Friday, June 27, 2014

NS12 Canberra station confirmed

As expected, the NS12 station between Yishun and Sembawang will be built, as confirmed by Transport Minister Tuck Yew today. Even the station name, Canberra, was as expected.

Good news to all those who were successful for the BTO launch around that area.

It is time to push the government to build the Brickland station, which is between Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Gombak, especially those who were waiting to collect their keys to the BTO projects around that area.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

HDB Resale - DIY Buyer

If you are selling your HDB apartment, you may need to the services of an agent that has the customer base needed to market your property. 

If you are buying a resale flat, you may also need the services of an agent to help you source out the type of apartment you are looking for.

However, you can do away with engaging an agent if you know what you need to do because HDB has provided all the necessary tools for you to DIY and almost everything can be done online.

Below are the steps on how to DIY when buying a resale HDB flat.

1. Check your eligibility to purchase

You have to ensure that you are eligible in the first place. Basic eligibility condition are:

- one family member must be a Singapore citizen or PR
- applicants must be 21 years or older.

Below are the Eligibility schemes to buy a Resale Flat

2. Get a

..if you don't already have. This is a must as all online applications will require you to log in using your SingPass. In fact, agents themselves will ask for your SingPass to submit on your behalf.

3. Apply for a HLE or get a bank Approval-In-Principal (AIP)

Click here to check your if you are eligibile for a HDB Concessionary loan where the income limit is as follows:

- $10,000@ for families*
- $15,000@ for extended families*
- $5,000@ for singles buying a 5-room or smaller resale flat or 2-room new flat in non-mature estate under Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) scheme

All applicants must submit a soft copy of income sources. Details of what is required can be obtained here. Basically you will need a scan copy of your payslip, CPF contribution, bank book, ACRA, IRAS depending on your employment type.

There is no income ceiling for bank loans

You need to get this settled first for two reasons

- you need to do you maths
- sellers will generally only issue an OTP to those who already obtained a HLE or AIP. This is to save time and prevent buyers from holding on to OTP but end up unable to exercise due to loan issues.

4. Do your CALCULATION. 

This is a critical part of the whole process actually because if you get this wrong, everything else can go very wrong. You will end up with your money, time and effort wasted while causing sellers a whole lot of frustration when the deal cannot go through.

Below is the basic maths that you need to do.

(Eligible Loan amout + CPF OA balance + CASH in hand)  - STAMP FEES = PROPERTY YOU CAN PURCHASE.

You also have to take note of how much is the maximum monthly installment stated in the HLE to determine the actual loan amount you are eligible for.

You can check your CPF balance here

You can work out the stamp fees here

As a guide,

- work out a monthly installment where the amount do not go over your monthly CPF OA contribution. This is to prevent you from having to top up in cash.
- loan period ends on or before you reach 55 years old.

5. Scout for your dream apartment.

First of all, UNDERSTAND THE MARKET to know what and where are the properties that you can purchase. Basically a more central location means you have to sacrifice on the size as it is more expensive per sqm. For the same amount you spend on a 3 room flat in a central location can actually purchase you a 5 room or even Executive apartment in an ulu area.

You can use a few popular sites to search for your apartment namely

I used to love using TISPROPERTY because it actually consolidates all those sites mentioned above in one site. However, they have shut down their operations,

Dear friends, to better optimise our resources and be more focused on our Australia market, it is with deep regret we...
Posted by Tisproperty on Thursday, October 30, 2014

6. Arrange for viewing

Call the agents in the ads and arrange for viewing. Ask about the price and the Ethnic Integration Policy and SPR Quota applicable to the apartment you intend to view. This is important so that you do not waste your time on viewing an apartment which you cannot purchase.

Take your time to view and weigh all the options like how much renovation you will need to spend on etc.

7. Obtain an Option To Purchase (OTP)

If you like an apartment that you have viewed, get an estimate of how much a property is worth by checking the recent resale price here. This is important because if you do not want to involve any COV (cash over valuation), make sure the price you plan to offer the seller will not be more than what it will be officially valued for.

Once you have set a price, negotiate with the seller. Once both of you have come to an agreement, get them to grant you with an Option To Purchase by placing an Option Fee (between $1 to a max of $1k.  Usually all sellers will ask for $1k). 

Download the copy of the OTP here. Print only one copy of the OTP as each form has a unique serial number. You must state the serial number of the OTP when you submit a resale application to the HDB

As a buyer, you need not sign the OTP. Only the sellers need to have it signed.

Once you have been granted the Option from the sellers, they cannot grant another Option to another buyer until the Option granted expires in 21 days. You can also make use of this period to make your final decision to purchase the property before you exercise the OTP.

8. Submit a Buyer's Checklist

The checklist must be completed and submitted online to the HDB before you can exercise the Option to Purchase. 

9. Request for a valuation

Once you have the OTP, you can request for a valuation. Arrange with the seller on when is it a convenient time for the surveyor appointed by HDB to valuate their apartment. If the seller are genuine, they would want to have it done as soon as possible. 

As of March 2014, only buyers or their agents can request for a valuation.

The cost is as below.

Flat TypeSoftcopy Valuation Report
1 & 2-roomS$133.05
3-room & largerS$191.90

Figure is correct at time of publishing. You can refer to the latest cost from the link above

After the valuation report is obtained, you will know if there will be Cash Over Valuation (COV) that you will need to top up with cash.

If the valuation is lower than the offer price that you gave the seller, that means you will have to top up the difference with cash

10. Get the Letter of Offer from the bank

If you are taking a bank loan, it is mandatory to obtain a Letter of Offer from the bank BEFORE exercising the OTP. You will need to provide the property and valuation details to the bank for the generation of the Letter of Offer.

