For most of us, securing a property is one of the biggest milestones that we would want to achieve in our lives. It gives us a sense of accomplishment to know that we have a roof over our heads – whether it means owning our own home or just renting one. However, it’s definitely easier said than done.
In Singapore, things seem to be on a brighter side due to the variety of options and schemes that are available to cater to everyone, except for those who are unmarried or LGBT. If you fall in any of these categories, then things can be quite challenging for you as most housing policies are skewed towards traditional family units and a married couple.
In fact, LGBT couples and families are not considered a family unit under the Housing Development Board’s (HDB) policies, hence they’re not eligible to apply for bigger Built-to-Order (BTO) flats or obtain any relevant government subsidies. This is just one of the classic examples of how tough it can be for them to get hold of a property.
Despite its sets of challenges, there are certain ways that these groups can keep in mind if they want to secure a home on their own. Having said that, here are four tips that property seekers can follow in order for them to have a seamless and enjoyable home-buying journey.
Look at different government housing schemes and loans that are applicable to you
When it comes to purchasing a property, most of us will have to rely on government housing schemes and loans to help us out. Not all of us have a large amount of disposable income to be thrown to finance our property purchase, especially if you’re a young couple or just started building your savings.
As such, if you’re unmarried and in the hunt to acquire a HDB flat or Executive Condominium (EC), then it’s probably best that you consider availing schemes by HDB like Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS) and JJoint Singles Scheme (JSC).
The former is meant solely for singles while the latter is for joint ownership for up to two to four single Singaporeans, and applicants can choose to purchase either new or resale flats.
In terms of qualifying for these schemes, it’s important to note that you will need to be at least 35 years old and older, as well as be a first-time buyer to take advantage of the S$20,000 to S$25,000 in grants given by HDB.
Although there are no restrictions on the size of a resale flat, if you’re thinking of getting a new place (BTO), 2-room Flexi units at non-mature estates are your best shot.
Even with the grant, if you’re buying a property, then it’s wise that you have enough savings and a sound financial plan that covers you for months ahead. This is crucial given that you don’t have a partner’s income to fall back on to tide through rainy periods. Here are some methods you can follow so you don’t end up in financial stress:
- Have enough fund to sustain yourself, especially in case of emergencies or unexpected loss of job/income.
- Central Provident Fund (CPF) is also a key factor – understand how much you have in your CPF account and get an assessment done for loan eligibility.
- To calculate your mortgage repayment, you can use PropertyGuru’s Mortgage Repayment Calculator. As a guide, your mortgage payments should not exceed 30 per cent of your monthly salary.
- Try also the PropertyGuru Affordability Calculator to check the maximum property affordability based on the current government regulations and property cooling measures.
Consider private house
In the case your minimum age, unit type and policies are hindering you from owning your dream house, condominiums are a great alternative depending on your available funds. However, you should keep in mind that private properties often come with hidden costs like monthly maintenance fees and transportation costs, which might add up if public transportation is not easily accessible.
However, if you think your preferred private property is located in an isolated location now, then look out for upcoming projects and future government plans for the area so you will have an idea on how the vicinity may be equipped and valued at in the future. Try checking out PropertyGuru’s AreaInsider to scout through different areas in Singapore.
Renting is another option
We understand that purchasing a property can be overwhelming for a lot of people. It’s a long-term commitment that comes with a hefty price tag. This is why renting a place is another option. Another plus point of renting is that you can look for a place that is convenient for you – nearer to public transportation or located in the city.
But, if you rent a home with friends or strangers, most people think that they will need to compromise on their privacy, but they’re wrong. Here are ways you can rent a place without sacrificing your privacy:
- If you’re single or unmarried, look at which room would work best for you. Although a master bedroom can be slightly pricier, it offers more privacy as you don’t have to share the bathroom with other tenants.
- Keep in mind the position of your room as it is best to avoid corridor-facing rooms and flats close to the lift. This is to prevent passer-by from seeing what is happening inside the house.
- If you can stagger financial investments, then you may opt to rent a fully furnished flat with like-minded, similar-aged individuals to share costs. Also, avoid buying expensive furniture or appliances when first getting your own space.
Be sure to always read through the tenancy agreement and negotiate the terms before the commencement of a rental lease. Always take your time to fully understand the clauses of the lease period, especially the exit clauses in case your contract is terminated. Remember there’s no turning back after signing the deal!
Besides that, ensure that you’re protected and compensated sufficiently in case of unexpected lease termination by the owner. However, if you’re buying a private property with friends, do keep in mind whether it’s joint tenancy or tenancy in common which determines survivorship rights and other terms.
There you have it – four tips for LGBT people and singles to take the big step of securing a property in Singapore. Happy hunting and good luck!