Super excited to announce that Wei Min and I have officially secured our first home together! 

We didn't get it on first attempt, we weren't the first few batches to secure a unit, but we finally managed to get it eventually! A lot of my friends have been asking questions on this topic so I thought it'd be good to write a guide based on my own personal experience to explain the process of what we've been through thus far to give you guys a better understanding!

He's super happy about it but just hates taking photos lel

1. Eligibility

There are a few compulsory conditions that need to be met when applying for a BTO Flat for the first time. Some examples are:

  • At least one applicant has to be a Singaporean, while the other has to be a Singaporean or Singaporean PR.
  • Either or both of the applicants are 21 and above.
  • Your combined income does not exceed $12,000.
  • You do not own any local or overseas property, etc.

You can complete this survey here (will take about 5-10 minutes) to find out whether you're eligible.

2. Balloting for a Flat

Keep a lookout for upcoming sales launches — they usually have a new launch every 3-4 months, so you can be updated on similar alerts by subscribing to the HDB eAlert Service. Some of the things you might want to consider when choosing a flat:

  • Will you be staying near your parents? If the flat is in the same town or within 2km of your parents' HDB Flat, you can get an additional grant. 
  • Do you have an intention of investing in the property in future? You might want to pick a flat built in a more central location, should you intend to rent/sell it out in future. 
  • Who will be staying in the flat? Determine how much space you actually need — from my observation, people usually go for 3-room or 4-room flats. We got a 5-room flat since we picked a flat in a non-mature estate (hence cheaper), and we're alright to go for an extra space in the living hall for more spaciousness. After all, it's agreeable that our units are getting smaller and smaller due to land scarcity in Singapore. :(

Naturally, flats from non-mature towns (Woodlands, Sengkang) are more affordable than that of a mature town (Toa Payoh, Bedok). You can find more information on the surrounding land use, proposed facilities, the locations in the maps and plans in the brochures online. It takes about 1 month for you to be notified should you be selected for the flat you've applied for, determined by computer balloting.

How the computer balloting works:

Normal/Public applicant: 2 chances (on first try), 1 chance (on second try)
Applicant staying near parents/married child: 4 chances (on first try), 2 chances (on second try)
Applicant staying with parents/married child: 6 chances (on first try), 3 chances (on second try)

*Chances stand for the number of times they will put your application in to apply for that particular flat. Basically, if John has a wife and a kid staying with him, he gets an extra balloting chance. 

3. Getting a HDB Loan (HLE) or Bank Loan + Grants

Once you've gotten a successful balloting, HDB will inform you on a particular date to head down with all your documents for the selection of the flat. The next step is deciding whether you want to opt for a HDB Loan or a Bank Loan. We picked what seemed like the easier option, i.e. HDB Loan (HLE) which you can find out more here, but there are a few factors you need to weigh.

moneysmart | ezbuy | areyouready

Also attached information of the standard HDB Flat floor plan, along with the information on Housing Grants. You may be asking, what does AHG and SHG mean?

AHG (Additional Housing Grant) is a scheme to help Singaporeans who earn a lower income get subsidies to fund for their flat, ranging from $5,000 to $40,000, depending on your income. To qualify, household income must not exceed $5,000 per month, for a 12 month period before flat application. Wei Min and I managed to apply for the AHG.

SHG (Special CPF Housing Grant) is a housing subsidy for lower-income families, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on your family income. In this case, monthly household income must not exceed $6,500 for a 12-month period before the flat application.

For a more detailed overlook of the system, click here and fill up the AHG/SHG application forms.

4. Pay an Option Fee and Sign Agreement

On the selection date, remember to bring all important documents and items (such as your I/C) to process all the necessary information. What I love about HDB is that all the staff that I've encountered thus far have been really helpful and patient with my requests or queries to things that I needed to clarify. Super friendly one!

The staff will guide you through the entire process on a 1-on-1 consultation. Upon signing all the agreements, you'll need to pay an Option Fee to book the flat. It forms part of your downpayment. Find out more about the cost and fees (stamp duty and legal fees, etc.) here.

  • 4/5-room and Executive Flat — $2,000
  • 3-room Flat —$1,000
  • 2-room Flexi Flat — $500

Tip: You can head down to HDB Hub earlier to check out the available show flats for a better understanding of how your BTO Flat would look like, home ideas and also to get your queue number earlier to prevent any delays. 

5. Collect Your Keys Once the Flat is Completed

Upon completion of the flat construction, the moment that you've been waiting for would finally arrive... The collection of your new BTO Flat house keys! Yay! Since we just secured our house, we'll not be collecting our flats anytime soon until 3-4 years' time. Till then, I'll be updating another post on the key collection process and definitely, renovation ideas and our own renovation progress! I'm really excited for that because I'm someone who loves decorating my room and keeping everything neat (whenever possible).

Also worked with Renopedia on a recent campaign, sharing simple steps on surfing the page for home renovation tips and ideas. Hopefully you could find some ideas there too! In the meantime, good luck on your BTO applications! :)

Chelsea x