11. Exercise the OTP

Once you have decided to go ahead to purchase the apartment, you can exercise the OTP by signing on it. Normally, you will need another $4k to complete the OTP making it a total of $5k. This amount will go towards the deposit for the apartment.

If you do not wish to proceed with the OTP, you need not do anything but wait for it to lapse (in 21 days). You will have to forfeit the Option Fee and the sellers may keep the Option Fee.

12. Agree on the first appointment date

This date has to be agreed by both parties and can be booked by the later party during the submission his portion of the resale application.

You can check out the available dates from the link above.

13. Submit your resale application

Once your have exercised the OTP, you can submit the application. You will need

- Resale Flat address
- Option to Purchase details that you and sellers have executed
- Resale Checklist Serial Number

- Personal Particulars of all buyers/occupiers

Application cost is as below

Flat TypeAdministrative Fee
payable by buyer and by seller
1 & 2-roomS$30
3-room & largerS$60

Both parties must submit their application within 7 days of each other. The later party to submit their application gets to book the first appointment date.

14. Attend First Appointment

For the first appointment, you will need to provide all the necessary documentation BOTH the original and photocopy like NRIC, marriage cert, birth cert etc. The letter from HDB will state what is required to be brought along for the first appointment.

You will also need to pay certain fees which you can calculated in Step 4.

15. Attend Second Appointment

Your second appointment date will also be set during the first appointment. Usually it is 6 weeks after the first appointment and 8 weeks for sellers who are doing contra.

Apart from some fees, that is all and you can collect the keys from the seller to your new apartment!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Health Shield plans - the unique pull factor

I was reading up on the different health shield plans offered by the different insurance companies and Aviva's MyShield plan caught my attention with its -

Free medical cover for your children2
Designed to provide comprehensive medical coverage for your family, MyShield is the only integrated Shield plan in Singapore to provide free medical coverage for your children (up to 20 years old at Age Next Birthday), as long as both you and your spouse are covered under MyShield’s Plan 1 or 2. So you can enjoy cost savings while your family enjoys comprehensive healthcare protection.

I did a comparison to see if there will be savings if I were to switch from my current PruShield to Aviva's MyShield. Based on the current premiums, and with two kids for now, I will be saving approximately $129 annually, even though MyShield premiums are mostly higher than PruShield.

Age Next Birthday
PRUshield A plus
MyShield Plan 2
1 - 20
21 - 30
31 - 40
41 - 45
46 - 50
51 - 55
56 - 60 *
61 - 65 *
66 - 70 *
71 - 73 *
74 - 75 *

This site has a pretty good comparison of all the different plan offered by the different insurance companies, although the data is about a year old and may be outdated.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WELS Water Rating Label on a locally unavailable product

I am currently looking to buy a washing machine and the water saving feature is high on the requirement list. So naturally I head to the related agencies website, PUB specifically, for such information.

A list of registered products was made available and one of them caught my attention.

However, I was not able to find this particular model locally, not even with the help of the mighty Google. The manufacturer local website contain no information either. So I emailed the manufacturer and they too confirmed this.

Subject: RE: BD-W85SV
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:59:10 +0000

Dear Azhar,

Thanks for your email.

Unfortunately we do not sell this model BD-W85SV locally.
Please contact us if you need further assistances.


Question now is

- why is this included in PUB list when it is not available locally?
- how did this model obtained a WELS rating by PUB?

PUB requirements states that

"To qualify for a WELS Water Rating Label, the product must meet the relevant test standards and requirements, and water efficiency requirements stipulated by PUB. 
A water fitting or appliance is deemed to comply with the stipulated standards if it is certified or tested by a conformity assessment body (product certification body/testing laboratory) accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) (opens in new window) or its Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) partners."

Which means that SAC could not have tested this product, therefore it must have been included in the list through tests done by MRA partners. However, the link provided above is broken

With the help of mighty Google, I found this link instead which explains that accreditation done by other bodies can also be relied on.

That's fair. Nothing wrong with that.

So I am not contesting the accuracy of the test. I just feel that PUB should not copy and paste blindly and instead should have sieve through the list and only include products that can be purchased locally.

I emailed PUB earlier on the 16th of April 2014 with a feedback not related to this product specifically. I don't think emailing them again with another feedback will receive any attention.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Legs are like pillars to a house

An old Chinese man came on board the train and stood beside me in front of the reserved seat. The girl on the seat did not notice him hence did not offer it to him.

I did what I normally do in situations such as this which is to ask the old man if he needs the seat. If he do need the seat, I will ask the girl to give it up. He said no, and that started a two station long worth of conversation.

He said that he prefers to stand as he can have the whole day to sit down and that sitting down too much is bad for an 80 years old man like him. He told me a saying by a Malay friend of his which goes something like this.

"Kaki kita macam tiang rumah. Kalau tiang tak kuat, rumah akan roboh"

(he spoke in Malay, which is a rarity now. Mostly only our pioneer generation can mostly speak Malay, regardless of race)


"Our legs are like pillars of a house. Weak pillars will cause the house to collapse"

He went on to tell me how he will try to keep active by walking around and I commended him for doing the right thing, which is what most able old folks should be doing instead of being coup up at home.

He left with this advice

"Without our health, all the money in the world means nothing"

Thanks old man. Wish you the best of health and may you have a meaningful life in your twilight years.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

HDB reverts back to building bigger 5 room units

The latest BTO for Punggol Bayview was a surprise as some units on sale gave hints that maybe HDB is reverting back its policy and will build bigger 5 rooms unit.

Below are the two layouts that is bigger than the current standard 110 sqm we are used to.$file/fur.htm

(Inclusive of Internal Floor Area 118 sqm 
and Air-Con Ledge)

(Inclusive of Internal Floor Area 119 sqm 
and Air-Con Ledge)