Terms You Should Know Before Buying Properties

By StevenGadson

Welcome to the exciting world of purchasing property! Learn all the terms you need to know for making an informed decision about your new home purchase.

As you begin exploring real estate, one thing that may be daunting can be all the jargon often used within it. Without understanding some of these terms, scams could occur because you won’t know their meaning.

The Continuum was built through an exciting collaboration with Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway and established in Singapore in 1983. Since that time, their property developer team has developed extensive expertise in various real estate fields. Over the last four years they have also actively acquired properties through government land sales as well as through an en bloc exercise.

Hoi Hup Realty have completed several developments prior to The Continuum Condo. They include Waterford Residence, The Continuum Showflat, Sophia Hills at Mount Sophia, Whitley Residences and Terra Hill at Pasir Panjang.


CSC stands for “Certificate of Statutory Completion”. This document serves to verify that your building meets all legally mandated requirements (safety construction design and other). Usually issued by the Commissioner of Building Control upon receiving Temporary Occupancy Permit (TOP).


A down payment is the initial sum you must put down when purchasing a house, representing the balance that your bank will lend you for purchase. Usually made via cash payments and CPF savings accounts.


En-bloc or collective sale involves owners selling their private homes to a developer for redevelopment in bulk. A minimum 80% strata title share must be sold prior to proceeding with this sale; developers often opt for this route over Government Land Sales due to limited supply.


When your home is freehold or estate in fee simple, its owner is entitled to keep ownership forever.


Leasehold properties offer less security; only part of their right to live there for an agreed-upon time (such as 99 or even 999 years). At the end of that lease term… the land reverts back to government ownership; that topic deserves its own discussion!


LTV (Loan to Value) measures the sum you can borrow to finance a mortgage on a home (known as its “mortgage quantum”) relative to its appraised valuation. LTV is among the factors banks use when assessing whether an applicant qualifies for an mortgage loan.


An HDB flat buyer must remain in their property for five years prior to being allowed to sell (at this point in time it was five).


An option to purchase (OTP) is granted from the property owner to prospective buyers in exchange for payment during a specified time. In order to fulfill this option, buyers must buy it during this period in order for it to become valid and legally binding.

Plot Ratio

A plot ratio measures the space devoted to structures on any given plot divided by its total area; this provides an idea of how much real estate development there has been on a particular piece of land.


$/psf is an often-heard real estate search term and refers to “Per Square Foot”, which measures an area. $/psf measures how much an entire property costs per area in square feet.


SIBOR stands for Singapore Interbank Offered Rate and it serves as a daily reference rate that measures interest rates banks can offer other banks when lending unsecure funds to them, similar to international standard LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate). What impact will it have on you? Banks forced to increase lending interest rates will ultimately raise home loan interest rates too; as everyone needs income regardless of economic performance.

Strata title

Strata can be defined as an ownership structure in which multiple individuals own condos or apartment blocks together as one group – that is, ownership is divided evenly among all members of the group as opposed to being held individually as it would be with land ownership (over an entire area).


Top A permit from the Commissioner of Building Control that authorizes tenants and owners to reside in a building when certain conditions have been fulfilled is essential to living there. I can assist in the buying process, however if any confusion or frustration with terms exists for you – don’t worry… You are now ready to get your home!