A Singaporean’s Guide to Buying Your First Resale HDB Flat

Due to the current pandemic, the building of many HDB Build-To-Order (BTO) flats have been delayed. With a longer waiting time for BTO flats, many couples may turn to getting a resale flat instead.

Planning to buy a HDB resale flat but don’t know how? Here’s a beginner’s guide to buying your dream resale flat!

  • Pre-Purchase Checks: Which HDB Scheme am I on?
  • Can I Afford a HDB Resale Flat?
  • Can I use CPF to pay for my Resale Flat?
  • Grants Available for a Resale Flat
  • How Can I Pay For My Resale Flat?
  • HDB Resale Buying Process

Pre-Purchase Checks: Which HDB Scheme am I on? 

The criteria for getting a resale flat isn’t as strict as getting a HDB BTO flat. That said, not everyone is eligible to purchase a HDB resale flat in Singapore. It is important for you to go through the eligibility criteria, and to check which scheme applies to you.

Public Scheme

Applicable for those looking to buy a flat with a family member, such as your spouse, parent, or children.

Fiance/Fiancee Scheme

For those looking to buy a flat with your fiance/fiancee.

Single Singapore Citizen Scheme

For those above the age of 35, you can purchase a HDB resale flat.

Joint Singles Scheme

This scheme is mainly for singles above the age of 35 looking for a space to share with their friends.

Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme

If your Spouse is not a Singapore Citizen or a Permanent Resident (PR).

On top of the different schemes, there is a set of eligibility conditions:

  • Income ceiling:Unlike purchasing a BTO flat, there are no income ceilings that will prevent you from getting a resale flat. However, your income will affect the amount of CPF Housing Grants and HDB Concessionary Home Loans you can get.
  • Ownership of other properties (HDB or Private or Overseas): If you, or any other person in your resale flat application, own another HDB flat, or a private or overseas property, you are required to dispose of them within six months of your resale flat purchase transaction.

If you’ve met the above criteria, you are now ready for the next step in buying a resale HDB flat!


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Can I Afford a HDB Resale Flat?

For those planning to get a resale flat, cost is one of the biggest considerations. After all, resale costs are historically higher than HDB BTOs in Singapore – which is why many couples would choose to wait 5-7 years for a new BTO.

That said, the prices of resale flats vary from seller to seller. While we are unable to give an estimate on how much your dream resale flat would cost, here’s a breakdown on the different type of payments you would need to make: 

Main Payments for HDB Resale Flat

Deposit to seller:
Option Fee and Deposit Amount
CashUp to $5,000 in total, paid in 2 stages.1)Up to $1,000 paid as option fee
2) Deposit of up to $4,999 ($5,000- option fee amount)
Amount can be negotiated with the seller, and is taken off the resale price.After you are granted the Option to Purchase (OTP)
Initial paymentCPF / CashHDB Loan
10% of the purchase price (includes booking fee and balance)Bank Loan
25% purchase price (loan ceiling 75%) 45% purchase price (loan ceiling 55%)
Once you confirm your financial plan through the HDB Resale PortalBank Loan
Depending on Bank
Cash payment for balance purchase price (if applicable)Cashier’s orderThe difference between the resale price and the market valuationAt resale completion appointment

Source: HDB Website

Similar to BTO flats, buying a HDB Resale Flat also entails many miscellaneous costs. 

To break it down simply, here is an overview of the payments that you would have to make: 

Miscellaneous Payments for HDB Resale Flat 

Resale Application Fee$40 (1-2 room), $80 (3 room and bigger paid by both buyers and sellers as administrative fee.
Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD)
and Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)
Buyer’s Stamp Duty Payable:
First $180,000: 1%
Next $180,000: 2%
Next $640,000: 3%,
Remaining amount: 4%*If you’re buying your 2nd property, or if you are a Singapore PR/ Foreigner, you will have to pay the ABSD as well
Processing Fee for Request for Value$120
Fire InsuranceStarts from ~ $1.62-$8.10 for 5 year premium with FWD Insurance
Legal FeesHDB Home Loan
1. HDB Conveyance Fees:
First $30,000: $0.90 per $1,000
Next $30,000: $0.72 per $1,000
Remaining Amount: $0.60 per $1,0002. Registration fee:
~$38.303. HDB Caveat Registration fee
~$64.45 when signing Agreement of Lease4. Survey Fee
1-Room: $150
2-Room: $150
3-Room: $212.50
4-Room: $275
5-Room: $325
Executive Flat: $3755. Stamp Duty Fees
0.4% of loan amount (cap. $500)
*You can find out more at the HDB Legal Fees Enquiry Page HDB Legal Fees Enquiry PageBank Loan Legal Fees
Facilitated by an external lawyer.
~$3000 for their services.
Home Protection Scheme (HPS)Can be calculated individually using the CPF HPS Premium Calculator

Source: HDB Website

Can I use CPF to pay for my Resale Flat? 

