The first step to any successful property transaction is in the calculation. A well-evaluated financial plan will ensure that you have considered all the costs and essential components before deriving the decision to sell and at what price. While selling properties in Singapore can be highly profitable, this is not always the case for all sellers. For example, there are myriad costs involved in the selling process, and by overlooking these costs can result in a misguided calculation of your sales proceeds. With that in mind, what are the costs associated with property sales that homeowners must consider?
Costs of Selling Your Home
Most homeowners are aware that they won't end up receiving their home's entire sale price in cash. For example, many homeowners financed their initial purchase with a home loan. To the extent that they have an outstanding home loan balance, they will have to repay this amount using their sale proceeds. However, repaying a housing loan is just the start of costs for those selling their homes. Here are other significant costs to consider.
Taxes & Fees
In Singapore, there are many taxes and fees associated with selling one's home. For example, the Seller's Stamp Duty, property taxes, as well as fees specific to HDB flats. Use our table as a guide before calculating your estimated proceeds.
CPF Ordinary Account Funds & Accrued Interest
Additionally, utilised CPF fund and accrued interest are two important components to take note when forecasting sales proceeds of properties. The basic principle is – what is taken from the CPF OA must be paid back with interest once the property is sold. Home sellers must be mindful about these components because they will eat into the cash proceeds. Homeowners can log into their CPF account with their SingPass to check on the total amount of CPF funds that will be refunded to their CPF OA upon the sale of their property.
Other Costs to Consider
In addition to the fees and taxes listed above, there are other costs that certain homeowners must consider. For example, many individuals choose to renovate their home before their sale, in order to increase the property's value. These renovations vary in cost depending on the scope of the project. With that said, it is safe to assume a cost of at least a few thousand dollars for minor projects, and even more for more significant upgrades.
Additionally, anyone leaving their home can expect to pay a few hundred dollars in moving costs. For those that hire a team of movers, this can quickly rise to as much as S$1,000 - S$2,000 depending on the amount of belongings you need to move.
Examples of Property Sales Costs
To help readers visualise the cost of selling their homes, we've detailed two example scenarios. In the first case, we take a look at the costs associated with selling a private condo. As you can see, the cash proceeds can be significantly diminished by these various costs. This is especially true for those with a large home loan balance remaining at the time of their sale.
In the scenario above, it is important to note that SSD can be a hefty cost, which should be avoided by consumers trying to get the highest return from their property sale. SSD is a property-related tax that was imposed by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) as a cooling measure to discourage individuals from flipping properties. The best way to avoid the SSD is to fulfil the minimum occupancy period before selling your property.
Property agent commission fees are another significant cost that can eat into your sales proceeds. Traditionally, this has been an unavoidable cost, but in recent years proptech companies have entered the market to provide cheaper alternatives to sellers to market their properties.
In the next scenario, we imagine an HDB flat owner who wants to sell his/her property after the minimum occupancy period (MOP), but has an outstanding HDB upgrading fee and a resale levy to pay.
HDB homeowners should pay special attention to the HDB Resale Levy if they have taken HDB grants in the past. The resale levy will vary depending on ownership type (families or singles) and housing type. Importantly, this cost must be factored into the sales proceed calculation because it can only be paid in cash or sales proceeds.
The Devil Is in the Details
Calculating sales proceeds is no small matter because any slip-up not only affects one’s financial status but will also affect the financing for the next residential home. Besides using this article as a guide, seeking advice from an experienced agent, mortgage advisor or your conveyancing lawyer can clarify doubts and help sellers make informed decisions.