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Sell One Buy Two – Is it Suitable for you?

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By now, many of us should have heard of the heavily advertised term “Sell One, Buy Two” property investment strategy whereby a couple gets to own two properties without paying for ABSD (Additional Buyer Stamp Duty).

We might still be skeptical on this approach, its feasibility and still have doubts on whether if it is a scam. Therefore, in this article, we have put together a Sell One Buy Two guide for you.

How Does Sell One Buy Two Work?

Typically, for many of the married couples in Singapore, their first HDB is co-owned with their spouses. That is to say, if they want to purchase a 2nd property, they will have to pay for the hefty ABSD.

Then comes the emergence of the Sell One Buy Two property investment strategy, which is to sell your HDB, free up the names and subsequently purchase a private property each individually – namely a resale condominium for own stay and a new launch for investment. In this way, the household will now own 2 private properties. Sales proceeds from their HDB will be used to fund these purchases with LITTLE OR NO CASH required from their savings.

sell one buy two

As good as it may sounds, the Sell One Buy Two strategy may not be suitable for everyone and is also accompanied by certain risks. Above all, we would like to emphasise that proper financial and risk planning have to be done before abruptly jumping into action.

Why Sell One Buy Two?

Sell One Buy Two strategy mainly aids HDB sellers who wants to own a 2nd property in the shortest time and without the need of paying the hefty ABSD sums.  Unlike private property owners, HDB owners are no longer able to decouple. With the tightened ruling on 1st April 2016, HDB owners are now unable to sell or transfer their share to their spouse to sustain their current abode.

So now, what’s the next better strategy? Yes, you are right! HDB owners now swarm towards the next better option, which is to sell away the HDB and purchase 2 private properties respectively.

Firstly, when they purchase the property individually, they will not be taxed with ABSD, which is a huge savings. i.e. a One Million Dollar Property will incur a $120,000 ABSD tax. This adds on to the property purchase price and thus making the entry price more unfavourable.

Secondly, with the substantial amount of sales proceeds (Cash + CPF Monies) from the sales of the HDB, as well as leveraging on the bank loans, some owner may only be required to fork out a minimal sum of money or even zero dollar from their savings for down payments.

Thirdly, owners will not be restricted by any mortgage rulings or CPF usage rulings depicted in the image below.

owning a second property without sell one buy two

Most importantly, the household will now have two properties in their portfolio, with one for home staying and another for investment. Upon reaching optimal price, they can capitalise on the investment property with capital gains as well as rental incomes previously. With one owner’s name now free, they can choose to reinvest again into the next property.

Sounds good!? So what is the downside of Sell One Buy Two

Of course, not all roses are red. Owning two properties at one time means owning and servicing two mortgage loans. Double trouble or double bliss? One thing for sure, no one likes to sit on a big amount of debt.

For Sell One Buy Two to work, both spouses must be working and qualify for sufficient loan. In unforeseen circumstances whereby one spouse stopped working, they may face tight financial situations to service two mortgage loans. In this instance, they may be forced to sell off the investment property at a loss to make ends meet.

Therefore, it is definitely crucial to make proper and prudent financial calculations and plan including available sales proceeds, CPF useable amount, eligible loan amount and monthly instalments. Proper Planning, risk analysis and financial understanding of your situation will surely give you a great boost in confidence for execution.

Less Risky Method for Sell One Buy Two Strategy

If you are those who prefer to have a lower risk approach and yet would like to own a 2nd property via the Sell One Buy Two Strategy, I will recommend to get a HDB first for home stay, then subsequently purchase a private property after 5 years for investment or vice versa. At this instance, a simple restructuring on the purchase can open up the opportunity to a 2nd property without the need to pay ABSD.

Some advantages include having more time to save for more “bullets”, and at the same time you can move to a bigger space at a lower cost.

Read more articles: Wanting to Buy a Second Property? What are the Ways to Avoid Paying ABSD

Cost for a 1500 sqft HDB will definitely be lower than the cost for a 1500 sqft condominium.

However, in this instance, the process takes longer as you have to wait for your resale flat to fulfil the MOP (Minimum Occupation Period) and may not be suitable for you if you are looking in an upgrade of lifestyle i.e moving into a condominium within a short period. Then again, end of the day, our goal is still achieved with a 2nd property added in to your portfolio.

Final Thoughts

Sell one buy two strategy is definitely not for everyone. If you are incline to the Sell One Buy Two Strategy, do take time to check on the numbers such as financial calculations, loan amount eligibile, CPF available funds, cash on hands and/or any avatars that will aid in your investment. With the numbers, you can more distinctively derive an all-rounder plan covering any aspect of situations you may think of, and this will certainly boost your confidence in your next investment.

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