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Buying a BTO 101: A Step-by-Step Guide


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Read up on the latest Build-to-Order (BTO) launches in 2019 and excited to start balloting? Or perhaps you and your significant other are planning to tie the knot and find a new family home? If you’re a newbie to the balloting process for BTO flats and in need of some guidance, this step-by-step guide is for you.

1. Check your eligibility

We can’t emphasise this enough – it is so important to ensure that both you and your partner meet the criteria to buy and own a BTO flat. According to HDB, you must be at least 21 years old, a Singapore citizen (while your partner can either be a local or SPR), within the income ceiling of the flat type you intend to buy (whether it be a 2-room flexi, 3 room or bigger) and that neither of you own an existing property.

One exception is that your spouse can be a non-citizen if you’re applying for 2-room flats in non-mature estates. If this all checks out, you’re ready for step 2.

2. Get started on your financial planning

Think it’s time to ballot for your BTO? Not so fast! There’s a number of fees to set aside and prepare for before you do:

Type of FeesAmount
Option fee
  • For 2-room flexi – $500
  • For 3-room flat – $1000
  • For 4/ 5-room – $2000

Payable by NETS

HDB Loan Downpayment10% of Valuation
5% cash + 5% CPF/cash
Legal Conveyancing fee
  • Minimum fee of $20
  • Based on the purchase price of the HDB flat. Ohmyhome HDB sale legal conveyancing is from $1800 nett.
  • Payable by CPF, NETS or Cashier’s Order

You can use Ohmyhome in-app Stamp Duty Calculator to find out how much is your BSD. Download Ohmyhome, under the ‘Services’ section, choose Calculator.

3. Get your queue number

Eligible to be an HDB BTO flat owner? Cue ballot time. You can do so by visiting the HDB InfoWEB site. Be prepared to pay a $10 fee for each ballot you submit which will not be refundable no matter if your ballot is successful or not.

The ballot window will only be open for a week so don’t delay. Once it’s done, the queue number you’ll receive is often a good indicator of whether you’ll be able to get a unit. Should it be higher than the number of available units, your chances of getting a flat is significantly lower. But don’t let it get you down, there’s always more opportunities to ballot.

4. Check the results of your application

You can stay updated on the outcome of your BTO application by logging into the HDB InfoWEB site.

5. Sign up for a home loan

If you’ve reached this stage, that means your one of the lucky ones whose balloted queue number did not exceed the number of available flats! This comes at a (literal) price. How to pay for it? You can either take a HDB loan or bank loan.

Assuming you’re taking a HDB loan, the next step is to submit an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) application. If you’re eligible for the loan, you’ll successfully obtain the HLE letter. Don’t forget to bring along your HLE when it’s time to select your BTO flat.

6. Select your flat

Once you’ve reached this step, you will be invited by the HDB to place a booking on your desired flat. You are encouraged to ensure the availability of the BTO flat before coming down for an appointment. Do note that there will also be an option fee payment that comes with booking a flat that must be paid via NETS.

7. Research on grants you’re eligible for

Are you a first-timer? Generally, you qualify as one if you’ve never found yourself on the receiving end of HDB housing subsidies. There are two CPF housing grants available for you, namely the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG).

Can’t tell the two apart? SHG is only for 2-, 3- and 4-room flats purchased in non-mature estates. In short, they depend on the average gross monthly income in the 12 months leading up to your BTO application. This means a lower income household will fetch a higher AHG and/or SHG than a higher income household. Do your research!

8. Sign the Agreement of Lease

The end is in sight and your future abode is within grasp. At this point, you will be invited to sign the Agreement for Lease. Don’t forget to bring along a valid HLE and pay a downpayment of 10% (cash and/or CPF) for those who chose the HDB home loan route. On top of that, do note of the legal fees and stamp fees (also via cash and/or CPF) to be paid at this stage of the BTO process.

9. Get your keys

Received a key collection invite from HDB? Congratulations, you’re officially an owner of a BTO flat. After a waiting period that typically lasts 2-3 years, you will be handed over the keys once your flat is completed. This is also when you pay the remainder of the flat cost (minus the initial downpayment, stamp duty and legal fee) which can be made through CPF and cashier’s order.

Welcome home!

All these steps have led up to this moment! You’ve done the hard work, now it’s high time you live out the rest of your days (or at the very least your MOP) cherishing your beautiful home and the loved ones you’ll share it with.

There you have it, aspiring BTO homeowners. When it comes to BTO flats, patience is a virtue. The waiting period you’ll have to endure will eventually be rewarded with a cost-effective HDB home that you and your loved ones will move into and create invaluable memories that will last a lifetime.

Prefer taking a bank loan? Talk to our Mortgage Specialist to learn more about the 5-year fixed interest rate package. You may also call our hotline at 6886 9009.

Sources: HDB – Application Procedure, HDB – Costs and Fees, HDB – Application Status, HDB – HDB Flat, HDB – Balloting Process, Straits Times, Income

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