Buying a HDB resale flat can be daunting, especially if you have to finance it in cash. Instead of forking out cold hard cash for your HDB purchase, you can always tap on your CPF savings to pay for your resale flat!

To put it simply, if the remaining lease of your dream flat can cover the youngest buyer until at least the age of 95, you will be able to use CPF to pay for the property up till the Valuation Limit. Otherwise, you will have to finance your flat using cash or bank loan.

Here is a list of HDB-related fees that you can pay with your CPF Ordinary Account:

  • Initial payment in whole or in part (depending on if you an HDB or bank housing loan)
  • Partial or full payment for the flat purchase
  • Monthly mortgage instalments
  • Legal fees (Depending on the law firm)
  • Stamp duties 

Tapping on your CPF can really help reduce the hefty cost of financing a resale flat. To help you further, here are some of the grants you can get that will help with the financial cost.


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Grants Available for a Resale Flat 

While resale flats may be considerably more expensive than BTO flats, an upside to getting a resale flat would be being eligible for more grants from the government.

For BTOs, you will only be able to apply for the Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG). 

Now, the good news is, for those getting a resale flat, you will be able to apply for two more grants on top of the EHG: the Family Grant and the Proximity Grant. 

Here’s how much you will be getting from the different grants:

Family GrantS$50,000 for 2-4 room resale,
S$40,000 for 5 room or bigger
Married/engaged couples, 1st time applicants can go with CPF Housing GrantYour average gross monthly household income must not exceed:
^S$21,000 if purchasing with extended family
Enhanced Housing GrantHousehold Income → Grants AvailableS$5,001 – S$5,500 → S$40,000
S$5,501 – S$6,000→ S$35,000
S$6,001 – S$6,500 → S$30,000
S$6,501 – S$7,000 → S$25,000
S$7,000 – S$7500 → S$20,000
… and more
Lower to upper – middle income applicants
of the Family Grant. At least 1 of the applicants must have worked
continuously for the 12 months prior to the flat application and still be working at the point of the flat application.

Flat lease 20 years or more.
Flat must have sufficient lease to cover the youngest buyer
and spouse/ fiancé(e) to the age of 95 to qualify for the full EHG. Otherwise, the EHG will be pro-rated.

Proximity Grant to live with parents:
Families- $30,000
Singles – $15,000

To live near parents (within 4km)
Families – $20,000
Singles- $10,000

How Can I Pay For My Resale Flat?

When financing a resale flat, most people will go for either of the two options: a HDB Housing Loan or a Bank Loan.

To get a HDB Housing Loan, you will need to apply for a HDB Loan Eligibility Letter. This will give you a gauge on how much you can loan from HDB, and should be obtained before singing the Option to Purchase.

To get a Bank Loan, you must obtain an Approval in Principle (AIP). This will help prepare your down payment amount for the bank loan.

Getting a HDB Housing Loan and a Bank Loan has its pros and cons. You can read more on which type of loan is best in this article.

HDB Resale Buying Process 

If you’ve come this far reading the article, the good news is: besides the daunting number of fees you’d have to pay, the process of getting a resale flat can be fairly simple!

You will be able to get most of the administrative work done via the HDB Resale Portal.

Here’s an overview of the resale process:

Step 1Register Intent to Buy
Step 2Get Option to Purchase (OTP) from Seller
Step 3Choose how you would like to finance your flat
(HDB Loan VS Bank Loan)
Step 4Request Value of Flat from HDB
Step 5Submit Resale Application and all supporting documents
Step 6Endorse Resale Documents
Step 7Pay Resale Fees Online
Step 8Receive Approval of Resale Application
Step 9Attend Resale Completion Appointment

Buyers are required to register an Intent to Buy via the HDB Resale Portal. Through the portal, buyers will be guided on their buying journey and can track their transaction.

If you have engaged a property agent to help you with the transaction, they will be able to help and advise you on the subsequent steps.

Buying a HDB Resale Flat in Singapore 

Now that you’ve walked through the entire process of buying your first resale flat, we hope you’d be more financially savvy when purchasing your first home. A flat may arguably be the biggest purchase of your life, so plan wisely!

This article was originally published on Planner Bee.

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