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Surviving SERS: What You Need to Know (Part 2)

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Jeff Cuellar

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In the first part of “Surviving SERS,” we looked into the compensation options available to those of you affected by this redevelopment scheme (including our forgotten citizens – the singles). For part 2, we’ll delve into the resale concessions available to those of you wanting to cash out your housing “chips” for something different.

What makes a SERS sale or transfer special is that the buyer/transferee not only gets the SERS flat, but the benefits as well (based on their eligibility). It’s like Highlander in a way, power and benefits are transferred from one person to the other – except no one loses their head in a fight for immortality.

 Selling Your SERS Flat

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The slide and ladder renovation to by studio flat should boost its resale value by at least 20%!

 

When it comes to selling or transferring your SERS flat, your choices are pretty straightforward. If you’ve decided to sell your SERS flat to an interested buyer, you’re also selling your SERS re-housing benefits to them as well.

This little value-add is treated as a “housing subsidy,” which includes the 20% discount off the subsidised price of your SERS flat – only if the buyer is eligible. Depending on the household status of your buyer, the SERS re-housing benefits they receive will vary.

 

Transferring Your SERS Flat

If you’re looking to transfer the ownership of your existing flat, the SERS benefits your transferee receives will dependent on either your eligibility or that of your transferee(s), whichever is more restrictive.

That means that if you were a man with a family (i.e. you, your wife and your 1.2 kids) and you wanted to transfer your 4-room flat to your eternally single brother (why you would do that, I have NO idea), SERS benefits would be adjusted to meet those of your brother, which are more restrictive.

 

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HDB assured me that this was only a typo… that could have been one EXPENSIVE mistake!

 

 

Resale Premium/Levy Deferment for Qualifying Owners

If you purchased your flat directly from HDB or from the open market using a CPF Housing Grant Scheme, you’re exempted from paying the resale levy. If you’re an elderly SERS owner who will take up a studio apartment as your replacement flat, you’re also exempt from paying the resale premium/deferment levy.

This is a HUGE deal considering the resale levy ranges between $15,000 and $50,000 – depending on the type of flat you have. Resale premiums aren’t any cheaper either, as they range from 10% to 20% of the selling price of your replacement flat.

 

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Well, HDB wont’ give us a deferment, but at least we get a cool “I survived SERS” keychain.

 

 

Concessions for Those Who Don’t Qualify for a Resale Premium/Levy Deferment

If you’re a flat owner who happened to have sold a subsidised flat, you’re stuck with having to pay the hefty resale levy/premium. Thankfully, HDB offers several payment options to ease the financial burden.

However, if your SERS site was announced after November 2011, HDB is offering concessions that cover the cost of your resale premium or levy if you had earlier sold a subsidised flat, including the following:

For Families and Joint-Singles Eligible for SERS 20% Discount

If you qualify for the 20% discount (capped at $30,000), you can choose whether you want concessions for either your resale premium or levy, whichever is more beneficial. So if you have a 3-room flat and the resale levy is $30,000, you can use your “discount” to pay off the levy. If you qualify for the 20% discount, there are two options to choose from:

Option 1: Choose to forego your 20% discount to either pay the resale premium or levy deferment (capping your payment at $30,000).

Option 2: Choose to defer the whole resale premium or levy without interest until you sell or transfer your replacement flat while you enjoy the 20% discount (capped at $30,000).

For Singles Eligible for SERS 20% Discount

If you qualify for the 20% discount (capped at $15,000), you can choose whether you want concessions for either your resale premium or levy, whichever is more beneficial.

Option 1: Choose to pay the resale premium or levy upfront (capped at $30,000), forego the 20% discount (capped at $15,000), and pay the balance of the resale premium or levy. Any amount in excess of $30,000 is waived.

Option 2: Choose to defer the entire resale premium or levy without interest until you either sell or transfer your replacement flat while you enjoy the 20% discount (capped at $15,000).

For Those Ineligible for SERS 20% Discount

Since you don’t qualify for a discount, your options are pretty limited, but HDB isn’t cruel enough to leave you out to dry. Here’s what you can do about the resale premium/levy:

Option 1: Choose to pay resale premium or levy upfront (capped at $30,000). Any amount in excess of $30,000 is waived.

Option 2: Choose to defer the entire resale premium or levy without interest until you either sell or transfer your replacement flat.

 

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Hmmm… it looks a lot smaller than I thought it would be…

 

So Who’s Stuck With a Non-Transferrable “SERS” Ticket?

If you’re in the following categories, you’re stuck with riding out SERS to the designated replacement site like a prisoner on a one-way trip to Alcatraz:

  • You have previously sold one subsidised flat or your existing flat is subsidised
  • You have applied or booked another flat under any HDB scheme (DBSS, EC, BTO, etc.)
  • You have previously benefitted from SERS re-housing benefits

 

Image Credits:
Herbalizer,  Homes in JacksonvillebookgrlCali2Okiepr0digie

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.