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Real Estate Buying & Selling Guide in Singapore

Mar 16, 2008
Singapore is situated in southeastern Asia, between Malaysia and Indonesia. It has a total area of 692.7 sq km, including 10 sq km water area. The country has a coastline of 193 km and it is about 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC.

Singapore became a British trading colony in 1819 and eventually developed into one of the empire's most important trading centers. Singapore joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 and remained part of the federation for two years. The country became independent on August 9, 1965. Now Singapore is one of the world's wealthiest countries with strong international trade. Singapore's seaport is one of the world's busiest ports in terms of volume handled. The country has a per capita income equal to that of the leading nations of the world.

Singapore has a population of 4,553,009, and a population growth rate of 1.275%, according to latest statistics available. The population consists of 76.8% Chinese, 13.9% Malaysians, 7.9% Indians and 1.4% others, according to 2000 census.

A number of commercial and industrial property services and agents are available in Singapore. Most of them offer comprehensive real estate property listings of office, factory, land, shop, warehouse, retail space, building, hotel, restaurant, coffee shop and food court available for sale or rent. If you are buying, selling or renting your commercial property, it is advisable that you hire the services of a reliable real estate agent. Owners very often list their real estate properties with these agents for sale, rent and lease. They help owners market their property with maximum exposure and commitment. You can also resort to online search.

If you are buying a private property or housing development board (HDB) unit in Singapore, ensure that you understand all the pitfalls before you sign the deal. That would help you avoid getting into legal or financial tangles during and after the transaction. Find an agent who is familiar with your preferred location and the nature of property you have in mind. It is highly recommended that you hire the services of an agent from a listed real estate agency. Also ensure that he is a member of the Institute of Estate Agents (IEA). Discuss your requirements with the agent and let him know your preferences in detail. This will help him take the right decisions and serve you in a professional manner.

It is also highly recommended that you ascertain that the seller is the actual owner of the property. You can also request for proof of ownership before signing the documents. Also, verify if the seller is legally eligible to sell the property. In the case of a mortgaged private property, the bank may not allow an owner who is unable to top up the shortfall on his bank loan to go through with the transaction.

Remember that HDB development units have several restrictions for resale. The government has fixed a minimum period of occupancy for the seller before he would be eligible to sell the unit. In the case of a flat bought directly from the housing development board or bought with a Central Provident Fund grant, the owner must have physically occupied the flat for at least five years before it can be sold.

The owner of a resale unit must have physically occupied it for a period of 30 months before he can sell it. Remember that real estate transaction is a legally binding contract. You must first ensure your eligibility to purchase a property. Foreigners have certain restrictions to buy Singapore properties. Only an experienced real estate agent can help you avoid legal complications.

Once you have finally decided on the location and size of the commercial property that you would buy, consider the amount of money you are able to invest. A number of software exists to help your agent accurately calculate the cost of buying a property. It is important that you provide your agent with accurate data regarding your financial position. That will help him chalk out a proper financial plan for you. If you are going for a bank loan, it is a good idea to talk to two or three banks and find out a financial plan that suits you most.
About the Author
Wantanee Khamkongkaew is an independent author evaluating and commenting on leading International Property Consultants in Asia and Greater China , especially CB Richard Ellis.
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