One of the major milestones of applying for your HDB Built-To-Order (BTO) flat is going to the HDB appointment to pick your flat. This usually happens approximately two months after the sales launch period.
Many couples spend hours trying to determine the best units, with the best location, with the best facing. While this may be important, there are many other things you need to do before your HDB appointment date. Here are 5 important things you should be checking off your list of to-dos before heading to your HDB appointment.
# 1 Choosing Your BTO Flat
As mentioned, this is the “main event” of the entire process – getting to actually choose your BTO flat. We’re sure everyone would have spent hours trying to science the entire process, still here are a few things to think about when choosing your BTO flat before your appointment.
Of course, you would know your queue number. Given how many flats are available, you can guess how likely you are to get a premium unit in the estate. The trick is not to get your hopes up too early, and only start choosing your flat close to your appointment date.
To help you choose the best flat, you should head down to the site itself to see the plot your flat would be sitting on. This gives you more insights into the views, walking distance to amenities as well as any potential issues including existing properties, noise levels in certain directions and even potential development that may come up in the future.
You could also use the internet to help you in choosing. Excited homeowners may have already created Facebook pages for your estate well before your appointment date. You can go on it to ask questions, share ideas and start getting to know your future neighbours. Helpful ones would even take photos of their recce!
You could also use the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Master Plan to gauge future developments near your housing estate, and whether it will negatively affect certain flats, in terms of facing, noise or others.
On the day of your appointments, head down several hours earlier. You can often find interesting characters and future neighbours to bounce your ideas off when viewing the estate models and showflats.
# 2 HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) Or Bank Loan
For many couples, taking up an HDB loan is the smart thing to do. Couples that end up taking bank loans usually do it out of requirement than choice. This is mainly because an HDB loan will lock in your interest rate at 2.6% and require you to only fork out 10% of your flat’s value in downpayment.
While a bank loan may offer a slightly lower interest rate for now, this is far from a certainty over the next 25 years. In addition, you have to fork out 20% of your flat’s value in downpayment, out of which 5% must be in cash. This can be quite hefty for young couples.
If you’re planning to get an HDB loan, you need an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter during your appointment. First up, to check if you qualify for an HLE, you can simply complete this questionnaire on the HDB website. You can then proceed to submit your application for for HLE via the HDB website.
When doing so, you will need to prepare several documents in advance. These include personal documents and income and supporting documents such as your latest three months’ payslips or have a letter from your employer with relevant information as well as the latest 15 months’ CPF contribution history for all applicants. Occupiers will also need to submit their latest three month’s payslips or have a letter from your employer with relevant information.
These information will determine how much you can actually borrow.
For couples taking a bank loan, you don’t actually need to do anything before or on your HDB appointment date. Instead, you need a Letter of Offer from a bank when you sign the Agreement for Lease in approximately four months from the HDB appointment date. Of course, if you’re taking this route, you should check in with a banker or go to online sources, such as our landing page, to how much loan you’re likely eligible to receive so that you pick the right flat with the right price point.
In either case, you will better understand the amount you can get in loan to plan for the purchase of your HDB BTO flat. In particular, the HLE will state your maximum loan amount, maximum monthly instalments, maximum repayment period, amount you need to pay in cash (if applying for a second HDB concessionary flat) and other terms and conditions.
The HLE is also valid for six months. The HLE letter will also be reviewed if found to contain untrue information or there are changes to household income. Lastly, you should also note that both the HLE and bank’s letter of offer will be reviewed at a later date, before you collect your keys, to ensure you maintain the ability to repay your loans.
# 3 Government Grants And/Or Schemes
If you’re applying for government grants and/or schemes, you need to prepare other documents beforehand as well.
The most common grants include the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) which entitles you to receive up to $80,000 in grants. You should know the grants that you’re applying for, you can use this chart to gauge the amount of grants you’re eligible to receive.
There are also various schemes you can apply for. Some of them require you to bring along additional documents, including your birth certificate and your parents’ marriage certificate if you’re buying a flat under the Multi Generation Priority Scheme or Married Child Priority Scheme, and a doctor’s certification of pregnancy or your child’s birth certificate if you’re applying for under the Parenthood Priority Scheme.
Of course, you should definitely bring along your marriage certificate and NRIC, as well as passports for non-citizens.
# 4 Downpayment
Remember that you will need to fork out the option fee in cash or by nets during your HDB appointment. This will cost $500 (2-room Flexi flat), $1,000 (3-room) and $2,000 (4/5-room).
Your option fee will also be reimbursed in cash if you have sufficient money in your CPF Ordinary Account (OA) to pay for your downpayment. Otherwise, this option fee goes towards the cash portion of your downpayment.
If you’re applying for a bank loan, this option fee will go towards your minimum of 5% cash portion of your downpayment.
# 5 Optional Component Scheme
One other cost component you need to think about before you go for your HDB appointment is whether to opt-in for the Optional Component Scheme (OCS). Do note that this adds to the overall cost of your flat – which can be paid using your CPF OA balances.
This scheme typically includes sanitary fittings and internal doors as well as floor finishes in your living/dining rooms and bedrooms, and in some cases a kitchen wall. For 2-room Flexi flats, there may be an additional option to include lighting fixtures, window grilles, kitchen cabinets, built-in wardrobe, water heater, mirror and toilet roll holder in the bathroom (Package 3).
You can check these costs on the HDB website before heading to your HDB appointment. You should also try to arrive earlier for your HDB appointment to check out the quality and finishing of the OCS options.
As a gauge, here’s what you can expect to spend on the OCS for your flat.
|Flat Type||Flooring For Living/Dining Rooms And Bedrooms||Internal Doors And Sanitary Fittings||Kitchen Partition Wall (If Applicable)#||Package 3|
|3-room (with balcony)||$3,550||$2,590||NA|
|4-room (with balcony)||$5,290||$2,980||$590-$750|
|5-room (with balcony)||$6,420||$2,980||$740-$900|
|3Gen||$6,540||$4,290||$670 to $900|
|3Gen (with balcony)||$6,700||$4,290||$670 to $900|
#Cost varies according to length
*This table is based on latest HDB estates listed on the HDB website
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