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Buying or Selling a Car

Singapore - Buying or Selling a Car

Buying a car in Singapore can be an adventure. Aside from the actual process of purchasing a car, just owning a vehicle in Singapore is expensive. The government has famously implemented many measures to manage car ownership and usage in the hope that traffic congestion and pollution will be cut down. Some of these measures include the implementation of road taxes, the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), Vehicle Quota System (VQS), and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). In addition, all motor vehicles have to be registered with the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

To control the number of vehicles on the road, the government has a Vehicle Quota System that is designed to limit the number of private vehicles driven, thus reducing the amount of traffic and congestion on the roads. Under this system, an individual seeking to purchase a car must bid for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) which can be very expensive and lasts for a maximum of 10 years. At that time, the owner would have to revalidate the vehicle by paying the prevailing quota premium, thus adding to the cost of owning a vehicle. Only a set amount of COE's are released for bidding every month and if the bid is successful, the vehicle entitlement is valid for ten years. The bad news is that COEs are pricey so that individuals will feel more motivated to use public transportation.

In addition to the COE and the actual cost of the car, there is an import duty, registration fees, additional registration fees (110 percent of the assessed open market value of the vehicle) and a road tax that can run into the thousands, depending on the engine capacity of the car to be paid. The government also imposes an Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system, Singapore's attempt at cutting down on traffic jams during peak hours, which further increases the cost of driving. The ERP charges start at SGD$0.50 and go up to SGD$3.00 per gantry. In certain areas (e.g. downtown), the chances of passing through more than one gantry is high.

If you are buying a used car, you’ll want to make sure that it hasn’t been in an accident or abused. The Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) at http://www.aas.com.sg can help you get an inspection and evaluation.

For more on the transportation system and policies, you may wish to contact the Land Transport Authority of Singapore:

Land Transport Authority of Singapore
460 Alexandra Road
PSA Building #28-00
Singapore 119963
Tel: (65) 63757100
Toll-free LTA hotline: (65) 1800-3757300
Fax: (65) 63757208 (65) 63757200

Buying a secondhand car can be a less expensive option than buying from an agent. Classifieds in publications such as the Straits Times can be an option for this. The National University of Singapore actually offers a "Buying a Second Hand Car in Singapore" major course, giving testament to how complicated buying a secondhand car can be.

When you’re purchasing a vehicle, you’ll want to make sure the contract includes the description of the model, important details about the vehicle, color, accessories and options, price, deposit amount, payment terms, delivery period, and any warrant packages. You’ll also want to make sure the contract includes any information on whether or not your price includes the road tax, insurance, or COE.

Using public transportation can be a lot cheaper than having your own private vehicle. However, whether or not you have one is really up to personal choice. If you live or work near a major public transportation stop then it might not make as much financial sense to own a vehicle. However, if you have a family or plan on doing a lot of traveling that will require you to travel across the island frequently or transport equipment (such as sports equipment) then owning a vehicle might be more beneficial.

Selling your vehicle might not be as complicated as purchasing one. An agency such as SGCarmart (http://www.sgcarmart.com) can help you get rid of your vehicle without much hassle. They have a service where they can come out, evaluate your vehicle, and give you an indicative value for it. They can then place your vehicle for auction at a specific price and if someone matches it or offers more you can sell it. Since the auctions only go on for a day or two, you have the opportunity to sell your car quickly.

You can also go to http://www.onemotoring.com.sg and find the "residual value" of your car. This is the amount that the government will give you if you wish to get rid of your vehicle quickly. Since the money you paid to the government for the COE and PARF were for ten years, if you get rid of your car before then, the government will reimburse you that money if the car is scrapped or exported.

If you do decide to sell it yourself by placing an ad in the classifieds, you can probably expect to get around 120-140% of the number the onemotoring website gives you. You might also get around $2,000 more than if you use a company like SGCarmart. However, the dealers with an agency will be able to sort out the financial and legal issues for you.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

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