Whether you’re looking to build a family with your significant other or buy your flat as a single, there’s no doubt that getting a Build To Order (BTO) is a very exciting step towards the next chapter of your life.
However, with all the documents to submit, decisions to make and requirements, the BTO process can feel daunting.
If you’re feeling intimidated, fret not – you’re not alone in this! There are many people who have gone through this exact process and are now happy homeowners. (Spoiler alert: that would eventually be you too!)
To break things down a little, we’ve put together a handy step-by-step guide to take you through the process. Read on to learn more about how to BTO!
Applying For Your BTO Flat (A Straightforward 8-Step Guide):
1. Check Your Eligibility If You Qualify For A HDB BTO Flat
To qualify for your HDB BTO flat, you must first fulfil some criteria. You can check your BTO eligibility with the checklist below:
- You must be a Singapore citizen, or at least be applying with one other citizen or Permanent Resident (PR) as a family nucleus. That means a spouse and kids, parents and siblings, or children under your legal custody if you’re divorced or widowed.
- You must be applying with your fiancé or fiancée. You will have to register your marriage before collecting the keys to your flat if you’re applying for additional or special CPF housing grants, or within the first 3 months of taking possession of your flat.
- If you are single, you must be a Singapore citizen that is 35 years old or older. Do note that this makes you eligible for only 2-room flats in non-mature estates.
- If your spouse is not a citizen, you must be a citizen and your spouse has to be on a visit pass or work pass. Do note that this makes you eligible for only 2-room flats in non-mature estates.
Apart from that, you have to ensure that you hit the right income ceiling depending on the type of flat you are intending to get.
For a 2-room or 3-room flat, you need a combined income of no more than $14,000 and for a 4-room flat (or bigger), no more than $21,000 if you’re applying as a multi-generational family.
You should also not own any other local or overseas property or have not sold any property in the last 30 months.
If you are still unsure, you can take HDB’s 5-minute survey to confirm your eligibility.
2. Get A Preview Of The Upcoming Launch Details & Shortlist Your BTO Launch Of Choice
There are a total of 4 BTO launches a year, usually around February, May, September and November. If you’d like to stay in the loop and keep tabs on the upcoming launches, it helps to monitor the HDB Flat Portal.
Expect to access important details such as the location and types of available units up to six months in advance. As there is a bit of lead time prior to the launch, you can take the time to decide if you would like to apply for any of the flats that are open for sale.
You may also use CPF’s First Home Calculator to figure out a comfortable range for housing price and home loan according to you and your partner’s combined income.
3. Work Out Your Finances & Living Situation
Before you apply for BTO, it helps to have a clear idea of the kind of schemes and grants you may qualify for. Identifying and applying for the ones that can help would ease the financial burden when you make your purchase.
If you and your partner are young working professionals applying for the first time, you can qualify for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG). This lets you enjoy up to $80,000 in housing grants if you both have a combined average gross monthly income under $9,000.
If you are single and at least 35 years old with an average gross monthly income of under $4,500, you can qualify for the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme.
For those who have more urgent housing needs, decide on your living priority schemes and apply for the relevant ones to improve your chances of being balloted to book a flat.
Depending on your living situation, you can apply for the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS), Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) or Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS).
After which, work out your finances and sort out your budget so you can choose a suitable bank loan when you explore your options.
4. Ballot For Your Flat
Now that you’ve checked your BTO eligibility, picked your location and figured out your living situation, the next step is to ballot, or apply for your flat.
As you are only allowed to apply for one flat type at one location, take the time to carefully weigh out your options before you choose your application type.
Do note that upon the release of the BTO, you will only have one week to apply. To ensure that you don’t miss this 7-day application window, you could sign up for HDB’s free eAlert Service and get emails and SMS notifications.
At this stage, you will be required to provide your particulars and other information such as your monthly household income, occupation and proof of status. You will also have to pay a $10 application fee.
You can submit your application via HDB InfoWeb.
5. Check Your Ballot Outcome & Get Your Queue Number
Now that the balloting time has been reduced from 6 weeks to 3 weeks, you don’t have to wait for too long for your ballot outcome.
As the results are computer-generated and chosen at random, there isn’t anything you can do to increase your chances of getting an earlier queue number. Also, it doesn’t matter how early or late or you apply during the one-week application window – as long as it’s within the 7 days.
Your result will then be sent to you via email or post.
If you successfully get a queue number, you’ll then be able to know how soon you can chope your preferred unit.
6. Select Your Preferred BTO Flat & Pay The Option Fee (1st HDB Appointment)
If you’ve managed to successfully get to this point, congratulations! You’ll be able to select a unit and book it during your appointment with an HDB officer.
Your queue number would determine when you can book a unit before or after other applicants. That means you might have to wait on the day itself if the person ahead of you has yet to select his or her unit, as the selection follows the queue order.
Depending on factors such as the demand from other flat buyers, supply of flats on offer as well as the availability of flats when it’s your turn, you may or may not get your choice unit.
For this appointment, remember to bring along your IC and HDB Loan Eligibility Letter (HLE) if you are taking a loan from HDB.
When you book your flat, you’ll be required to pay the option fee on the spot by NETS, depending on the type of flat. It would be $500 for a 2-room flexi flat, $1,000 for a 3-room flat and $2,000 for a 4-room, 5-room or executive flat.
