This is an unbiased step-by-step guide on selling a property in Singapore. We have no commercial interest involved with any of the recommendations in this guide apart from enticing you to use our site (which is free). We do not pretend that this guide is exhaustive, so do your own research on top of reading this.
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) provides a step-by-step guide for HDB flats here.
Before marketing your property, you should check the last transacted prices in your building (or the one nearby). You may do so on the website of the HDB or on the website of the URA for private apartments.
Do not focus on the very last transaction. Maybe the condition of the apartment was horrible so the last seller did not get a good price. Or on the contrary, maybe the seller had done some major improvements that allowed to fetch a high price. You should try to calculate a median price per square foot over the last 3 to 6 months.
Then, you should adjust the price of your property depending on the following criteria:
If you are selling an HDB flat, you must fill out and submit the Resale Checklist for Seller to the HDB.
Note that these guidelines may be useful to private property sellers as they encourage prudent behavior.
After doing this preliminary work, you may now focus on your marketing strategy. The first question to answer is: do you want to take care of it on your own, or do you need help?
At this point, you should check your schedule for potential visits. Know exactly when you are available or not.
Of course, agent services are not free. The agent's commission is usually 2 or 3% of the sale price (which means at least ten thousand dollars). There is no fixed percentage by law, so you can (and should) negotiate (source: http://www.iea.org.sg/index.cfm?GPID=150).
Nothing prevents you from hiring an agent while marketing your property yourself. Just be careful when signing a contract with an agent that you can still have the freedom to market yourself.
From all the response to your advertising, you should try to filter the prospects. Confirm that your property fits their criteria (number of bedrooms, size, budget). When this is confirmed, you can then set up a viewing. We recommend fixing a separate appointment for each prospect to avoid any kind of confusion and for you to be able to feel the seriousness of the buyer. Open houses will save you time, but you will probably lose a lot of potential buyers.
If you hired an agent, he/she should do this screening for you.
During the visit, try to understand the prospect's motivation for buying. An investor will probably be less picky than someone buying for his own stay. However, investors look for safe investments so they will more easily walk away from the negotiation if he/she realizes that something might prevent an easy resale.
Try to feel what the prospect likes and doesn't like about your property. If you are selling with your furniture, keep in mind that the buyer might not like it. Some prospects might try to point out flaws. It's part of the negotiation. Don't take it personally.
We recommend keeping a brief file on each prospect so it's easier to keep track should he/she be interested.
At this point, you should start contacting solicitors (lawyers) to find the best deal. You may find directories online such as this one.
If you hired an agent, you may choose to be present or not during the visits. We recommend you do. On top of the previously described prospect feeling, you will be able to judge how the agent is selling your property.
You should then re-contact the prospects that you felt were the most interested. Ask them if they are interested and if they have questions for you. Propose a second viewing if they feel the need.
Of course, your goal is to sell at the highest price, but if you want to close the deal, you might have to lower your price a bit. Be open to the comments from your prospects and lower your price from a fair amount if their comments are relevant. The rule is: a fairly price property will sell quickly, whereas an over-priced property won't or might not even sell at all. Are you ready to spend an extra few weeks of viewings and phone calls to make a couple of thousand dollars extra? When the market is bullish (i.e. the prices steadily go up), it could be worth it, so think carefully.
If you are selling an HDB flat, you must have submitted the Resale Checklist for Seller at least 7 days prior to issuing the OTP.
When you have agreed on a price with a buyer, the most common practice is to issue an Option to Purchase agreement to the buyer. If you have hired an agent, he/she should take care of this for you. If you have not, you may ask your solicitor who should be able to provide a template. You may also refer to the Option to purchase template provided by the HDB. If you are selling an HDB flat, you must use the official Option to Purchase form available from the HDB branches.
After validating the document with your solicitor, you may now submit it to the buyer who will need to pay 1% of the agreed price (max $1,000 for HDB flats) in order to be granted this OTP. The buyer should submit the document to his/her solicitor before committing.
Once a buyer has signed the Option to Purchase, you must stop advertising your property. The buyer has 14 calendar days to decide if he/she wants to proceed or not with the transaction. If he/she does not, you will keep the option fee and you may start advertising your property again. If he/she does proceed, then the process varies depending if you are selling a private property or a HDB flat:
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