Jul 23, 2016

Cory Diary : Experience in New Private Apartment enquiries

Like to record my experience on my property enquiries on a new private apartment. Using $1M amount as a reference calculation on the loan and fees needed. Recorded to the best of my memory re-collection using one hour of my morning time today to type. Hopefully no error in my understanding and re-collection.

Property Agent
An agent Trust Worthiness is important. Diligent and supportive are key criteria. Willingness for long term relationship will indicate his character clearly. Getting the right person is the first step in my property search. He is also the key person i ask about home procedures, lead time and industry practises.

In Principle Loan
Getting support from the bank on how much I can borrow and criteria to meet are important especially for those who are based oversea. We do not want last minute surprise risking the initial 5% deposit of the property value if we decide not to proceed with the deal. Provide as much information as possible for correct assessment by the bank.

Paper Work
Each bank may have slightly different expectation that I need to provide. Need to get ready and available on the moment notice. Talk to the bank. Credit Card statements, Salary Statements, Employment and Income Proof etc.

Ideally we like to be present to preview, ask questions, sign and handover our cheque for the home we want to buy in the show room. However you can ask someone else to sign for your intention if you are not available and trust their advice. There is a 5% booking fee that can be use to offset the initial 20% for first property. There maybe penalty on specific amount of the 5% if you fail to follow through on the purchase.

Initial Amount
I need to pay up 20% of purchase price for 1st property. Using $1M, that's $200 K in Cash and OA CPF. So if you find difficulty even at raising this amount maybe that property is not for you and need to adjust your expectation accordingly. Personally it should be well above my budget and above allocated emergency funds for housing.

Need to prepare to take a loan of $800 K. There is small sum of processing/valuation fee.
If you are oversea, time your returns to settle loan matter and lawyer. At least 3 weeks.
I included consideration on job security and emergency fund amount in my decision of the property value I would like buy. There is also age restriction on the tenor period i can borrow which will affects the monthly re-payment amount

Another key consideration is Interest rate. A Low interest rate is a double edge sword. You pay lesser for your borrowing cost but you may find yourself in over-leverage territory easily due to the low base of the rate. A small hike may impact your ability to continue to service your loan or affect your quality of life. Although the regulatory requirements and banks have built-in some safety measures we need to do our sum.

Personally to me, low interest rate stability for the entire loan term is important as I may not want to re-finance, and need to meet a host of criteria again. So sudden jump in interest rate due to board rate mechanism will not work well for my case especially in low interest rate environment.

I also need to do declaration on other loans such as car loan, housing loan, provided guarantee to someone, over draft and credit cards etc. You maybe surprise they can directly hit the amount you are allowed to borrow quite significantly. So be careful on this and be prepared for buffer. I have a well paid relative who have to borrow money from poor me because they mis-calculate the amount needed and need to tie over short-term cash flow problem.

In-addition to the 20% purchase price amount at minimum for those with first property, need to be prepared for the following

Booking Fee : 50 K. Get your cheque book ready. I am a little uncomfortable handing over blank cheque to the developer to signal our intention to purchase. Is done on-site and widely practised afaik. Authority should prohibit this practise with strong penalty against developers. There is room for issues and also put buyers at a disadvantage in pricing of development. I hope someone can bring this up to appropriate authority as it does not make logical sense.

Lawyer Fee : 2.2 K. Their service is worthy. Make sure the firm is in your bank approve shortlist.

Stamp Duties : 29 K. May varies with individual condition. So check up with your agent and lawyer.


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