If you’d like to enjoy the extra convenience of having your home closer to a move-in condition when you collect your keys, you can consider opting for the Optional Component Scheme (OCS).
Items offered under OCS include floor finishes, sanitary fittings such as washbasins and shower sets as well as doors for bedrooms and bathrooms.
Should you decide to opt for the OCS, the cost of the optional components will be added to the flat price.
7. Sign Your Lease Agreement & Pay The Downpayment (2nd HDB Appointment)
You are required to sign your lease agreement within 4 months of booking your flat and make a downpayment on the same day.
Besides that, you will also have to fork out stamp duty and legal fees. Hence, you should make it a point to be prepared and get all your loan arrangements sorted by then.
For your down payment, here’s what you will need to pay:
- Downpayment for HDB Housing Loan
You’ll have to pay 10% of the purchase price if you’re taking an HDB Housing Loan. You can make the payment in cash, CPF or Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (if eligible).
- Downpayment for bank housing loan
You’ll have to pay 20% of the purchase price if you’re taking a housing loan from a bank. 5% has to be paid in cash, while the remaining 15% can be paid either in cash or with your CPF savings.
- The Staggered Downpayment Scheme
If you or your partner are under 30 and a first-time applicant, then you can qualify for the Staggered Downpayment Scheme if you book an uncompleted flat.
The Staggered Downpayment Scheme enables you to pay only half of the downpayment when you sign the lease agreement. After which, the remaining amount will be paid when you collect the keys to your flat.
The other fees you will pay include stamp duty, legal fees and other admin fees including registration and caveat fees.
- Stamp duty
You may use IRAS’s stamp duty calculators to check your stamp duty payable.
The following amount has to be paid either in cash or CPF savings: 1% for the first $180,000, 2% for the next $180,000, 3% for the next $640,000 and 4% of the remaining amount.
- Legal fees
HDB or the lawyer representing you in your flat purchase will collect the fees from you at this point.
The following amount has to be paid either in cash or CPF savings: $0.90 per $1,000 for the first $30,000, $0.72 per $1,000 for the next $30,000 and $0.60 per $1,000 for the remaining amount.
8. Collect Your Keys, Start Planning Your Renovation & Move In!
The BTO timeline involves several stages that can take up to 5 years – from deciding on the launch all the way to finally collecting the keys.
When your wait is over, you can then collect your keys and finally have a place to call home! Once you have your keys, the next important thing to focus on is your renovation.
As you prepare for the next stage of your life, it helps to do some research and planning for your renovation. If you aren’t sure where to begin, check out our Renovation Guide to learn more about the process and get inspired by other homes.
3 Essentials To Handle For Your New HDB Flat After Moving In:
When it comes to moving in, unpacking and furnishing your new flat might feel like the only steps you have to take to make your house a home.
However, there are some other crucial things to keep in mind and ensure you sort out right after moving in.
To set yourself up for success as a homeowner, you have to cover your basic utilities, protect your home by insuring it and make sure there are no defects. After all, you wouldn’t want to live in a home with stained walls!
Read on to discover the essentials to handle once you move in.
1. Set Up Your Utilities
Some of the essentials that make your home comfortable to live in include electricity, water and gas. Hence, it is important to set up your basic utilities.
The best part? All you have to do is follow a few simple steps!
Follow our guide to open an account with SP Services to get started.
For your gas supply, do note that it is not grouped with the other utilities. Hence, you have to set it up separately.
To do so, follow these steps to sort out your gas with City Gas.
2. Purchase Your Home Insurance & Home Protection Scheme (HPS)
As with all things valuable, it is crucial to insure your home to be prepared for any unforeseen events.
The Home Protection Scheme (HSPS) is a mortgage-reducing insurance that protects you and your family against losing your HDB flat in the event of death, terminal illness or total permanent disability.
However, do not confuse it with the typical home insurance and fire protection policies. This is because they are different and complement – rather than replace – each other.
For HDB flats, it is mandatory to get fire protection. Coverage for other home contents is optional, depending on what you wish to protect.
As there is a wide range of home insurance plans out there, you might wish to take a closer look at your options before deciding on the one that works best for you.
3. Check For Any Defects & Inform Building Service Centre (BSC) Within 7 Days
While it might feel like defects are unlikely given that your home is new, it doesn’t mean that it is completely impossible. After all, construction is not the most gentle thing and it can sometimes accidentally cause cracks or misalignment.
To ensure that your home is in tip-top condition, you should do a thorough check before starting any form of work. In the event you spot any defects that require rectification, report them to your BSC within 7 days after collecting your keys.
Some common defects include electrical wiring and plumbing, cracks and stains on the floor, ceiling and walls as well as doors and windows that might not be properly aligned or installed. It helps to ensure that the windows and doors can open and close easily as well.
When you inspect your new home for defects, bring along tape, markers and a ladder. Put tape on the defective area and use your marker to indicate with a marking so that it can be easily spotted.
It also helps to take photos of the defects so you can refer back and check that the appropriate rectification has been done.
Build Your BTO Renovation Fund By Saving On Your Electricity Bill
Making plans for your home renovation?
Get closer to living in the home of your dreams by saving on your electricity bill from the first month and then channelling those savings towards your renovation fund!
With a range of residential plans available, you can explore and pick the one that best suits your lifestyle needs!