Make A Wishlist Before Buying A Home

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Starting the hunt for your dream home can be both thrilling and overwhelming. To make the process smoother and ensure you communicate effectively with your real estate agent, it’s important to have a detailed list of your wants and needs. This guide will help you create a comprehensive wishlist, covering everything from budget considerations to neighborhood vibes, so you can find the perfect home that fits your lifestyle and expectations.

1. Budget: Understanding Your Financial Limits

Determining Your Budget

Before diving into property listings, it’s crucial to know your budget. This includes not just the purchase price and downpayment but also costs like stamp duties, legal fees, and renovation expenses.

Steps to Determine Your Budget:

  • Evaluate Your Finances: Calculate your total savings and monthly income to understand what you can afford.
  • Downpayment: Typically, you need at least 20% of the property’s price for a downpayment.
  • Additional Costs: Factor in costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, home insurance, and potential renovation expenses.
  • Monthly Mortgage Payments: Use mortgage calculators to estimate your monthly payments based on different loan amounts and interest rates.
  • Emergency Fund: Ensure you have a buffer for unexpected expenses.

Financial Considerations: CPF vs. Cash

When buying a new home, you can use your CPF (Central Provident Fund) savings or your cash reserves. Each option has its pros and cons.

Using Your CPF Savings:

  • Pros: Keeps your cash flow smooth, leaving more money in your bank account for other needs.
  • Cons: Reduces your future retirement funds and requires repayment of the amount used plus accrued interest when you sell the property.

Using Your Cash:

  • Pros: Allows your CPF savings to continue growing for retirement.
  • Cons: Reduces your immediate available cash for emergencies and other expenses.

2. Future Development Plans: Anticipating Changes in Your Neighbourhood

Researching Upcoming Developments

Understanding future development plans in your dream home’s neighbourhood is crucial. These changes can significantly impact property values and the overall living environment.

How to Research:

  • Local Government Plans: Check municipal or local government websites for information on upcoming projects.
  • Community Meetings: Attend community meetings where developments are often discussed.
  • Real Estate News: Stay updated with real estate news and trends in the area.


  • New infrastructure projects (e.g., roads, public transport).
  • Planned commercial developments (e.g., shopping centers, offices).
  • Potential zoning changes that could affect residential areas.

3. Location: Finding the Perfect Spot

What to Look For in a Location

Your home’s location can significantly influence your quality of life. Consider factors like sunlight, wind patterns, noise levels, and proximity to amenities.

Important Factors:

  • Sunlight: Determine if you prefer morning or afternoon sun and how it affects different rooms.
  • Wind Patterns: Consider seasonal wind patterns that might affect your comfort.
  • Noise Levels: Assess if the area is quiet or if there are potential noise sources (e.g., busy streets, schools).
  • Neighborhood Vibes: Reflect on what you enjoy about your current place and look for similar qualities.
  • Proximity to Amenities: Schools, hospitals, parks, shopping centers, transportation, and recreational facilities.

Schools in the Vicinity

Having good schools nearby is not only beneficial for families but can also increase property value. Investigate the quality and proximity of schools when considering a property.

Factors to Consider:

  • Quality of Schools: Research school rankings and reviews.
  • Distance: Properties within 1km of excellent schools are often more desirable.
  • Home Distance Rule: For priority admission, ensure the property meets the criteria and be prepared to stay for the required period.

4. Community & Safety: Feeling at Home

Assessing Community Vibes

When exploring potential neighborhoods, take time to soak in the community atmosphere. Look for signs of a tight-knit community and consider how safe the area feels.

What to Look For:

  • Community Interaction: Friendly neighbors, local events, and community centers.
  • Safety Measures: Security systems, neighborhood watch programs, and well-maintained public areas.
  • Cleanliness: Clean streets and well-kept public spaces can indicate a well-cared-for neighborhood.

5. Transportation Accessibility: Ease of Commute

Evaluating Transportation Options

Consider the accessibility of public transportation and major roads when choosing a location. Think about your daily commute and potential traffic conditions.

