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Should I Buy a Condo or EC as a First Timer?

Updated: Jan 24

If you are planning to purchase the latest condo launch in Singapore, here are everything that you must learn about financing, eligibility requirements, and the entire process of ensuring a successful Executive Condo buying experience.

We’ve recently published the many reasons of HBD upgrade to EC and concluded that if you are a Singaporean citizen who is meets eligibility requirements to buy one, then this investment should be a top priority before considering other SG private properties.

Step 1- Determine the eligibility requirements to successfully purchase an Executive Condo

As you may know, Executive Condominiums (EC) are a popular housing option for Singaporeans. But if you’re looking to purchase an EC, what do you need to know?

From age requirements to income caps, let’s look at the eligibility criteria that must be met to successfully purchase an EC.

  • Singapore Citizens looking to apply for a property together must meet specific requirements. The primary applicant should be at least 21 years old, while the co-applicant may either be an SC or SPR. For joint singles applicants above 35, both sides need to have Singaporean citizenship; and those applying under Fiancé/Fiancee Scheme must gain consent from parents/guardians if under 18.

  • The household income ceilings for ECs are tiered depending on whether you’re applying as a single or joint applicant. For single applicants, your gross monthly household income cannot exceed $14,000. For joint applicants (including both spouses), your household income cannot exceed $16,000.

  • For those applying under the Orphans Scheme or Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, both of which are designed to help special groups. The maximum gross monthly household income is capped at $21,000 and $18,000 respectively.

  • If you have not previously owned any residential property in Singapore or sold one within the past two and a half years, then your application will be considered.

  • Applicants must not have acquired more than one HDB property through the Design, Build and Sell Scheme or Executive Condominium. Any existing mortgages on other properties must be paid off using cash proceeds from selling those properties before applying for an EC.

Keep in mind that these criteria may change over time so it’s important to check in with your local HDB office before applying for an

If you are unqualified for an Executive Condominium purchase, you may want to explore other housing options such as HDB resale flats, private condos, or landed properties. Do your due diligence and find out what criteria determines whether one of these is suitable for you. After all the last thing any buyer wants are hidden fees that come at a nasty surprise when it's too late.

Step 2- Look at financing options for an Executive Condominium purchase

Upgrading from a HDB to an Executive Condominium (EC) can be a daunting task, and it can be difficult to find the right one that fits your needs and budget. Before you start searching through listings, there are a few key points you should consider first.

The most important of these is calculating the highest amount that you can purchase an EC. Understanding this number will help ensure that you don’t end up in over your head trying to finance an EC that is out of your budget.

The Down Payment

Buying an Executive Condominium (EC) requires making a significant down payment, think 25% of your desired property's worth. That means if you're eyeing an EC priced at $1 million, be prepared to shell out the hefty sum of $250,000. Now that stings when considering committing to such a large financial purchase.

Home Loan

Planning for an HBD upgrade to EC? Don't just settle with the first bank you approach. Doing your research and comparing interest rates from different banks will ensure you get a great deal on your home loan. There are many reputable Singaporean banks offering competitive rates. Take some time out to find one that suits all your needs best.

MAS Limits

The Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) states that your monthly mortgage payment cannot take up more than 30% of your total combined income, while the Total Debt Service Ratio (TDSR) prevents other loans and debts such as car payments or student debt from surpassing 60%. Following these guidelines will ensure an affordable, responsible approach when applying for any kind of loan!

Additional Costs

Before you commit to buying an EC, remember there are additional costs beyond the purchase price. These include legal fees ($2K) and a valuation fee of $200 for new homes. Plus, don't forget about Buyer Stamp Duty – 3% (or 4%, depending on your budget), calculated as a percentage of the total cost. Make sure these expenses fit into your plan before signing off!

Step 3- List down upcoming launches of new Executive Condo

Once you have determined you meet all the eligibility requirements to buy an Executive Condominium (EC), you may then proceed to narrowing your search. You can check out HDB’s website for current and upcoming EC projects, or consider other housing options, including resale ECs and private condominiums. But how do you know which one is right for you? Here are some tips on how to shortlist the right EC for your needs.

