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⚠️ 3 Issues You Must Not Miss Out on Before Finalising Your Resale HDB Flat Purchase

I’m sure we have all heard horror stories about the condition of a resale flat after purchasing it.

There was a 4-room resale flat in Bukit Batok that the new owner had gotten at a very good price, only to find that it had 14 holes in the ceiling and the new owners had to spend additional budget to rectify it as per HDB rules.

To help you avoid such issues, we look at 7 things you should not miss before negotiation when buying a resale.

No.1 - Selling price and COV

When buying a resale flat, you may notice the term COV. It stands for Cash Over Valuation, which is the cash amount the seller is asking for on top of the actual valuation of the flat.

Typically, after both seller and buyer agree on the selling price, HDB will assign a valuer to determine the flat’s value.

If the valuation is below the agreed selling price, that amount is the COV and as the term suggests, it has to be paid in cash.

The COV cannot be paid using CPF, HDB grants or housing loans.

No.2 - Flat inspection by HDB

After both the buyers and sellers have submitted the resale application, HDB will arrange for an inspection of the flat.

This is to ensure that there are no unauthorized renovation works done by the sellers that could cause damage and affect the structure of the block.

If any unauthorized renovation works were found by HDB, the buyer should get the seller to rectify them before proceeding with the completion of the resale transaction.

No.3 - Vacant possession of the flat upon resale completion

The sellers have to vacate the flat before the Date of Completion so that you, the buyer, can take over the unit immediately after the Completion Appointment.

It is important to note that it is your responsibility as the buyer to inspect the entire unit to ensure that there are no house defects before taking over the keys to the resale flat.

Some of the things to look out for are listed below:

(i) Damaged floors

Source: Reddit

The flooring is the foundation of the home and it is critical to look out for cracked tiles, scratch marks and water damage to parquet flooring. This is especially important if you are not planning to replace the flooring of the resale unit.

Take note of the floors in the high-traffic areas of the home. Broken tiles in the kitchen and bathroom will likely need repairs, which can be expensive.

Check for furniture marks and water damage on wood and vinyl floors too. If you don’t like the flooring but it’s in good condition, don’t worry too much about it, as it can be simply overlaid.

(ii) Walls and ceilings

Watch out for cracks on the walls and the paintwork.

If it is freshly painted, the sellers could be trying to cover up crack lines or cracks along the joints in the block wall. Hairline cracks can be easily fixed using a flexible sealant or elastomeric paint, but wider cracks have to be repaired by a qualified contractor.

Always check the ceiling for wet spots, mould, mildew and discolouration. These could be a result of pipe leakage or water leakage from the upstairs neighbour’s floor.

(iii) Conditions of window

In 2021, there were more than 40 incidents of fallen windows from HDB flats.

This is mainly due to corroded aluminium rivets of casement windows.

Casement windows should have stainless steel rivets instead of aluminium ones, to prevent rust and prevent windows from falling.

It is also good to check that the window fasteners are not rusty or loose.

(iv) Electrical works

According to the HDB website, the estimated average lifespan of a PVC electrical cable is about 25 years.

So if you are buying a resale flat of more than 20 years, it may be wise to spend some budget on replacing the electrical wiring.

Faulty electrical wiring is a very dangerous thing and can result in a fire that can be life-threatening. However, if the unit is not that old, you probably can wait a while before changing the wiring.

Do look out for missing or damaged electrical points or sockets. You should test if the sockets and powerpoints are working well.

It is also a good idea to take note of how many existing powerpoints there are, and if it is not sufficient for your needs, you can inform your renovation contractor to install a few more.

(v) Any signs of loan shark activity

Source: Singapore Police Force

You don’t know much about the people that you are buying the flat from, unless they are somebody you know, so it is best to look for signs of loan shark activity.

Loan sharks would not know that the debtor may have moved out and they will continue to harass the address.

Most debtors would try their best to remove evidence of loanshark harassment, so it may not be so easy to spot them.

However, it would be suspicious if the whole unit is not well maintained but the front door has a fresh coat of paint, or only the corridor wall outside the unit is freshly painted.


Are you looking for a new home or the latest resale listings? Head to to browse your preference of properties for sale in 3D.

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