Follow These Steps To Buying An EC In Singapore
Assuming you are well aware of what an executive condominium is, and you are looking forward to buying an EC soon, it is time to familiarize yourself with the market. Executive condos unlike private condominiums are few and far between. Executive condominiums are primarily located in new towns or mature towns outside the city. As we speak now, you can find ECs in areas like Woodlands, Yishun, Sengkang, Punggol, Tampines and Jurong East/West. (See here for current and future executive condominiums to be launched)
At any one time, there probably will not be more than 5 executive condominiums for you to choose from. While there may be the occasional odd unit that jumps out from executive condominiums that have been fully sold out (a buyer pulls out of the transaction for various reasons), most of the time if you are looking for choices, there are only a few ongoing executive condominiums that have in excess of 20 units and are still actively marketing and selling. Further narrow this down to the area you want (Woodlands/Yishun, Sengkang/Punggol or Tampines etc), and you will suddenly realize that you are probably able to select from at most three executive condominium projects.
In Singapore, buying a home is a big decision. Executive condominiums cater a lot to first-time home buyers or home owners (70% of the units in an executive condo have to be set aside for first-timer applicants during the initial launch). Once a married or engaged couple sits down, discuss and finally decide in buying an executive condo, they will literally be in a rush to quickly book a unit, and you may be experiencing the same now. If time is on your side, you may wait for a few more executive condos to launch and compare. However, we do realize this is actually not the common scenario due to the scarcity of ECs.
The next step naturally is to visit the showflat to view the development and see if you like the area, the speciousness of the rooms, condo facilities, price, unit types and unit mix etc. At this point, it is advisable to ask a trusted property agent friend or someone recommended along with you. This person can point out things a first-time home buyer will not realize or even consider. The property agent friend (now known as real estate salesperson or RES for short) that you brought along will share the commission with the salesperson at the showflat in the event you buy, and there is no additional cost to you. However, you do want to bring only trusted property agents with you as you do not want the person you brought along to start pushing you to buy alongside the salesperson at the showflat, just to earn the commission! (While you may think this is unlikely, we have actually seen numerous instances of such cases)
Executive condominiums launched consist of two phases. The earlier phase is known as the e-app, short for e-application phase. In this phase, the executive condo is not yet launched for sale yet. If you walk into the showflat at this period, you will be asked to submit an e-application by a certain date, to indicate your interest in the executive condo. Most executive condominium developers also do not allow you to view the showroom units at this stage to maintain interest and curiosity among buyers.
Note that at this point, there is no commitment on the buyer yet, just an ‘indication of interest’ which is not legally binding. Some developers will throw in incentives like free cashcards or vouchers just to entice you to fill up the e-application form. This is when developers can gauge the level of interest in their EC project. When newspapers report an executive condo as being 2x oversubscribed, it means that there are twice the number of e-applicants for the number of units in a development. However, it does not mean that all the units are sold. Interested buyers should also make use of this period to secure their bank loan too, before the sales of units actually begin.
After the close of the e-app phase, the EC will then be open to booking, which is when sales actually start. Applications who submit during the e-app phase will be given priority to view the showroom units, and if they are interested, they can book the units first ahead of others. After this period when the first-timer e-applicants have chosen and booked their units, the remaining units will then be open to the general public (other first-timer applicants and second-timer applicants). People can walk into the showflat and book an EC unit on the spot.