bought an investment unit with a partner or spouse, and currently have capital to invest into the real estate market, it might be helpful to look at how you plan the ownership of the current residential property portfolio.

In a typical scenario, a couple bought a 2 bedroom condominium unit for investment for S$700,000 and it has since appreciated to S$1 million as their second property purchase. Their first property purchase is a built-to-order HDB flat that they currently own, valued at around S$500,000. If together, they were to put the money into another 2-bedroom unit priced at S$1 million, they will have to pay 15% Additional Buyer Stamp Duty(ABSD).

What they can do is to sell off both the HDB flat and the 2 bedroom unit and start afresh. One of them can purchase and own a S$1.5 million 3 bedroom condominium unit. The other spouse can then purchase the 2 bedrooms unit for investment. Between the both of them, they are able to make profit as well.

Each of them owns 1 property, so there is no need to pay the ABSD. The same scenario works if the couple aims to sell the 2 bedroom unit to purchase a landed property priced above S$2 million. The ABSD would have been at 12%. That would be S$240,000 – almost half the price of their HDB flat! Of course, there are other considerations such as loan eligibility and whether they will want to live in a condominium. 


Better investment opportunities

Lastly, with limited capital, an investor may identify a better investment unit than the one they currently own. Thus, it might be worthwhile to take the profit that the current investment unit generated and put it in another unit with better growth potential.

We have seen cases where investors cut losses to do the same as well. The money returned together with rentals and savings accumulated over the years. In that way, they might be able to purchase a bigger investment unit or even multiple investment units diversified across Singapore.

For example, take the case that we have mentioned regarding the 2 bedroom unit which initially cost S$700,000 and have appreciated to S$1 million. Assuming they have S$400,000 mortgage loan left, the cash returned would be S$600,000. After an even split of S$300,000 each between the couple, each partner can put a down payment on a close to S$1 million property at a 75% loan from the bank.


Contact Us

If you have questions or if you are thinking about properly showcasing your house for sale, contact Home Quarters by going over to homequarters.com.sg or send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram!

If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here before COVID-19 end.

Reach out to us any way you like and we love to help you out and answer any questions you have to sell your house so that you can move on to the next big thing in life!

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

Oh No, No More Visitor Parking In All New Condominiums in Singapore!

What?! No more visitor parking in all the new condominiums in Singapore! Did I hear that right? In this article, we will discuss the new ruling announced by Land Transport Authority (LTA) that will phase out visitor parking lot moving forward called Range-based Parking Provision Standards (RPPS). What is the impact of this new ruling on car park spaces in new launches in Singapore? What is the impact then of this new ruling on older condominiums in Singapore?


Range-based Parking Provision Standards (RPPS)

Before we dive deep into the impacts, we first have to know what is in LTA’s new Range-based Parking Provision Standards (RPPS). The revised parking standards will replace the existing Car Parking Standards and Range-based Car Parking Standards from 1 February 2019.

In line with Singapore’s move towards a car-lite society, this gives developers greater flexibility to manage parking spaces according to the needs of the development. This is especially in regions that are very well connected to the current public transport system. As such, more space will be freed up for greenery and communal use.

The new standards will specify the range of car parking provisions such as parking spaces for cars, motorcycles, bicycles. On top of that, specific lots such as coach buses for hotels and loading/unloading bays for commercial development that private developments are allowed to provide will vary according to location zones and land uses.

Minimum Parking Provision

Previously, there is a minimum parking provision, and developers have to request for LTA’s approval to reduce the parking provision of up to 20% below the minimum standard for some developments. Now, RPPS provide the developers’ flexibility to determine the desired level of parking provision within the range without the need to seek LTA’s approval. However, if the developers wish to build less than or more than the specified range of car parking provision then the application will still have to be evaluated by LTA on a case by case basis.

