Are you planning to buy your first property in Singapore but with the unaffordable price of an HDB flat, you cannot afford to buy one just yet. You tried checking online for HDB, such as HDB Woodlands, but they are expensive as well and it would be a financial burden for you if you were to buy it. There are so many things that you need to know as a first time homebuyer. Especially when there will be many upcoming expenses that you have spend on if you were to buy an HDB flat. With so many factors to consider before buying your first HDB flat, this article will guide you through some tips on how to spend less on your first HDB flat.
- Plan ahead and apply for a build to order (BTO) flat
It is totally understandable that waiting is a long process and everyone dreads waiting for something. What more to say waiting for at least 1 year for your BTO to complete. If there is an option, everybody would go for ready made flat instead of waiting for the BTO to complete. And that is what makes a resale HDB flat more expensive than BTO flat. For example, the average price of a resale flat located in Sembawang would cost $435,000 whereas a 4 bedrooms BTO flat would cost so much cheaper at only $260,000. As for prime area such as Bedok, the average price of a resale flat in bedok would cost $630,000 whereas a 4 bedrooms BTO in the vicinity would cost only $435,000. Therefore, do plan ahead so you do not have to turn to resale flats when you need a place on your own.
- Choose a less prime area
Check out the neighbourhood. An HDB flat located in a non matured estate is much cheaper than an HDB flat located in prime area, even with the same size. If you want to spend lesser on your first HDB flat, consider getting HDB flat in non matured estates. You will be surprised at how much money you can save by choose an HDB flat in a non matured estate. In the launch of Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) in May 2016, a 5 bedrooms flat in Ang Mo Kio is priced at $515,000 onwards, whereas the flatin Sembawang is only priced at $313,000, before grants. That is a 40% less, or a total of $200,000 difference in price.Although non matured estates are located slightly further from the central business district, public transportations are easily accessible. There are buses, MRT stations and taxis as well. Furthermore, there will be extra lines and stops in the future for MRT.
- Apply for grant
There are also HDB Grants available for people buying their first BTO flat. Check for the eligibility before applying for these grant. You can start looking for grant available from Special Housing Grant (SHG) and Additional Housing Grant (AHG). SHG is a housing subsidy that covers both the low and middle income families with grant ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, subject to buyer’s income. As for the AHG, it is a scheme that aims to help Singaporeans with lower income to purchase their first flat with grant ranging from $5,000 to $40,000, subject to buyer’s income as well. To qualify for an AHG grant, your household income should not exceed $5,000 per month, for a period of 12 months before your application for the flat. Do note that the time to wait is approximately 2 months to 3 months between the period of successful ballot and flat choosing
- Choose the size that is suitable
Be realistic and tay within your budget. Choose a size that is suitable for you so you do not get yourself into financial burden. Consider the number of people that will be staying in a unit before deciding on the size of the flat. A 3 bedrooms flat will be sufficient if there are 3 people staying in a flat. Let’s say if you plan to have two children in the future, a 4 bedrooms flat sounds perfect. You may also be qualified for the Special Housing Grant (SHG) if you buy a 4 bedrooms or smaller BTO flat in a non matured estate. After all, you can always upgrade in the future when you are more financially stable.
- Save on interest
Your first HDB flat should not be treated as an investment. Most people treat their first HDB flat as an investment, thinking that they could make a profit in the future, therefore bought a bigger flat. However, there is no guarantee that you are able to sell your flat for a profit. The only thing for sure is that you will be paying more interest, as the bigger amount of loan you secure, the more interest you will need to pay. Hence, choose the right size for your HDB flat.
- Do not overspend on renovation
The amoung that you spent on renovation is non recoverable. It is different from spending on furniture as you can bring along your furniture when you move to a new place in the future. It is very unlikely that the future buyer will pay you more just because you spent a huge sum in renovating your flat. Hence, it is advisable to keep your renovation budget low. Set a budget that makes you comfortable, especially when you have already spent such a huge sum in buying a flat and paying for other expenses. Setting a budget is also one of the ways to prevent yourself from overspending on renovation costs. Opt for loose furniture instead of built in furniture as built in furniture tend to be on a pricier side. Loose furniture are also easy to bring along if you move out in the future. In conclusion, HDB flats in Singapore are built to suit the budget and needs of the citizen. Do think rationally, stay realistic and stay within your budget to prevent yourself from spending unnecessarily. After all, you have already spent so much on your HDB flat and you do not want to regret later on thinking that you could have done things differently