Factors to Consider:

  • Public Transportation: Proximity to bus stops, train stations, and other public transport options.
  • Road Access: Major roads and highways that facilitate easy commuting.
  • Traffic Conditions: Assess typical traffic patterns and congestion in the area.

6. Unit Size & Layout: Space and Functionality

Considering Unit Size and Layout

The size and layout of your home are critical for comfort and future resale value. Think about the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and the overall floor plan.

Important Considerations:

  • Number of Rooms: Ensure the property has enough bedrooms and bathrooms for your needs.
  • Floor Plan: A functional layout that suits your lifestyle.
  • Future Value: Larger units or those with more rooms often appreciate in value more significantly.

7. Condition of the Property: Spotting Red Flags

Assessing Property Condition

When viewing properties, pay close attention to signs of damage, leaks, or structural issues. These can be red flags indicating potential problems.

What to Look For:

  • Water Damage: Stains or mold, especially in bathrooms or around windows.
  • Structural Issues: Sagging ceilings, creaky floors, or cracks in walls.
  • Maintenance: Overall condition and upkeep of the property and building.

8. Resale or New Launch: Weighing the Options

Deciding Between New Launch and Resale Properties

Both new launches and resale properties have their unique advantages. Decide what suits your preferences and financial situation.

New Launches:

  • Pros: Modern amenities, no previous wear and tear, latest design trends.
  • Cons: Higher cost, potential construction delays.

Resale Properties:

  • Pros: Established neighbourhoods, often more affordable, unique charm.
  • Cons: Possible need for renovations, older infrastructure.

9. Bank Loan Options: Understanding Financing

Navigating Loan Options

When financing your property, understanding loan options and interest rates is crucial. Singapore is transitioning to SORA (Singapore Overnight Rate Average), replacing SIBOR and SOR by 2024.

What You Need to Know:

  • Interest Rates: SORA is based on transactions reported by banks and calculated by MAS.
  • Loan Transition: If your loan period extends beyond 2024, you will need to switch to a SORA-based loan.
  • Choosing a Loan: Consider your financial preferences, risk tolerance, and current market conditions.

10. Property Agent Options: Finding the Right Fit

Selecting a Great Property Agent

Having a trustworthy and competent property agent can make a significant difference. Ensure your agent is the right fit for you.

How to Choose:

  • CEA Registration: Verify your agent’s registration on the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) Public Register.
  • Specialization: Choose an agent who specializes in the type of property you are interested in.
  • Communication Style: Find an agent who keeps you informed without overwhelming you.

Conclusion: Crafting Your Wishlist

Creating a detailed wishlist for your new home involves considering various aspects, from budget and location to community and property condition. By understanding and prioritising your wants and needs, you can effectively communicate with your real estate agent and find a home that perfectly suits your lifestyle and future plans.

Sample Wishlist:


  • Maximum purchase price: $800,000
  • Downpayment: 20%
  • Monthly mortgage: $2,500
  • Additional costs: $50,000 (stamp duty, legal fees, renovation)


  • Prefer sunny morning rooms
  • Quiet street
  • Proximity to public transport and major roads
  • Nearby amenities: parks, shopping centers, hospitals


  • Within 1km of top-rated primary schools
  • Research school rankings and reviews

Community & Safety:

  • Friendly neighbours
  • Active neighbourhood watch program
  • Clean, well-maintained public spaces


  • Near bus stops and train stations less than 1km
  • Easy access to major highways
  • Low traffic congestion

Unit Size & Layout:

  • Minimum 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • Functional, open floor plan
  • Potential for value appreciation

Property Condition:

  • No visible water damage or mold
  • Well-maintained structure and amenities
  • Up-to-date electrical and plumbing systems

Resale vs. New Launch:

  • Open to both new launches and resale properties
  • Prefer modern amenities and design in new properties
  • Value charm and established neighborhoods in resale properties

Loan Options:

  • Fixed interest rate for the first 5 years

Property Agent:

  • Registered with CEA
  • Specializes in East area
  • Regular, concise communication

By following this guide and creating your comprehensive wishlist, you’ll be well-prepared to work with your real estate agent and find the home of your dreams.


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