Research Thoroughly

The best way to narrow down the right EC for you is by doing your research. Check out reviews of different developments and know additional information about the location. That way, you can decide if it’s a good fit in terms of transportation, amenities, schools, etc. Additionally, make sure to check out potential resale ECs from previous launches to get an idea of what other buyers have experienced with certain developments.

Book an Appointment

If you are looking to book a unit at an upcoming launch, make sure to contact the developer beforehand and ask about the required documents from buyers, such as NRICs, proof of relationship to co-applicant(s), and proof of income to make booking smoother. Some developers may even require that you make an appointment online before coming over so they can ensure social distancing measures are observed when showing their showroom units.

Be Flexible with Your Budget

When it comes time to choose between new Executive Condo launches versus resale units or private condominiums versus public housing developments, be flexible with your budget and don’t be afraid to consider different options outside of what you had initially planned for. Depending on available inventory and market conditions at any given moment, some locations may have more favorable prices than others based on what is currently available in the market.

As soon as you decide on a unit, it’s time to get an Option to Purchase (OTP) from the developer. This document states that for a certain period, the developer cannot sell your preferred EC unit to other parties. To obtain the OTP, you’ll need to pay 5% of the purchase price in cash or cheque. At this stage, no CPF grants can be considered or utilized.

After approval by the HDB on your application to buy an EC unit, which takes approximately one month, you will receive a Sales and Purchase Agreement from the developer. You will have 21 days after receiving the Sales and Purchase Agreement (S&P Agreement) to act on your right of purchase by signing and mailing back this document.

Once you sign and mail back the S&P agreement, it's time to pay your down payment of 20%, plus any applicable Buyer’s Stamp Duty fees. These payments must be made using either HDB housing grants, CPF monies, or cash.

Once you've received the green light from HDB, it's time to get your finances in order. Applying for a mortgage loan is essential if there are remaining payment obligations associated with purchasing an EC unit - and don't forget those legal fees which may also come up during paperwork signing.

Step 4- Knowing your Post-Purchase Requirements

Buying an Executive Condominium (EC) can be a huge expense, and it's important to understand the post-purchase requirements, especially if you plan on taking out a loan. Knowing the difference between the Normal Payment Scheme and the Deferred Payment Scheme can help you make the best decision for your financial situation.

The Normal Payment Scheme offers an early start on your home loan repayment timeline. This unique scheme allows you to take advantage of additional time for saving up towards the purchase of a property, without having worry about those pesky repayments just yet! However, if more lead-up time is needed then this may not be the best choice, so explore all options before making that final decision.

Homeowners who opt for the Deferred Payment Scheme can delay starting their loan payments until they take possession of their keys. However, since all upfront costs must be paid before collecting those same keys, homeowners should ensure that enough savings are set aside to cover them.

Congratulations on your new home! Finding a place to live and feeling settled is an incredible feeling, especially after securing the keys. And now that you’re the rightful owner of this abode, feel free to kick off your renovations right away if needed.

When it comes to finding an executive condo in Singapore, MOP Upgraders are the team to trust. Founded by JJ Wong, a real estate specialist with six years of experience, MOP offers comprehensive strategic consulting to assist buyers looking for value and excellence. Knowing inside out the real estate and MOP upgrading market in Singapore, you can expect top-notch advice that helps you make an informed decision and a successful purchase. Whether you are purchasing your first property or plan to invest in the latest condo launch in Singapore, look no further than MOP Upgraders. Our expertise will ensure a smooth purchase process and financial security for years to come.


We understand that financial planning can be a daunting task, and we're here to simplify it for you speak with us.

If you have a plan in mind but not sure if it works well – do share with us or let us know.

We will do our best to assist you to make sure you look at your plan from multiple angles and ensure you have a very clear picture on what’s going on.

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