Developers might face penalties of $16,000 charge for each car parking space (or $5,500 for each motorcycle parking space) if they go either above or below the range they are allowed. This is interesting as LTA move towards capping of the parking spaces instead of stipulating a minimum number of parking provisions. This move is seen as a greater emphasis on reducing the number of cars on the roads and also encouraging people to commute via public transport. It also specifies mandatory bicycle parking requirements.


The impact on new condominiums affected by this new RPPS

Under the RPPS, the lower and upper bound for car park space in residential developments is split according to Zone 1. Zone 1 is defined as central business district and Marina Bay, except for car-lite precinct.

Source: The Jovell Residences

Zone 1: 50-80% of the total dwelling units
Outside of Zone 1: 80-100% of the total dwelling units

Usually, buyers of private condominiums expect to have at least 1 car park space in the condominium for their own use. Thus, there will not be additional car park spaces for visitors even for condominium outside of Zone 1, much lest the buyers that purchase a unit within Zone 1.


Does it really impact the actual owner profile that are currently staying in Zone 1?

Based on experience, the condominiums in Zone 1 usually exercise a paid parking system to reduce the number of parking spaces to residents that need it, and thus willing to pay for it.

That is even for condominiums that have a 1-1 ratio of car park lots to units. Being located so near to the city centre, many owners and tenants does not need a car too. The excess provides for bigger unit owners that could have a need for 1 or 2 cars lots, which is paid to the management agent. That is then added into the maintenance fund and sinking fund.

This is not the first time that the issue of car park space is in the spotlight. From 2005, developers of new condominiums that is build within 400m of a train station is allowed to reduce the car park space to only 80% of the number of units in the condominium. When Home Quarters visited a few of these developments, we found that the car park lot space is not fully taken up as well.

Oh No, No More Visitor Parking In All New Condominiums in Singapore!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

This might be due to these condominium being heavily tenanted. Majority of the tenants and even residents who chose a living location nearer to train station do not own a car. This transition will takes time to be generally accepted and people will adapt to the fewer parking spaces in new condominiums moving forward.


What about the older condominiums?

Not only will the new ruling affect new condominiums, we think that it will definitely affect older condominiums built before the new parking standards. If buyers are looking for condominium that will allow them to park 2 or even 3 cars in the condominium itself without paying for the additional car park lot, they could consider buying older condominiums such as Mandarin Gardens that have about 1500 parking spaces for its 1000 residential units.

Source: Mandarin Gardens

There are definitely enough lots for guests and visitors to park during festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Christmas! This will become a selling point for older properties with ample parking spaces. Another type of property that might attract more attention will be the strata property with their own lots. Usually they come with 2 parking spaces and are right outside the door of the unit.

This will save the owners the hassle of walking a long distance from the lot where they park or competing with the neighbours for parking space. Regarding the 2nd car parking lot charge, if buyers buy a condominium without being made aware of the 2nd car park charge, they can end up having unwanted tension between themselves and the management council. As reflected by the incident in 2010, the police had to be called in twice to intervene on matter relating to additional car parking lots.


Conclusion

There will most likely be more new rules or by-laws set up by each individual management committee of the condominium to have a mutually agreed upon way to resolve the parking situation.

Oh No, No More Visitor Parking In All New Condominiums in Singapore!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

There will also be teething issues such as those seen in the viral video in October 2019 where a resident at Eight Riversuites condominium hurled vulgarities at the security officer over a condominium rule that requires guests to pay $10 for parking after 11pm.

At Home Quarters, we think it will take time for Singapore to fully embrace being a car lite city, to take public transportation or to make cycling a mainstream transport option. To integrate it as part of the culture and way of life of all the residents living in the city state will take some time.

Now that you know about Range-based Parking Provision Standards, what will be the impact on car park spaces in new launches in Singapore and also what might be the impact of this new ruling on older condominiums in Singapore. Do you support the push by the government towards a car-lite nation and is parking spaces important in your decision to purchase your next dream home?


