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Property Negative Sales

Losing Money from Property Sale


When I discuss sales of properties with my clients, most or rather all of them naturally assume that there will be a profit or extra money from the sale.

But that is not always the case.

Having encountered such property negative sales situations on 3 separate occasions in this year alone, I figured this might be a useful topic to explore on my blog where I share my take on various property topics.

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Table of Contents

What is Property Negative Sale?

To explain negative sale plainly, let me use a simple formula:

Sale Price (price at which you sell your flat) – Costs (various costs that are associated with the selling of the flat) = Sale Proceeds (this can be positive or negative)

Some common costs associated with the selling of a flat include outstanding mortgage loan, repayment of CPF amount used with accrued CPF interest and more.

If your property sale price is higher than your costs, then congratulations, you have positive Sale Proceeds – meaning you will have incoming money that goes into your pocket or for your next property purchase.

However, if your costs are higher than your sale price, then you have negative Sale Proceeds – meaning you are now faced with a situation where you will not receive money from the sale and may have to pay from your pocket, just to sell your property

Wondering how it can even be possible to land yourself in the second scenario?

Let me explain with a real-life case study.

sell hdb buy 2 property

Property Negative Sale Case Study

A couple, let us call them Mr. and Mrs. Ong came to me looking to sell their Clementi 5 room flat so they can upgrade to a condo.

As usual, I will do a financial assessment for them to let them know upfront what they should be expecting.

Here is the breakdown:

Potential Sale Price:
Based on the prevailing current market selling price, the flat would be able to fetch around $510,000.

Potential Costs:

  • They have an outstanding mortgage loan on the flat, which is $135,000.

  • Mr Ong used $267,000 from his CPF to pay for the flat to-date, with the accruing interest of $68,000 over the entire period of occupation.

  • Mrs Ong used $90,000 from her CPF, with the accruing interest of $20,000.

  • This brings the bulk of their estimated costs to be around $580,000.

Using the formula above to calculate:

Potential Sale Price ($510,000) – Potential Costs ($580,000) = Negative Sale (- $70,000).

And there you have it, how it is very possible to land yourself in a situation of negative sale.

While that burst their bubble of expecting to use their sale proceeds to fund their new property purchase, they are not the only ones.

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What Are the Main Reasons for Property Negative Sales? Can It Be Avoided?

Like I shared, negative sales are not an uncommon occurrence here in Singapore. If you are keen to avoid landing yourself in such a situation?

Do read on to learn about some of the key factors that result in negative sales and how to avoid them.

1) Home Loans

When most homeowners purchase a property in Singapore, they take out a home loan.

So, it makes sense that you have to repay the bank principal and interest (cost for borrowing) when you sell off your property.

If your mortgage interest rates are higher than the appreciation rate of your property, chances are you will have a deficit.

So how to reduce your chances of a negative sale?

Make sure you keep your home interest rates low, refinancing whenever you can get a lower rate.

It may be a hassle, but it helps you keep the amount you need to repay when selling as low as possible.

2) Repayment of CPF Accrued Interest

With CPF’s goal to ensure that we have sufficient retirement savings, when the property is sold, owners will need to return the drawn down principal amount PLUS the Accrued Interest, back into your CPF OA.

This amount may include the following:

  • The initial down payment that was withdrawn from our CPF account
  • The monthly installments that was withdrawn to pay our mortgage loan
  • Any HDB housing grant(s) that we received for our HDB flat
  • The CPF Accrued Interest on all the above

Do your best to sell your property at or above market value!

From the net positive sales proceeds, you will be able to repay the interest rates including the CPF accrued interest

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3) Selling Within the First 3 Years

Deciding to sell a property within the first 3 years that it was bought will subject the homeowner to Seller’s Stamp Duty – a tax on the sales proceeds ranging from 12% (first year) to 4% (on the third year).

Just imagine, 4% on a $500,000 property is already $20,000, much less 12%.

How to minimize your chances of a negative sale?

Avoid selling within the first 3 years if at all possible. Just waiting for a few months to cross the 3-year mark is worth the while to avoid any unnecessary costs.

4) The Importance of Choosing Your Initial Property

I cannot emphasise enough that the most important factor is as simple as choosing the RIGHT property to buy.

With proper market research and analysis, your property will likely be on the right track of growth and prevent you from landing yourself in an unnecessary negative sale situation.

This option seems pretty straightforward but many tend to overlook the key value of decision-making for your first property purchase.

Just remember that this one crucial choice will lead to your benefit and gain, for many years ahead.

Should You Sell in a Negative Sale Scenario?

negative sale property

Assuming you did all you could to minimize your chances of facing a negative sale scenario but still ended up in this unfortunate situation, what should you do?

Do you sell or hold on?

The answer depends on the following factors:

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Why Do You Want to Sell?

If the main motivation for selling is something that is not essential, maybe consider postponing it to allow yourself the opportunity to sell above market value or re-evaluate if it is still a wise decision knowing that it will be a negative sale.

