Important Considerations When Choosing a Flat in Singapore
If you’ve got plans to purchase an HDB flat sometime soon, how can you ensure that it’s going to serve you well in the years to come? There are guides aplenty on the buying process of properties in Singapore. However, before jumping the gun, most buyers simply settle for the property of their choice that suits them most now, and shortly regret on their decision in a few years time. Today we will be looking into an often-overlooked topic, choosing the right property for first home.
Some homeowners argue that size is the most important criteria, while others say that property price is the more important. However, it all boils down to difference in weightage of current and future needs. Today, we will be taking a structured approach of different needs, breaking them down into bit-sized information for your consideration.
1. Short-term considerations
The ultimate dilemma when purchasing your first home: HDB or resale flat? Each has its pros and cons. As a resale flat may have more options for locations as opposed to waiting for the "right" BTO location. In this case, time usually plays a deciding role in your final decision: If you’re in a hurry to move into a home of your own, you might wish to begin your hunt for a resale home on the open market ASAP. Otherwise, it might take a while to secure the dream "BTO" flat of your dreams.
Budget & Grants
The world revolves around money, and very much so when selecting your first home. For the possibly biggest purchase in your life, grants are a lifesaver. HDB’s grants, such as the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) and your average monthly household income (AMHI) coming into play, it’s possible to enjoy up to $80,000 in housing grants, which in turn translates into a lower home loan amount and possibly, a shorter time to pay off your mortgage. And if you’re buying an HDB resale flat, your total grant amount be up to $160,000 (once again, depending on factors like your AHMI and desired flat size) with the Family Grant and Proximity Housing Grant.
2. Mid-term considerations:
Property size & Family planning
Expecting a family soon? Then purchasing that 2-room flexi flat might not be best option for handling the demands of a young household with children. Consequently, finding a flat that’s right sized for your loved ones is the key to ensuring everyone lives comfortably. But what if your ideal home is out of your budget? In that case, you might need to consider some trade-offs in your property choices , such as a BTO flat that isn’t located in a mature estate.
Long-term considerations: Retirement
Just like planning your renovation budget in advance, thinking about your finances before your silver years can go a long way in ensuring your retirement goes smoothly and much of it has to do with your HDB flat choice as it’ll let you unlock the value of your home in different ways.
Rental income is one of the possible ways that you can receive additional monetary support in your old age, and you can either rent out a spare bedroom or even your entire HDB flat, if you’re planning on staying with your children. Alternatively, you can consider HDB’s Silver Housing Bonus (SHB) or Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) to supplement your financial needs in retirement. If you’re moving to a 3-room or smaller home, the SHB lets you receive lifelong monthly income through CPF Life and keep any balance proceeds as cash (up to $30,000) after CPF top-up; the same applies for the LBS, except that you get to continue living in your current home.
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