Contact Us

If you have questions or if you are thinking about properly showcasing your house for sale, contact Home Quarters by going over to homequarters.com.sg, send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram! If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here before COVID-19 end.

Reach out to us any way you like and we love to help you out and answer any questions you have to sell your house so that you can move on to the next big thing in life.

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!

Calling on all Housing and Development Board (HDB) dwellers and owners! Do you know you can buy the small space right outside your door? Have you ever wondered why some HDB flats have their gates outside on the common corridor and some have them just right outside the door? That fine difference is because of the recess area.

In this article, we will explore what that is, who can buy them, how much does it cost and also how to go about buying it. Importantly for those concern about selling your unit in future, we also discuss if buying it will increase the value of your house.


What is the recess area and who can buy it?

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Source : HDB

HDB flats have corridors that lead to staircase and also lift landings that serve as common spaces, and these areas are considered the recess area. Some residents have converted these extensions outside their home for their personal use by putting their own belongings such as shoe racks, cabinets, bicycle and even park benches.

Home Quarters do advise that home owners reduce the clutter in the common corridor as this will pose as a fire hazard, and restrict escape routes and access in case of an emergency. The safest way to enjoy the corridor space directly in front of the flat is to purchase it from HDB under the Sale of Recess Area Scheme and turn it into your own private space.

In order to be eligible to buy, home owners have to meet certain conditions. First, the space have to meet technical requirements relating to design, access, fire safety and ventilation. There should not be service ducts such as gas pipes, water meters and electrical ducts in the space.


In what situation is the purchase of recess area not allowed?

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

In addition, the purchase of recess area is not allowed if the flat is built after 1996 or under a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project. Also, under these circumstances, purchase is also prohibited:

• Space does not comply with the Fire Safety Code
• Space contains electrical risers
• Flat is located next to a corner unit
• Flat is located next to the opening that leads to the canopy of the protruding access balcony
• Flat is located in a point block where it is the only unit on the floor which has the recess area


How much does the small recess area cost?

According to HDB, the purchase price of a 4 sqm recess area outside a typical three-room flat would cost S$6,800. The price per square meter is also reviewed every quarter by HDB. Just like a normal purchase procedure, stamp and registration fees, conveyancing fees and also survey fees are required for the purchase. Survey fees refer to the fee paid to confirm how big the area is.

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Source : HDB

HDB estimates that the total cost for the recess area adds up to S$7,297.30 after factoring all the fees involved. Additional costs might also be needed for relocating service ducts, fittings, or fixtures out of the recess area, and for renovation works to be carried out which is not included in the estimate. 


Procedure to buy recess area

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Source : HDB

If their flat meets the requirements, they may submit an online application via My HDBPage. An on-site inspection of the recess area is required to determine if the space meets technical requirements. Thereafter, they will be subsequently informed of the outcome in writing. In certain cases, they will be advised to relocate services, fittings and fixtures at their own cost before making payment and signing of legal documents to complete the purchase.


Impact of recess area towards valuation and price of HDB flat

Factually, the area of the HDB flat will increase as it includes the bought area of the recess area. The valuation price will definitely be higher than a typical unit. On top of just adding space to the unit, if the purchase of recess area changes a typical corner corridor unit to that of a private corner unit without any windows facing the common corridor, then the purchase of the recess area will increase the desirability of the unit.

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Source: Fatema Design Studio

For example, a 3-room flat in Toa Payoh that have purchased the recess area and renovated it, would have increased its attractiveness. People might prefer to buy this unit with recess area because it is now more private, without windows that allows public to peek into the unit from the common corridor. That will definitely increase the demand and thus, the market price of the unit.


Contact Us

Now, after you understand what is the recess area, is it a key criteria when you are looking for your next home? Come sit down with us to go through your current needs and want for the property to purchase next.

If you have questions or if you are thinking about properly showcasing your house for sale, contact Home Quarters by going over to homequarters.com.sg or send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram! If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here before COVID-19 end.