What is Your Next Purchase?

If there is nothing more that can be done to reduce the costs, look forward instead.

Will your next home be an asset instead of the loss-making venture this current property is?

Instead, focus on looking out for the next property and do your due diligence to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

Do You Foresee the Negative Sales Situation to Improve?

In certain situations, where the property has only been in the market for a short time or you are trying to sell during a recession, there is a possibility that the negative sales situation could turn around – if selling prices improve.

However, if that is not the situation, and it is unlikely for the selling prices to improve, then the only way to go is down – with CPF accrued interest snowballing and house value dropping over time.

In this case, biting the bullet now would potentially be a better choice as it will only get worse in the future.

Property Financial Calculator

Still not confident of calculating it yourself? You can reach out to me for a FREE Property Report

Property Price Trend

hdb price index 2023
ec price index 2023
private property price index 2023
landed price index 2023

Try to understand different property price trends to avoid property negative sales.

Many owners sell at the wrong time.

Avoid common mistakes.


I hope the above factors can help you understand Property Negative Sales better.

Are you faced with the thorny issue of negative sales and need professional advices? Feel free to reach out to me.

Bonus for my readers

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Awards and Accolades

Property agent review - What my clients say about me

Mr Ang
Mr Ang
Buyer of Parc Riviera
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As a investor interested in taking advantage of the booming property market in Singapore, I needed a realtor with in-depth knowledge of the local market. Using his understanding of the various sectors of the market, Rick generated a investment progression report and we decided to buy a condominium in a choice area with huge potential for multiple returns in the future. Thanks Rick, I will definitely be doing business with you for a long time!
Ms Claire
Ms Claire
Seller of Esparina Residences
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I am writing in to compliment Rick Huang for his invaluable service, for the sale of my Esparina Residences. The process was complicated but he was able to empathize with my situation and also provide brilliant advices that ensue the smooth transaction. In all, I am appreciative with his professionalism and human touch in this journey. Thank you!
Ms Ho
Ms Ho
Seller of Blk 272b Punggol
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I was sceptical about engaging a friend to sell our house. However, Rick has put himself out on so many levels just to ensure everything went smoothly, promptly and correctly at every stage. I trust Rick and would surely recommend him to anybody seeking to buy or sell a home! I do not usually post reviews but this is worth investing my time. Thanks once again..
Ms Malar
Ms Malar
Seller of Blk 332 Serangoon
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His service is beyond my expectations. Always going the extra miles to serve his clients.
Ms Jo
Ms Jo
Buyer of Blk 452a Sengkang
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My husband and I started our home-search by ourselves but was met with issues soon enough as we were unsure of the important things and areas to look out for and we were also not experienced in the negotiation process with the seller’s representing agent. Soon after hearing our problems, I was introduced to Rick by a friend. The entire buying process quickly became swift and smooth; Rick understands our needs, puts our personal interest first, seals us a good deal and educated us along the way about the important things and areas to pay attention to. Thumbs up to Rick and we will recommend him to anyone for their home-search
Mr Eddie
Mr Eddie
Seller of 127c Kim Tian
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"In short, Rick did an amazing job. He sold our house at a higher than initially discussed price and got us a good deal for our purchase. Both my wife and I are impressed with his professional yet friendly approach. We will definitely work with him again and recommend him to anyone."
Mr Liew
Mr Liew
Seller of 260c Punggol
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Rick is a very down to earth person. No hard sell or pushy technique. He helped us in planning for upgrade and showing us how to invest in property with in depth property analysis report.
Miss Chong
Miss Chong
Buyer of Regent Residences
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His service is superb. With his property mkt analysis skill, I managed to purchase my first property in Singapore. He is always patient and helpful whenever I have any query about property purchase procedure, especially the computation part of the downpayment. In nutshell, I am really grateful and appreciate for his support.
Buyer of Blk 130 Bishan
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Rick is an agent who has displayed his potential in his services. He provided us a very personalised guidance when we first approached him with an intention of purchasing a resale flat. With his knowledge and years of experience has made the entire purchasing process seamless. Thank you Rick for being a great friend and a fantastic agent!
Mr Mark
Mr Mark
Seller of Blk 686a Woodlands
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Rick service has a very personal touch. He was extremely patient and professional and does not rush us into making any decisions he provided us with sound advice whenever we have questions and was always ready to provide help with regards to any matter. What impress us the most was the extra step he went by assisting us with the purchase of our new home, even though this was in no way his responsibility to do so. Thank you for the hassle free experience Rick. Highly recommended
Mr Shawn
Mr Shawn
Buyer of Riverfront Residences
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"It was a pleasure working with Rick throughout my selling and upgrading journey. His recommendations and knowledge of financial calculations and preparations are impressive - even factoring in risk management specific to us, for the next 5 to 8 years. He has shown his expertise in real estate and guided us step by step all the way, making transactions effortless for us. Well done Rick!
Ms Shufen
Ms Shufen
Buyer of Cairnhill Crest
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Rick has been our go-to agent for our past few property transactions He actually patiently brought us to many various property viewings (I think it was more than 10!) before we finally settled on the Cairnhill unit. Rick also helped us iron out all the issues encountered along the way and we are very thankful for his service. Hence, we will continue to engage Rick for all our property related matters. We have encountered many agents throughout the years but Rick is the one that has the most profound display of professionalism, knowledge and dedication in his job. Please keep up the good work!"
Ms Meena
Ms Meena
Seller of Blk 475c Upper Serangoon
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Rick's guidance really helps us to sell our unit at a good rate. He did a excellent job giving us professional assistance from step by step till the keys are handed over to the new owner.
Mr Kingsley
Mr Kingsley
Seller of Blk 91 Tanglin
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We have worked with a few property agents. We find the interests of the agent are not well aligned with either the buyers or sellers as volume of transactions matter more. With Rick, you can be assured that your interests are well protected at all times. It is reassuring that he shares his opnion objectively to allow home buyers or home seekers to evaluate the decisions for themselves. Overall a smooth experience. Thanks Rick!
Ms Su
Ms Su
Seller of Blk 93 Paya Lebar Way
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"Rick was introduced by a close friend of mine. This is my second time buying a flat (first time was 20 years ago) and I have forgotten all the procedure. With no experience dealing with selling and buying, this is my honest testimonial. Rick is a very responsible agent which I've met so far. Fast response to all my enquiries and he answered to all my doubts which I have. Reliable and he knows exactly what to do and will give you his utmost advise and service. I highly reckon Rick to those have the intention of getting property agent. Thanks so much Rick for the help and assistance you have rendered from start until the end of transaction. I would definitely recommend you to my relatives and friends. Cheers
Seller of Blk 227a Compassvale
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My wife and I are grateful that a friend of ours referred us to Rick to help sell our unit. Rick responded fast to all of our queries. In fact, we managed to sell off the unit faster than we expected thanks to Rick. He did not even need to resort to cheesy gimmicks and marketing. The journey was kept professional. Despite the toxic culture of the property industry, we can feel that he is sincere and committed in helping us. He is trustworthy and we felt that we were in safe hands with Rick as our agent.
Ms Sharon
Ms Sharon
Seller of Blk 648 Ang Mo Kio
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I had in the past dealt with agents who were pushy and did not do their homework. But with Rick, I am put at ease with someone who is not only very knowledgeable but understanding. He keeps my family posted on what we need to know, is very diplomatic, tactful and professional. If you need your place sold, you need a reliable person like Rick to help you. Thanks Rick once again. Warmest Regards, Sharon Lim
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Mr Sri
Buyer of River Isles
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Rick was introduced to me by a friend, who has seen Rick while he was helping another client. Rick has played an exceptional role while I was buying a private property. He is patient, humble, polite and a nice human being. I highly recommend him if you are looking for an agent in your property hunting. I worked with several agents but he will be my go to agent for any future deals. It was excellent experience..!
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Self Introduction


