Singapore Property Glossary

Approval-In-Principle/In-Principle Approval
Approval-In-Principle (AIP) is a non-binding pre-approved loan amount given by the bank based on the credibility of the borrower. This amount indicates how much you will be able to borrow and is useful in helping you limit the type of homes you can afford. The AIP/IPA is typically valid for 30 days.

Bungalow / Detached House
A landed house standing in its own ground without sharing a common wall or roofing. Bungalows are largely built on a single level.

Cluster Housing
Cluster housing is a cross between conventional housing and a condominium. All properties have ground access but they also include a number of the facilities similar to those in condominiums. Strata Titles are included with Cluster Housing.

A condominium, or condo, refers to a residential home, usually a flat or apartment, which is individually owned while common areas are shared with each other. In Singapore the term is used to describe larger, more exclusive developments. A building is only granted condominium status when the total site area is greater than 40,000 sq ft. Communal facilities typically have a BBQ area, gymnasium, and a swimming pool. Most will also have their own security guards.

Conveyance Fee
A conveyance fee is incurred for the legal and administrative work involved with the transfer of the ownership of the property from one owner to another. The lawyer will check through the details of the contract, ensuring that there are no restrictions on the ownership transfer.

Corner Terrace House -
The house that completes a row of terrace houses. The corner terrace is generally semi-detached and has a larger land area compared to the other houses in the row.

Cul-De-Sac House -
A house that is situated in a Cul-De-Sac - a large turnaround dead-end road.

The Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) is something that is given by the Commissioner of Building Control once all building work has finished on a construction project and all legal requirements have been met. It signifies legal completion of the building and is more often than not allocated once the Temporary Occupation Permit has been issued.

The deposit or initial upfront payment you make when purchasing a property.

Early Redemption
An early redemption refers to the repayment of the home loan before the end of the loan tenor.

Enbloc stands for the process whereby multiple owners join together to sell all the apartments or units in a private residential building such as a condominium. Enbloc sales typically attract an elevated price than they would if sold individually. The reason for this is that developers typically need to offer the incentive of high returns to convince all owners to sell.

Freehold stands for property tenure where the owner of a property owns it indefinitely.

Properties/rooms may be described as f/f (fully furnished), p/f (partially furnished) or e/f (empty furnished). A fully furnished property will include common items such as a refrigerator, wardrobe, washing machine, sofa and bed. Part furnished property will be fitted with some – usually the white goods - but not all of these items and empty furnished (also referred as non-furnished) will be very bare and may not have any furnishings at all.

HDB stands for The Housing and Development Board (HDB) and it is the statutory board of the Ministry of National Development. It is in charge of all public housing in Singapore. HDB flats are public residential units and house the majority of Singaporean citizens.

Home Loan/Mortgage Loan
It may seems like common sense, but some people neglect the fact that your home is used as a collateral when you take out a home loan. Missing repayments could result in losing the roof over your head.

Interest Rate
Interest Rate is the cost of borrowing. In terms of mortgage loans, they are usually classified as fixed, variable or board rate.
A fixed rate loan charges the same interest rate throughout the duration of the loan.
A variable rate loan offers rates that are changed periodically to match the benchmark interest rate it is following. You should ask the bank about the calculation of the variable rate and which benchmark they follow. One of the most common benchmark rates is the Singapore Interbank Offer Rate (SIBOR).

Joint Tenancy
Joint tenancy refers to a situation where all the owners of the property have an equal interest in the property; regardless of the amount of money each of them has paid for the purchase of the property. Married couples usually opt for joint tenancy as the property is automatically passed on to the surviving co-owner(s).

Landed Properties
Residential units with individual ground contact. There are various types of landed properties, including terraced houses, bungalows, detached and semi-detached houses.

Leasehold stands for property tenure where you lease the land or building for just a certain, pre-agreed time-frame. Leasehold agreements for residential property that are quite common include 99 years and 999 years.

Letter of Offer
The bank will issue the borrower a Letter of Offer (LO) upon acceptance of the loan application. It is a contract that states the terms of the loan package offered.

Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio
The Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio is the amount you can borrow calculated as a percentage of the valuation of your property. LTV ratio may be up to 80% if you do not have any other outstanding loans.

Lock-in Period
The lock-in period refers to a set number of years where the borrower will need to stay with the loan package. There is usually a penalty should he/she decide to change the terms of the mortgage loan.

Loan To Value (LTV) is the amount of the mortgage divided by the total value of the property. It is typically looked at as a risk factor by lenders when they are making consideration of awarding a mortgage or not.

Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA)
A MRTA is a mortgage insurance that protects the borrower's family from losing the home should the borrower pass away or become disabled before the home loan is fully repaid. This can be especially important if the borrower is the sole breadwinner of the family or have dependents.
While it is mandatory for all HDB flat owners to subscribe to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board's Home Protection Scheme for those who are using their CPF to repay their housing loans, the same law does not apply to private property owners.

The Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is the length of time a buyer of an HDB flat has to stay in it before he can put it up for resale.

OTP stands for the Option To Purchase (OTP) and it is a right offered by a seller of a property to someone that wants to buy their property. It sets out an option to buy the property at a certain price within a certain pre-agreed time period.Buyers tend to pay a fee for the right, and they have to act on the OTP within a the agreed time period if they do want to purchase the property.

Private Apartment
Private apartments are units in a non-public development that has a number of such units. Residents share common areas such as hallways but a private apartment block has fewer communal facilities than a condominium.

Per Square Foot is the unit that is used to measure an area of a property. $/psf is the total price in square feet.

Refinance/ Repricing
Per Square Foot is the unit that is used to measure an area of a property. $/psf is the total price in square feet.

Semi Detached house Semi-detached houses are built in pairs, with the two houses sharing a party wall in the middle. They are usually built so that each house's layout is a mirror opposite of its partner.

Singapore Interbank Offer Rate (SIBOR) SIBOR refers to the rate at which banks here lend/borrow funds from each other. It is quite common for banks in Singapore to use the SIBOR as a benchmark to price their home loans. For instance, your home loan rates might be the 3-month SIBOR plus a margin rate charged by the bank.

Strata Title
This is devised for multi-level apartment blocks, which have apartments at different levels or "strata".

Swap Offer Rate (SOR)
Another benchmark rate used to price home loans is the Swap Offer Rate (SOR). Comparatively, it is more volatile than the SIBOR as it takes into consideration the exchange rates between the US dollar and Singapore dollar. The advantage of taking up a SOR-rate loan is that in a declining interest rate environment, the SOR is likely to fall faster than the SIBOR.

Terrace House
Terrace houses, or row houses, consist of a row of largely identical houses that are linked together by shared side walls. They may have gardens or yards, most often to the rear of the property.

TOP stands for the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) and it is only granted by the Commissioner of Building Control once work is completed on a construction project and all criteria are met. A building cannot be occupied by the owner or tenants until the permit is granted.

Town House -
A town house can be found in a row residential properties. All town houses have access to the ground; land ownership is common.

Valuation Fee
The bank will require a valuation of the property so as to calculate the maximum amount of loan they can lend. An independent valuer usually does the valuation and a valuation fee will have to be paid to determine the market value of the property.

View to Offer. This means the seller has not set a selling price. They will listen to offers from prospective buyers. Usually this means the owner hopes for a high selling price and this can be viewed almost as an auction-type format.

Walk-Up Apartment
An apartment in a building of five floors or fewer. The apartments on the upper floors are only accessible by staircase as there are no lifts.

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