You have spent days discussing your ‘must haves’, weeks researching mortgage options, and months searching for your dream home.

At last, you’ve finally found it – success! Now what? Here’s a breakdown of what to expect when you’re about to sign on the dotted line.

  1. An Agreement for Sale is prepared by the vendor’s lawyer. It is usually signed by both parties either at a real estate agency or in the presence of a lawyer.
  2. The buyer is required to pay a deposit of about 10 – 20 percent of the selling price, depending on what has been agreed upon.
  3. After signing the sale agreement, an application is submitted to the Office of the Registrar of Titles. The transfer of the deed signals the completion of the sale.


According to Robert J Taylor, a Real Estate and Corporate Attorney, legal fees are generally around one to three percent of the purchase price, plus General Consumption Tax (GCT).

Stamp duty is equally shared between the buyer and the seller and is charged at four percent of the property value, as is the registration fee, which is valued at 0.5 percent. Therefore each party pays 2.25% respectively.

Transfer tax of five percent of the property value is paid by the seller, and the real estate agent’s fee is generally three to five percent plus GCT, and is negotiable. Traditionally, the seller pays the agent’s fee, however, it has become quite common recently to pass the cost to the buyer.

Please bear in mind that the whole process can take around 49 days to complete. In the meantime, you can start planning your house warming party and choosing the colour schemes for your dream house. Once you have signed all the paperwork and paid the necessary fees, give yourself a pat on the back – you did it! Congratulations on your new home!

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