Greetings! My name is Rick Long, and I am proud to serve as the Associate Division Director of Huttons Asia Pte Ltd, with over a decade of experience in the real estate industry.

My passion for helping clients find their dream homes has grown exponentially during my tenure in the field. As a graduate of Singapore Polytechnic, I have always valued the importance of hard work and determination.

My prior experience serving in the airforce instilled in me the value of teamwork, perseverance, and discipline.

Over the years, I have been privileged to receive several accolades for providing exceptional service and dedication to my clients.

My ultimate goal is to ensure that each individual I work with has the best possible experience, whether they are buying or selling a property.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is receiving glowing five-star reviews from satisfied clients.

Knowing that I have positively impacted someone’s life is truly humbling, and it motivates me to continue striving for excellence every day.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending quality time with my loved ones, indulging my passion for sports, and exploring the rich and diverse culinary landscape of Singapore.

Amidst the bustling pace of life, I relish moments of calm by immersing myself in the art of tea-brewing and teapot appreciation.

My commitment to delivering exceptional results to my clients is anchored on my extensive knowledge and experience in the real estate industry.

Above all, I always strive to be kind, respectful, and approachable.

Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about me. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you.

Additionally, Rick is a proud fur daddy to two rescue kitties and loves spending his free time with his wife and furbabies. He believes in giving back to the community and volunteers his time to animal welfare causes whenever possible.

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Looking to upgrade from Hdb to condo? – Read more (Sell Hdb buy condo)

What to take note when selling Hdb resale flat? – Read more (Hdb Resale Process)

Buying another Hdb flat, and using the fund from current home? – Read more (Hdb contra)

Why do some Hdb flat price depreciate so much? – Read more (Hdb depreciation curve)

What is one of the most common reason for property negative sales? – Read more (Cpf accrued interest)

Financial calculation for selling a Hdb flat? – Read more (Hdb resale calculator)

Buying EC before selling your HDB? – Read more (Upgrade to EC before selling your HDB)

Should you sell your EC after 5 years? – Read more (Selling EC)

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