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Learn How To Negotiate For The Best Price When Purchasing a Resale HDB Flat

Posted by Jayson Ang on February 17, 2023
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Navigating the complexities of purchasing a resale HDB flat requires honing negotiation skills and market awareness. Understanding property valuations, seller motivations, and setting a realistic budget are key. Thorough research, strategic offers, and maintaining composure during negotiations are crucial. Remember, staying within your financial limits and being prepared to walk away if needed ensures a successful property purchase.

Are you considering buying a resale HDB flat?

Learn how to negotiate for the best price and get your dream home faster! Here are some pointers to help you sharpen your negotiation skills.

Are you tired of waiting for a BTO flat? If you want a roof over your head fast, buying a resale HDB flat is your best bet.

When you enter the resale HDB market with the intent to purchase, you’ll find yourself in the tricky situation of having to haggle with the seller or their agent to get to a mutually beneficial price.

It can take some hard work to get to a reasonable deal, and it’s not like you’re at the wet market!

If your negotiating skills are a bit rusty, no need to worry – we’ve got the perfect solution to help you reach an agreement without breaking your budget.

Leave your feelings aside and let’s explore the nuances of successfully negotiating an offer!

How To Offer The Right Price

How To Negotiate Property Price Like A Pro

  • Be well-informed when entering the discussion, consider the seller’s reasons for wanting to sell, come to a reasonable agreement, and stay calm, but be ready to back out if necessary.

How To Offer The Right Price

#1 Do Your Market Research 

As a keen buyer, it can be tricky to make the right move when purchasing a resale flat.

Setting the price too low could lead to a complete loss of the deal and too high could be costly.

To get the best possible outcome and not waste any money, it is vital to do the necessary research by comparing prices within the property’s estate.

This can take some time, but it is worth it for two main reasons: getting an insight on how competitive the area is and determining whether the asking price is in line with past transactions.

Gathering an understanding of the market price range can be the first step in your negotiations – knowing your lowest and highest offer will set you up for success.

To get a clearer idea, it’s a good idea to check the past resale prices of units within 200 metres of your desired block on the HDB website.

#2 Get To Know The Shortlisted Property

When considering a property, it’s important to take market trends and past transactions into account; however, the property you have your eye on may even be more expensive if it boasts exceptional features.

In fact, some properties are so desirable that they can even sell for a million dollars!

Features such as prime location, close proximity to an MRT station or the CBD, a spacious layout, major renovations, a long balance lease, a high floor, and corner units are all desirable attributes that may lead to a premium purchase.

As a potential buyer, it’s essential to determine if the property is in high demand as this could lead to a higher Cash Over Valuation (COV) – something you would prefer to be as low as possible.

#3 Set Your Budget

To ensure you don’t overextend your finances, make sure you know your budget and price limit.

When looking at a more expensive property, what is your highest comfort level when it comes to COV?

It’s no secret that HDB flats in mature estates have a high COV range from $10,000 to $40,000.

Don’t forget that you need to pay for COV completely in cash, and it is not covered by your mortgage or CPF. If the seller is pushing for a cost that exceeds your budget, it’s time to move on.

Living in your dream home might seem like the ultimate goal, but are you willing to sacrifice your lifestyle to make the mortgage payments?

Think twice before taking the plunge – it might not be worth it in the end.

How To Negotiate Property Price Like A Pro

#1 Go Into The Discussion Prepared

It’s just like going into a battlefield unarmed – you shouldn’t attend a negotiation without doing your market research beforehand!

To get started, have a look at the HDB Resale Flat Prices page to see the prices of similar properties in the area. Property sites also have indicative pricing tools to give you a rough estimate of the property’s worth.

With this data, you can use the insights to put together a strong offer.

What Happens If HDB’s Valuation Is Lower Than Your Purchase Price?

Once you and the flat owner agree on the price and you are granted the option to purchase.

For example, let’s say the agreed price is S$550,000, but HDB’s valuation turns out to be S$500,000.

In that case, you would have to pay the difference of S$50,000 (aka COV) in cash.

#2 Find Out The Owner’s Motivation To Sell 

Having gained experience in the property market, you can tell a lot about a seller by the persona they present – it’s a great way to find out whether they’re serious about the sale and in a hurry to close it.

Empty nesters looking to downsize, for example, likely won’t be so rushed and may just be trying out the process.

However, there are also those with an urgent need to make a sale, or whose home may not be quite as attractive as others.

By asking the right questions, you can quickly uncover if you have the upper hand when negotiating.

One useful hint is to find out how long the listing has been active – if it’s been lingering for a while, it’s likely that the seller has difficulty closing the deal, giving you a chance to bargain.

#3 Arrive At A Fair Price

Be prepared for some negotiating with the seller as they may not be keen to agree to your first offer.

But, the big question remains – how much should you offer for the property? Is the unit you’re interested in a particularly sought-after one, with many potential buyers?

In this case, it is even more essential to be well-informed and to have done your research into the property market – this will help you to decide whether to start your offer below or above the asking price.

One can assume that the majority of owners hope to gain a good profit from the sale in order to afford their next property.

However, your investigations may lead you to find that the sale price they are asking for is greater than the estimated value of the flat. A smart way to deal with this is to take the estimated value and add the maximum COV that you are comfortable paying.

Remember, you are your own advocate in this process, so it would be extremely beneficial for you to establish a rapport with the seller’s agent.

This will allow you to gain insight into critical information such as the lowest price the owner is willing to accept, or if there are any other offers on the table – both of which will help you make the best bid.

Here’s a tip: Instead of immediately revealing your maximum offer, start low and incrementally increase your bid as the negotiation progresses. Always keep in mind not to go over your top dollar.

#4 Keep Your Cool But Back Out If Required

When buying a resale HDB flat, things can get complicated – negotiations can either go smoothly or you could find yourself facing an excessively high selling price.

In such cases, no matter how attractive the home may seem, it’s best to walk away.

Be aware that the housing market is vast and there will always be another property that meets your needs and, most importantly, your budget.

Remember, as a buyer you must remain clear-headed and level-headed during negotiations as to not be left disappointed in the event the deal falls through.

Above all, stay mindful of your loan repayments, for that should always be your primary focus.

Read these next:

Should You Buy, Sell or Wait?

If you’re reading this, you must be trying to figure out the best course of action right now: is it the right time to buy or sell?

It’s difficult to give an exact answer since everyone’s situation is unique and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

I can bring you a wealth of on-the-ground experience and a data-driven approach to provide clarity and direction. From beginners to experienced investors, our top-down, objective approach will help you on your real estate journey.

I can help you by:

  1. Offering Strategic Real Estate Advice – I can help create a comprehensive plan to guide you through your property journey.
  2. Connecting Your Home with the Perfect Buyers – Through stunning visuals, an effective communication strategy, and an in-depth knowledge of the market, we’ll ensure your home is presented in the best possible way to fulfill your goals.

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