How high are realtors´ and lawyers´ fees in Singapore? What about other property purchase costs?
Process of buying property
Since July 19, 2005, under the Residential Property Act, foreigners can now buy apartments in buildings of less than six stories without prior government approval. However, foreigners still cannot purchase vacant land and landed properties without permission from the Singapore Land Authority. Non-residential property is not subject to these ownership restrictions.
Aside from these restrictions, foreigners can buy condominiums freely. There are few foreign exchange restrictions, and non-residents can now borrow up to 80% of the property cost locally, in Singapore Dollars.
When a price has been agreed, it is normal to obtain the ´Option to Purchase´, giving the buyer sole right to the property for a limited period, usually two weeks, for an option fee, usually 1% of the purchase price. The terms of the option will become the terms of a binding contract, so a lawyer´s advice is advisable.
To confirm intention to buy, another sum, usually 9% of the purchase price, on top of the option fee, must be paid to the seller within the time period stated in the option. The payment is forwarded to the seller together with the signed option. Contracts for sale generally follow the standard terms embodied in The Law Society´s Conditions of Sale 1994.
The lawyer will:
- Draw up the option;
- do a title search to confirm details of the property and its ownership;
- check that the owner is not a bankrupt;
- check with the relevant government authorities to ensure that the property is not affected by any government notices or projects, e.g. road widening, construction of MRT lines, etc;
- prepare the documents transferring title of the property;
- prepare an account and advise on the amount which needs to be paid to complete the purchase.
On the completion date, the lawyer will arrange for the payment, in exchange for documents transferring the title.
It takes around six days to complete the four procedures to register a property.
How much does it cost to buy a property in Singapore?
|Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD)||1% - 3%||buyer|
|Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)||5% - 35%||buyer|
|Seller Stamp Duty||4% - 12%||seller|
|Registration Fee||SGD70 (US$52)||buyer|
|Real Estate Agent´s Fee||1%
|Costs paid by buyer||7.30% - 39.30%|
|Costs paid by seller||6.15% - 14.15%|
|ROUNDTRIP TRANSACTION COSTS||13.45% - 50.45%|
Source: Global Property Guide
Footnotes to Transaction Costs Table
The round trip transaction costs include all costs of buying and then re-selling a property - lawyers´ fees, notaries´ fees, registration fees, taxes, agents´ fees, etc.
Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)
The buyer may pay additional stamp duty of 5% to 35%, in certain property transactions. The additional buyer stamp duty (ABSD) rate varies depending on the citizenship of the buyer, and other factors.
Seller Stamp Duty (SSD)
The seller pays stamp duty of 4% to 12% on transfers of residential properties acquired after 14 January 2011, and disposed within four years of acquisition. The applicable stamp duty rate varies, depending on the holding period of the property.
Following the abolition of scale fees in February 1, 2003, fees are now negotiable. The Council of Law Society sets fee guidelines for conveyancing transactions to meet the "fair and reasonable" criteria of the law.