6 Steps Quick Guide To Buying A HDB BTO & How To Apply In Singapore
Buying an HDB BTO flat is a huge step towards adulthood and the first step to starting a family.
Applying for a HDB BTO usually comes before your wedding and it will take 5-7 years to build. In preparation for that adulthood (and getting an even better apartment), it might help if we take some time to learn all those tedious paperwork parts.
Just like planning for a wedding or getting a wedding banquet loan, the process can be daunting- especially if it’s your first time doing anything related to housing complexes!
But don’t worry too much! Just like how there are wedding planning guides, we have exclusive tips to help you from start to finish.
1. Check The HDB BTO Eligibility Requirements
The first step in your ownership is understanding the eligibility requirements – and, of course, respecting them. Here’s what you need to do:
Be a Singapore citizen or be married to one.
If you’re not a Singaporean by birth, your spouse needs to be one or have permanent residency status.
The good news is you’re not restricted to applying by yourself or with your spouse. You can also apply with different family types, such as your parents and siblings. If you’re no longer married or widowed, you and your children can always submit a claim together.
What if you’re engaged?
In this case, you have two options.
– Start shopping for wedding outfits and rent a venue quickly if you’re applying through the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant. This grant’s requirement is that you can apply as fiancés, but you’ll have to hear your wedding bells before actually buying the property.
– Postpone the wedding until after purchasing the apartment. However, you aren’t eligible for any grant in this case, and you’ll still have to tie the knot within three months.
You can only purchase apartments up to two rooms located in non-mature estates in some cases. Here’s when this can happen:
– You’re applying without a spouse or family. Not everyone can apply, though. You’ll have to be at least 35 and a born-and-bred Singapore citizen. Well, at least the last part.
– You’ve tied the knot with a non-citizen. However, your spouse should have a work pass or visit pass.
– You’re applying with your friends. If you have up to three stag or hen friends, you can all live together in a BTO flat. That’s a sure-fire way to prolong your single status indefinitely. Of course, the minimum 35-year-old limit still applies.
Apart from family status, citizenship, and age, your income influences the BTO flat you can purchase.
– 2-3-room BTO apartments: The income limit is $7,000 or $14,000, depending on the property.
– 4+ room BTO apartments: The income limit is $14,000 or $21,000, depending on your family’s size. So, the larger your family, the higher your income threshold.
Remember: You’re not eligible for a BTO flat if you own another property in the country or anywhere else. We’re talking about private or HDB properties in your name regardless of how your name got there (e.g., through purchase, inheritance, etc.)
If you’re a current owner interested in getting a BTO apartment, you have to sell your property and wait 30 months before becoming eligible.
What are the fees that you have to consider before applying for your BTO apartment?
HDB BTO application: $10
Booking your flat: Option fee
Signing: Stamp duty + advance payment
Getting your keys: Stamp duty + legal fees + home protection scheme + fire insurance + purchase price balance
2. Enrol In The Ballot
You’ll have to monitor HDB BTO’s website to track all launches that are taking place anytime soon. The good news is that HDB announces new projects with a full 6-month advance before launching them. Thus, you have plenty of time to plan your hit.
After finding a home you’re interested in, fork out those $10 to enrol in the ballot.
Side-note: Don’t fall in love with your first BTO choice too much. Chances are you’re not going to win the first ballot. Also, you’ll need to prepare more $10 bills for the next two or three tries.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put too much effort into your choice.
It’s essential to choose the right property each time. What if you win an apartment you hate? Here are the factors to consider if you want to avoid that scenario:
– Location: Make sure your flat is nearby all places and means of transportation you’re using.
– Size: Your BTO flat should accommodate your entire family, including elderly members, kids, and pets.
– Amenities: Ensure your flat has the right amenities nearby for your family.
– Budget: You shouldn’t skimp on money, but you shouldn’t overstretch either. So, consider what’s genuinely necessary for you and yours before setting a budget.
Speaking of that budget, we can smoothly transition into the following section:
3. Choose The Right Financing Option
Chances are, you don’t have all the money you need to purchase a BTO flat stashed under your mattress. So, use HDB’s calculator to assess your budget first.
Next, you can choose between an HDB loan and a bank loan.
What are the differences between a HDB loan and a bank loan? Here’s a quick conparison.
