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Homeownership: A Guide for the LGBTQ+ Community in Singapore

Purchasing a home is a significant milestone in anyone’s life, as it represents stability, security, and a place to call your own. However, for the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore, navigating the process of buying a home can come with unique challenges.

This comprehensive guide has been crafted to provide insights and support for LGBTQ+ individuals planning to navigate the process of homeownership in Singapore. Whether you’re starting your journey of owning a home or seeking guidance to protect your rights, this guide will help you make informed decisions and hopefully, finish with a fulfilling homeownership experience in Singapore.

Know & protect your legal rights

Understanding the legal landscape is crucial when buying a home as an LGBTQ+ individual in Singapore. While same-sex relationships are not legally recognised, purchasing property is not something that’s restricted by sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s important to familiarise yourself with relevant property laws and consult with a legal professional who can provide guidance on your specific situation.

Additionally, drafting a will or putting a trust in place can play a crucial role in safeguarding your rights and guaranteeing the desired distribution of your assets. This is especially significant for LGBTQ+ individuals, since they may encounter obstacles due to the absence of legal recognition for their relationships or potential opposition from family members who are not supportive of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

By having a legally binding document in place, you can assert your intentions clearly and mitigate potential disputes, ensuring that your property and assets are allocated in accordance with your specific wishes.

Financial planning and budgeting

Planning and budgeting are important aspects of financial stability for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, for LGBTQ+ individuals in Singapore, these aspects can be even more crucial due to certain societal and legal constraints that may impact your financial well-being.

Singapore’s property market heavily emphasises homeownership as a means of financial stability. However, LGBTQ+ individuals and couples might face challenges when it comes to purchasing government-subsidised housing or HDB flats. In the eyes of the government, LGBTQ+ couples are considered “singletons” if not in a legally recognised marriage. That can affect your eligibility for certain housing benefits.

Therefore, while preparing for homeownership, evaluate your current financial situation, determine your budget, and consider factors such as down payment, mortgage affordability, and ongoing expenses. Collaborate with a financial advisor who understands the specific needs and goals of the LGBTQ+ community.

Read more: Getting a Financial Advisor? These Are the Important Questions You Should Ask

Financing options

Explore various financing options to find the one that best suits your needs and circumstances. Research banks and lending institutions that have demonstrated inclusivity and diversity in their practices. Compare mortgage rates, terms, and conditions to secure as favourable a loan as possible. Be prepared to provide the necessary documentation and meet the eligibility criteria.

If you intend to buy a HDB flat, you will have to choose between a bank loan or HDB loan:

HDB LOANBANK LOAN
Interest Rate2.6%
(0.1% above the CPF Ordinary Account interest rate)
Fixed: ~3.80 – 4.60%
Floating: ~SORA + 1.00%(Dependent on the bank you choose)
Down payment20% in cash or CPFAt least 5% in cash and 20% in cash or via your CPF OA account.
Maximum LoanNew flats: 80% of the purchase price.
Resale flats: 80% of the resale price or market valuation, whichever is lower.
75% of the purchase price.
Minimum LoanNone~S$100,000
Late Payment PenaltyCurrently 7.5% per annumDepend on banks, usually higher than HDB.
EligibilityIncome + citizenship requirementsNo requirements. Usually a decent credit score.

Read more: HDB Loan VS Bank Loan: Which Should You Get?

Finding LGBTQ+-friendly neighbourhoods

While Singapore is generally considered an inclusive and diverse city, some neighbourhoods may be more LGBTQ+-friendly than others. Research and explore different areas to find a community that aligns with your values and provides a supportive environment.

Connect with local LGBTQ+ organisations and online communities to gather insights and recommendations on LGBTQ+-inclusive neighbourhoods. Several recognised LGBTQ+ neighbourhoods can be found in Outram, Tanjong Pagar, and Chinatown.

Partnering with LGBTQ+-friendly real estate professionals

Work with real estate professionals who are supportive and knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ issues. Seek agents who have experience assisting LGBTQ+ clients and can help you navigate the home-buying process with sensitivity and understanding.

LGBTQ+-friendly real estate professionals prioritise respect, confidentiality, and inclusivity, creating a safe space where clients can freely express their needs and preferences without fear of discrimination.They can provide valuable guidance, negotiate on your behalf, and connect you with LGBTQ+-friendly service providers.

Consider joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common

Consider joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common as viable options for LGBTQ+ individuals looking to establish shared ownership of property.

Tenancy-in-common allows multiple individuals to jointly own a property, sharing both the responsibilities and benefits of homeownership. This arrangement can be particularly advantageous for LGBTQ+ couples or friends who want to secure their rights and financial interests.

Joint tenancy, on the other hand, provides an equal undivided ownership interest to all parties involved, ensuring that in the event of a partner’s passing, the surviving partner automatically inherits the deceased partner’s share. By opting for joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common, LGBTQ individuals can strengthen their legal and financial protections while enjoying the benefits of jointly owning a property with their chosen partners or trusted friends.

Seek community support and resources

The LGBTQ+ community in Singapore is vibrant and supportive. Connect with local LGBTQ+ organisations, forums, and social groups to tap into their resources, network, and experiences. They can provide valuable insights, recommendations, and emotional support throughout your home-buying journey. Some available platforms include:

Homeownership doesn’t have to be just a dream

Despite the unique challenges that LGBTQ+ individuals and couples may encounter when buying a home in Singapore, homeownership remains attainable.

By understanding your legal rights, engaging LGBTQ+-friendly professionals, conducting thorough financial planning, and seeking support from the community, you can navigate the process with confidence and embark on the path to homeownership, creating a place where you can truly be yourself and find comfort and belonging.

Read more: Estate Planning for LGBTQ+ Community in Singapore

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