Reach out to us any way you like and we love to help you out and answer any questions you have to sell your house so that you can move on to the next big thing in life.

That’s all for this article! Stay safe, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

Complete Guide to Knowing and Buying Landed Property in Singapore!

It would be fair to say that many Singaporeans regard owning a landed property in Singapore as the “beacon of success”. But how much do you know about landed property in Singapore? Read on for the ultimate guide to knowing and buying landed property locally!

Complete Guide to Knowing and Buying Landed Property in Singapore

3 types of landed houses in Singapore

Although we can see many different sizes, styles and colours of landed houses in Singapore, they can be broadly classified into 3 categories.

Source: URA

The first type is the detached house (also called bungalow). URA defines a detached house as a free standing dwelling unit within a plot of land.

Source: URA

The second type is the semi-detached house (also known as the Semi-D). A semi-detached house is a property that is attached to another landed property. Usually attached by the sides, it can also be attached back to back.

Source: URA

Finally, the third type is the terrace house. A terrace house is a house which forms part of a row of at least 3 houses sharing a common boundaries with common walls in between them.

Next, let’s take a look at the minimum size of these various landed properties. For a detached house located within a Good Class Bungalow area, the land size is at least 1400 sqm (~15070 sqf). To put it in perspective, the smallest Good Class Bungalow is about the size of about fifteen 4-room flats combined, or 5 tennis courts combined.

For bungalows outside of the Good Class Bungalow area, the land size is minimally 400 sqm (~ 4306sqf), that is about four 4-room flats combined or 1.5 tennis courts combined.

For a semi-detached house or corner terrace, it is minimally 200 sqm (~2153 sqf) which is half of the minimum area of a bungalow.

For a terrace house, the minimum land size is 150 sqm (~ 1615 sqf) and it goes up from there.


Safeguarded landed housing estate

Next, let’s introduce what is a safeguarded landed housing estate. There are well-established existing landed housing estates in Singapore which are gazetted to protect the style of these private housing estates. They include good class bungalow areas, bungalows areas, semi detached housing areas and also mixed landed housing areas.

Complete Guide to Knowing and Buying Landed Property in Singapore!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Safeguarded landed housing estate Source: URA Space

The red highlighted areas under Special and Detailed Control Plans, landed housing areas denote the specific landed housing estate a property is in.

It also denotes the maximum number of floors the house can have, and also the type of landed house able to be build in those area. For Good Class Bungalow areas, only 2 storey bungalows or strata bungalow can be built. For bungalow areas, only bungalows or strata bungalows can be built.

For a semi-detached housing area, only semi detached and bungalow or the strata equivalent can be built. Lastly, for mixed landed housing areas, all landed and strata landed housing types can be built.

What this means is that you will not find a terrace house in a semi-detached housing area, nor would you find a semi-detached house in a bungalow area. This helps keep the density and also the type of landed houses consistent through the years. Even when developers start to tear down older houses and divide big landed houses into smaller landed houses, they have to abide by the restrictions of the landed housing area.

Good Class Bungalow areas are safeguarded since the 1980s and it is restricted to only 2-storey bungalows or cluster bungalows that occupy less than or equal to 35% of the land area. This means that there will be a considerable yard and parking space if you buy one. There are 39 Good Class Bungalow areas in Singapore and they are mostly centrally located. Most of them have very creative architectural designs.


Landed houses outside of the safeguarded landed housing area

There are also landed property outside of the safeguarded landed housing area. Developers are able to build mixed housing like flats, condominiums and any form of landed properties, subjected to local authority’s approval.

If you are staying in one such unit, it is possible that your neighbouring landed property be demolished, with a small low rise apartment replacing it. Or, it might be combined to become part of the land of a high rise condominium project.