– Have higher interest rates up to 2.6%
– Cover 90% of your BTO flat’s cost
– Require a 10% down payment
– Allow you to pay that 10% using your CPF funds entirely
– Don’t have any early repayment fees
– Have a 7.5%/ year late repayment fee
– Require an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter before applying
By contrast, bank loans:
– Have lower interests up to 2.4%/ year
– Cover only 75% of your BTO’s flat, so they require a 25% down payment
– Require a 5% cash advance, so you can’t use your CPF funds for the entire down payment
– Feature higher early and late repayment fees
– Require an AIP (Approval in Principle) Letter before application
4. Attend Your Initial BTO Meeting
Once you’ve won the ballot, it’s time to attend the initial meeting and pick your BTO flat. However, you’ll have to do your research before that so you don’t lose time at the meeting. Also, you’ll need the proper paperwork:
– Proof of identity
– HDB Loan Eligibility Letter (for HDB loans) or Approval in Principle Letter (for bank loans)
– Proof of income or unemployment if you’re not working
Here are the documents you need to prepare depending on your employment status:
For the Employed: Latest three months’ payslips until the month you’ve applied. Alternatively, you can submit a letter from your employer to ascertain your status.
For the Self-employed: Last NOA or Statement of Annual Accounts from an audit firm; (ACRA) Computer Information (Business Profile) or valid license of trade; Average gross monthly income for the past six months before the application
For the Part-time employed: Latest six months’ payslips until the month you’ve applied or a letter from your employer.
For the Commission-based: Past six months’ commission statements or payslips, or official letter from your employer.
For the Odd-job worker: Last NOA or letter from your employer
For the Unemployed: Official document confirming your unemployment status/ student status if you’re currently enrolled in full-time studies. If you’ve been unemployed for less than three months, you’ll need income proof for the preceding month(s) before losing your job, and latest 15-month CPF contribution history.
Get your wallet ready, too, because you’ll have to pay some fees:
– $500: 2-room flats
– $1,000: 3-room flats
– $2,000: 4-room or more flats
Pro tip: Remember to take advantage of the slew of Priority Schemes offered by HDB.
These programmes allow you to purchase an apartment that fits your needs, even if it’s not in your budget. For example, if you have children or move close to your parents, you can get a BTO flat more quickly. There are also assistance schemes for couples with at least three children, multi-generational families, seniors and widowed/divorced people. BTO tenants who want to purchase their apartments can also benefit from extra support.
5. Sign Your HDB/BTO Lease
Now that you’ve attended that initial meeting, the BTO flat is as good as yours. Well, almost. You have to sign that lease during the next four months of booking your flat, or you might lose it.
Take this time to reassess your budget and consider the best financing option. This financial organization will be able to help you.
You’ll need to have some money prepared:
– The 5% cash advance if you’ve decided on a bank loan
– Stamp duties
– Legal charges
Next, make sure your paperwork is ready for the BTO lease signing:
– Bank passbook
– HLE letter for HDB loans
– Letter of Offer for bank loans
– Current CPF statement
– Option fee receipt
Pro tip: If you don’t have this money in your savings account, consider getting a loan to cover the amount.
Alternatively, you can use the Staggered Downpayment Scheme from HDB to split the advance payment into two halves. You’ll pay the first installment at the lease signing meeting and the other when you get your keys.
Speaking of that:
6. Get Your Keys
That’s the moment you’ve been dreaming of. Now that you’ve navigated through that complex bureaucracy, you can finally relax in your dream home. Open a bottle of champagne, and enjoy a bright future with your loved ones.
But before sailing off in the sunset, remember your journey isn’t over. You have to repay your loans and get ready for the other milestones in your life.
Preparing Your Finances For Your BTO & After
Do you have your finances prepared for your BTO? And you need proper financial assistance to tackle what’s ahead.
For example, if you’re applying for this BTO apartment with your fiancé, you’ll need to consider the wedding expenses. You should not use all of your savings for your wedding.
Also, you’ll want to enjoy a lovely honeymoon and prepare for future children.
Us Wedding Loan Curation offers you a free platform to get quotes from trustworthy financial institutions. You’ll receive convenient options in just a few minutes, so you can focus on what truly matters: the rest of your life. Apply here.