Landed residential houses are one of the most highly sought-after property types in Singapore. Most of the time, these properties are exclusive to Singapore citizens and are typically purchased by the upper classes. However, there are some situations where foreigners and permanent residents of Singapore might be able to buy a landed property. According to the Residential Property Act, a ‘foreigner’ refers to any person who is not a permanent resident of Singapore or a Singapore citizen, along with any foreign companies. Individuals or companies in this category are typically restricted from purchasing landed residential property without approval from the Controller of Residential property.
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Exceptions for Buying a Landed Property as a Foreigner
There are some criteria that will need to be met if you are a foreigner who wants to buy a landed house in Singapore. If you meet the criteria, you can use Property Guru to search for houses for sale. Property Guru is the top property search site for Singapore and Malaysia and is recommended by experts for finding a range of different property types. The criteria that must be fulfilled include:
- You must be a permanent resident of Singapore
- You must contribute to the economic benefit of Singapore
- You must have skills, qualifications, or experience that provide benefit or value to Singapore’s economy
How to Apply for Approval
If you meet the above criteria as a foreigner, you will be able to apply for approval to buy a landed property in Singapore. You can do this by:
- Filling out Form A
- Paying a non-refundable application fee of $900 to Singapore Land Authority
- Submitting Form A to Singapore Land Authority Land Dealings along with any supporting documents required
The application process will typically take around three months. Once you have gained approval, you will need to agree to only using the property as a personal residence. Properties cannot be used as an investment or for any income-generating purposes. The approval in principle will be valid for six months from the approval date.
What to Check Before Buying a Landed Property
Once you have been approved to purchase a landed property in Singapore as a foreigner, you will have six months from the approval date to find a suitable property and complete the purchase. Just like purchasing a home anywhere else in the world, there are several factors to consider and things to check before you decide on the right home for you. Some of the key things to check include:
Checking the foundation is important when buying a landed property. You may want to have a professional survey carried out to find out more about the condition of the foundation. Avoid buying any properties that are found to have a weak or otherwise damaged foundation since resolving foundation issues can be very time-consuming and expensive.
The roof of any house is an important component, and new roofs tend to have a lifespan of up to two decades in Singapore. Ideally, you should choose a landed property with a fairly new roof since fixing or replacing the roof is not going to be cheap.
If you are planning to purchase a landed property with a basement, bear in mind that there will be a higher risk of moisture and damp issues. Check for any leaks that might occur in cracks that could lead to mold growth over time.
Checking the plumbing system in the house is crucial before deciding if this is the right landed property for you. Check all pipes, faucets, water heaters and toilets to ensure that they are working correctly. If you are buying an older property with some land, examine the roots of trees and plants to check if they might be posting a risk to piping. Always check the sewage system – this is located underground and if there are problems, these can quickly become serious. Experts advise against purchasing a property with any sewage issues unless the owner is willing to resolve it before you complete the sale.
It’s always worth paying to have a professional check the electrical wiring of the home to make sure that it is safe. Check the house to test if all the electrical units and switches are working correctly. In some cases, you may just find simple wear and tear that can be easily rectified. However, a complete rewire or repair of more serious electrical wiring issues is often an expensive job if a professional will need to be brought in to do the work.
Buying a landed property is not easy for foreigners in Singapore, but it is possible if you meet the right criteria. If you have gained approval to buy a landed property, making sure that you get the most from your new home by checking the above aspects is important.