Contemplated on whether to post about my experience because it’s gonna be super lengthy and this was 2 years ago. But it’s definitely a lesson learnt and I hope no one will have to go through the same thing!
Long story short, we viewed the show flat once and went back to purchase the house the following weekend without doing any prior research or viewing any houses nearby AT ALL. Omg what were we thinking 🤦🏻♀️
5% deposit was paid, OTP (option to purchase) was signed on that weekend.
The following week, we got the bank’s LO (letter of offer) signed, and we were waiting for conveyance to be done at the law firm to legally own the property.
Meanwhile we were happily planning out our entire lives around the house, still oblivious to the chain of unfortunate events...
FYI, the house was initially bought under my fiance and MIL's names as she is the paid for most of the part. This was also based on our agent's recommendation because he suggested purchasing under 2 names for better mortgage terms and so that we can do the 99:1 ratio ownership on the house.
A few days later, we found out (yes, on our own?!) that there’ll be additional stamp duty (ABSD) to be paid as this will be my MIL's second property.
We knew of this ABSD (7% of the property price) from the time we signed the OTP but the agent confidently advised us that we only had to pay 1% of the 7% ABSD as long as we split the ownership as 99:1. Which we would later find out from my MIL's lawyer friend that this is wrong and it was practically illegal to do this 99:1 this way! This is as good as evading tax wtf. Which wouldn't go through in the first place because 99:1 isn’t supposed to be split at the time of purchasing!
All these which we only found out through a third party to the transaction?!
Just like that, we had to pay over 100k more than we agreed to for the ABSD. We were so lost and confused, quickly checked with the agent. He just replied "I'll check" through whatsapp and came back later saying that he found a law firm that’s willing to do this 99:1 because even the original law firm didn’t want to. Eh no thanks we don’t want to be part of your shady business 🙅🏻♀️
Obviously we rejected the 99:1 offer. He went on to he asked his favourite question: "Can we proceed?" *This is the recurring theme to the story* 🙄
The following week was just us consoling ourselves that the 100k was worth it, we then decided to view the show flats nearby (lol a bit late) and contemplated if we should buy other projects instead but none was to our liking. Eventually, we decided to go ahead with the purchase and spent the following week trying to justify the additional cost 😭
That Friday, we were feeling good about the house again and met up with our friends for lunch. One of which whose parents are both Property Agents.
We told our friend's parents about the house, the whole drama, they were appalled but by the end of the conversation, they told us that we’re not eligible for the house AT ALL.
Almost 2 weeks, 1 drama, $100K later, we are not eligible for the most simple reason: My MIL's existing flat has not reached 5 years minimum occupancy period so she can't buy another flat. The most basic rule of HDB and yet the agent missed this out. Btw he didn’t ask a single thing about us throughout (other than our salary lol) all he did was asking us to fill up the OTP and sign 🤦🏻♀️
We almost didn’t believe it at first because this is so damn basic????
A quick google will direct you the HDB website which clearly states that HDB owners can’t buy another property within the first 5 years of buying their current flat. Once again, my MIL texted the agent to confirm if this is true, and guess what he said,
“I can get the lawyer to check for you, but you’ll have the pay for the lawyer fees.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!
First of all, you didn’t do your due diligence of completing the basic checks for the buyer before the purchase and now you expect us to pay for something you missed out???? Second of all, this is so damn basic that you should have had it at the tip of your fingers.
Obviously we didn’t need the lawyer to check for us something that we already knew for sure by now. He gave the "simple" suggestion of changing the owner names to me and my fiance and replied: “Can we proceed?”
Wow I can almost hear the desperateness to get his commission screaming through the whatsapp chat 🙄
Btw, if this falls through because of this MOP issue, the OTP (with 5% deposit) will be forfeited WTF. Did I mentioned, there wasn’t a SINGLE word of apology from the start.
The “simple” solution wasn’t simple at all.
This meant that we have to go back to the Banker to secure a new LO (which we may not even get since our credit conditions would have changed without my MIL in the picture). Secondly, if the first LO was processed by then, we would have to pay an admin fee of 1% of the total mortgage amount for cancellation. Lastly and most importantly, the interest rate already went up after we signed our first LO. In other words, even if we secure the LO we had to pay a higher instalment!!!
We decided that this was it, as much as we liked the house. This agent definitely had to go. He was irresponsible, unreliable and hopeless. He’s already like this when he hasn’t got his commission. Can you imagine by the time this goes through and he got his commission??? I think he would have evaporated into thin air by then.
We were so angry and sad at the same time over the fact that there’s a chance we may lose the house. The beloved first home that we loved so much, a construction site we call home 🤣
It was a truly depressing and stressful experience.
We consulted our friend’s parents (both agents) and TLDR, they saved the day!!!
The same weekend, we MIA-ed on our original agent, stormed into the show flat with our army (we had like 10pax or something LOL). Demanded the agent to get his ass to the show flat and fire him in his face. Meanwhile, the in-charge (let's call him A) still had the cheek to ask us to arrange another date and we go down to their office??? He was scared of us making a scene at the show flat and at the same time clock was ticking, we still risk forfeiting 5% deposit if we didn’t exercise our OTP within 2 weeks.
A finally realised that shit just got real and called in another in charge, B.
We thought our original agent was bad? Guess who he learnt all that from because B was WORSE.
Everyone sat down to talk including A , B, original agent. Still, not a word of apology from BOTH. (B direct supervisor of our agent). Worst still, he gave a completely nonchalant attitude. Even our friend listening at the side got so pissed he said on our behalf that we’ll take legal action if they were to forfeit our OTP and make us pay for the new one, to which he said “ya you can do whatever you want”.
Btw we NEED to get a new OTP because the names and the ownership ratio needs to be changed. And who’s fault??????
Finally after what felt like 2 years wtf, we got the original agent out of the deal, got a new lawyer through our friend’s parents, didn’t have to pay 100k ABSD anymore cuz of name change (BIGGEST DISCOUNT IN MY LIFE LOL), got extended mortgage duration but at new mortgage rates which was higher. Btw the original lawyer also sucks which is a story for another day. And also secured a new LO through our super nice mortgage bankers!
And we signed the new OTP once again, on mid-autumn HAHAHAHA guess it’s 家好月圆 *positive*
So I guess it was a blessing in disguise?
Our friend’s parents said we’re being super nice to B and the agent because we didn’t even take any action on them and gave them so many chances. From their experience, most people will just let the OTP lapse and sue the agents. We wanted to write into the developer and statutory board for Property agents initially but eventually, we were so tired from everything we just want it to be over.
Lesson learnt: Finding a good property agent is as important as finding your house. Always do your research on the agent as well as the house you are purchasing! Also, always get a second legal opinion to find out if you are doing things right especially if you are a first-time homeowner.