The Ultimate Guide to HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) Letter: What Is It and How to Apply

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The Ultimate Guide to HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) Letter: What Is It and How to Apply

Maelyn Lagman

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The very first step to buying a HDB flat can take a lot of work. But not anymore. From 9 May 2023, the HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter will be replaced by the HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter, which will consolidate all the eligibility assessments for homebuyers. With a single application, you will be able to know your eligibility to:

  • Purchase a BTO or resale HDB flat
  • Receive CPF housing grants and the grant amount
  • Take up a HDB housing loan and the loan amount

With the new HFE letter, you no longer have to submit a thousand and one documents for eligibility assessment. Instead, your personal information will be retrieved from Myinfo via Singass, with your permission, streamlining the process for you.

If you are looking to buy your 2nd flat, you will also be able to know the resale levy/premium you need to pay, if applicable. Do take note that you will have to pay Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) with the purchase of your 2nd residential property. You can read more about the new (and higher) ABSD rates here.

When should you apply for the HFE letter?

If you’re buying a BTO flatYou must have a valid HFE letter when you apply for a BTO flat in sales launches starting from August 2023, or even during open booking. 
If you’re buying a resale flatYou must have a valid HFE letter before you obtain an Option to Purchase (OTP) from the HDB seller, and when you submit your resale application

For new or resale flat applications submitted before 9 May

If you’re buying a BTO flatYou are allowed to proceed with your BTO flat purchase without an HFE letter. Also, if you’ve been shortlisted to book a flat and you intend to take a HDB housing loan, you will be invited by HDB to apply for the HLE letter ahead of your flat booking appointment. 

How to participate in May 2023 BTO:

If you’re intending to participate in the May 2023 BTO sales exercise, you will need a preliminary HFE assessment by completing “Step 1: Preliminary HFE check” on the HDB Flat Portal. Once you have that, you’ll be eligible to apply for a May 2023 BTO flat.

You must complete “Step 2: Apply for an HFE letter” and submit the required information to HDB, within 30 calendar days of initiating Step 1.

If you are shortlisted to book a flat, you must have a valid HFE letter before you book a flat.
If you’re buying a resale HDB flatIf you have a valid Intent to Buy and a valid HLE letter for a HDB housing loan, you are allowed to obtain an OTP from the HDB seller without an HFE letter.

How to apply for the HFE letter?

Step 1: Complete the preliminary HFE check

1. Log in to the HDB flat portal via Singpass

2. Provide your particulars, including other flat applicants and occupiers

3. Declare any interest in local and/or overseas private property

4. Indicate whether you intend to take up a housing loan

Based on all this information provided, you will receive a preliminary outcome, which will give you an overview of your eligibility to buy a BTO or resale HDB flat, which CPF grants you can receive, and if you can take up a HDB housing loan.

Take note to provide accurate information at this stage as you will have to start over from the beginning if there are any changes to the details you have provided. There is also no option to redo

Step 2: Apply for a HFE letter within 30 calendar days of starting Step 1

1. Select your housing loan option(s)

You will have access to HDB’s loan packages, as well as banks such as DBS, Hong Leong Finance, Maybank, OCBC, Sing Investments & Finance, and UOB.

When selecting your housing loan options, you’ll have to confirm your eligibility for a HDB housing loan, which you would have received upon completing Part 1 above.

If you will be taking a bank loan, you must obtain an In-Principle Approval (IPA) from your bank so you have an idea of the loan amount you can receive and put towards your HDB flat purchase.

2. Provide all required information before the due date

3. Review and confirm the application details

Step 3: Get your results

1. You can expect to receive your HFE letter within 21 working days upon HDB’s receipt of your completed application and full set of information — an SMS will be sent to you when the letter is ready for viewing on the HDB Flat Portal

2. The HFE letter is valid for 9 months, starting from the date of issue (Update: November 2023)

If you applied for a bank loan, you should receive the outcome of your housing loan at this stage.

After getting your HFE letter, what’s next?

Here’s an overview of the steps you have to take if you are looking to buy a BTO flat or resale HDB flat:

Step 1: Apply for a HFE letter

Step 2: Get an IPA from the bank of your choice if you intend to take a bank loan

Step 3: Start searching for flats

Step 4: Check your finances

 If you are buying a BTO flatIf you are buying a resale HDB flat
Step 5Apply for a flat online during a sales launchObtain OTP from sellers
Step 6 Receive ballot resultsSubmit Request for Value online
Step 7Book a flatRequest Letter of Offer to confirm bank loan (if applicable)
Step 8Sign Agreement for LeaseExercise OTP and submit resale flat application online
Step 9Collect keysAttend completion appointment at HDB hub

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