As it is not safeguarded, there is more flexibility for developers to build housing types based on the market demand at the time of development. So will you be more keen to live in a landed house inside of a safeguarded landed housing area or outside? Are the landed houses less valuable because they are located outside of the designated safeguarded landed housing area?


Contact Us

If these are questions that you have running in your mind when you are deciding on a landed property, that is where Home Quarters’ expertise lies. Come sit down with us to go through your current needs and want for the property to purchase next!

You may have questions about where to buy, what to buy, at what price to buy. We can also bring you through the possible reconstructions, additions and alterations, soil conditions on land and even subdivision of the land. Contact Home Quarters by going over to homequarters.com.sg or send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram!

That’s all for this article! Stay safe, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

How will the circuit breaker affect the property market?

The unofficial word of the year, ‘unprecedented’, is the perfect way to describe these times right now. From 7 April 2020, Singapore has officially entered the circuit breaker period (similar to a lockdown in other countries), in order to slow down the escalating COVID-19 infections. During this time, Singaporeans are advised to stay home as much as possible.

Working from home and being in close proximity with others 24/7 may take a toll on your mental health.

Working from home and being in close proximity with others 24/7 may take a toll on your mental health. | Source: Anthony Tran

In tandem with the circuit breaker, a new law, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, was also hurriedly passed in Parliament on 7 April. To reduce the risk of infection, the new law bans all gatherings with family or friends who do not live together. Gatherings at home, public spaces, such as HDB void decks and parks, are also banned.

Only essential services such as supermarkets, delivery services, food suppliers and energy manufacturers, are allowed to continue to operate from their premises. For the rest of the non-essential businesses, they must stop operations at their workplaces. You can only perform work by telecommuting from home.


How the circuit breaker affects people’s mental health and emotions

Working from home is now the new normal. For the first time, people are now experiencing the effect of living and working at home all the time.

They live in proximity with every family member nearly all the time, with more chances of interaction and also friction. Some families will find out that their current residence is too small for their needs. Conversely, some families would find that they actually do not need such a huge space even if they were to stay home all the time.


A shift in lifestyle priorities

Many people would also establish a new routine because working from home may blur the lines of work and living. One of the trends we see is the motivation to get a “quarantine glo-up” transformation and to strengthen their bodies.

People would try to get fit during this period of time. Having space to exercise at home, exercise facilities, nature trails and parks nearby may be one of the key lifestyle priorities when it comes to choosing their living environment.

Prior to the need to work from home, the proximity to amenities such as eateries and markets may not be that important. However, now people need to cook or to buy takeaway food for their three meals. Families would now place a greater emphasis on such amenities. Elderly living alone may not be adequately cared for during this period of time. Their siblings, children or relatives might decide to invite them to move in.


Prediction: What will change after the circuit breaker?

After the circuit breaker period is over, I predict that families that have felt the effects of space constraints will have the impetus to upgrade their living space and also to move closer to amenities.

Few alternative states?

  1. Action to upgrade or downgrade or move to another location
  2. Inaction, remain as status quo
  3. Inaction change in routine action

Advice: How to take advantage of before the change happen?

If you felt that you would like to make a change to your living location, my advice is to do it sooner rather than later. There will be many people that are thinking of moving as well to take advantage of slight increase in supply of new units right now. You could very well get a great deal during this period!

Finding a new property can be tricky during this time when circuit breakers are necessary to avoid the spread of the deadly virus. Do you know you still can continue property viewing from the comforts of your home? Remember to enjoy the process, and let your agent take on the stress and help you find the place that could fit your needs.


Contact Us

Whatsapp message or call KC from Home Quarters and begin finding your new home today: +65 8809 2889! Having 10 years of experience in the realtor industry, he is extremely knowledgeable about everything to help you find your new home today.

We’d also love to hear your opinions on this article! You can let us know through commenting on our YouTube video that we did on this article, sending us a quick email, or hitting us up on our Facebook and Instagram pages to shoot us a quick direct message.

That’s all for this article! Stay safe, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!