most Singaporean guys have to go through this stage.
No lah, not training to be soldiers.
One of these days, you’ll be asking your girlfriend the most romantic question ever.
…get a BTO with me?
We’re just going to pretend that’s a very happy yes. #actblurlivelongerandallthatjazz
Applying for a BTO flat can be pretty tedious and confusing, so being the kind soul that I am, here are 10 facts about BTO in Singapore couples need to be prepared for.
Or your marriage might fail even before it becomes a reality. #truestorybro
If you’re interested to watch this instead, here’s a video we’ve done for this topic:
And since if you feel that it’s useful, consider subscribing to our YouTube channel lah.
Prefer to read? Okay, here goes.
1. Requirements to apply for BTO
So, you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship and pledge your life to her forever.
Before you even take that step off that cliff, you need to know if HDB is prepared to accept your application.
You’ll be applying under the Fiance/Fiancee scheme and you need to be over the age of 21.
And the most important factor is that your combined income cannot be more than $12,000 per month for a 4-room or bigger flat, or $6,000 for 3-room flats in selected BTO projects.
Every time HDB release a sales launch, they’ll indicate the ceiling income as well so be sure to check hor.
Also, since BTO is a subsidised scheme mainly for Singaporeans, at least one of the couple applying for the flat must be a Singapore citizen.
Your partner can be a Singapore PR but you must pay an additional $10,000 for your flat.
You can recover that $10,000 via the Citizen top-up grant when your partner becomes a Singapore citizen, or you managed to pop out some mini-Singaporeans.
Oh, and you’ll need to produce a marriage certificate by the time you collect your keys.
2. The Amount Given For Special CPF Housing Grant Has Doubled Since 2015
If you’re a first-time applicant for HDB flat, great news! Why? Because the government is giving you more money lah. Sort of.
Since Nov 2015, couples are able to get up to $40,000 for the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG), up from $20,000 before Nov 2015. Not bad aye?
And that’s not all. If your combined income is lower than $5,000, you’re also able to get the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) on top of the SHG.
You can agar-agar check what you might be able to get below:
Now here’s the T&C: To be eligible for the grant, at least one of the couple must be employed at the time of application.
And said person must also have continuous employment for the previous 12 months.
Notice we said that the government is sort of giving you money. That’s because the money will go straight to your CPF, and cleared directly from your CPF so you’ll feel rich…on paper.
3. Sorry ah, Applying For A Flat Near Your Parents =/= Extra Grant
Ever since news broke about how HDB is giving out a new grant called the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG), people have been running around like headless chickens.
Okay, not really, just a bit of confusion.
If you’re hoping for an additional grant by applying for a BTO flat near your parents, you won’t get it.
The PHG of $20,000 only applies if you’re buying a resale flat.
If you apply for a BTO flat within 2km or the same town as your parents, you’ll stand a higher chance of getting your BTO flat.
But that’s not all hor.
If you happen to put your parents’ names into your application, they cannot shift out of the area for the next 5 years after you collect the keys to your new flat.
Take note ah, is 5 years after key collection. Not from the time you apply for BTO hor.
So don’t suka-suka go put their names in. Discuss first then see how.
4. The Size of HDB Flats Is Getting Smaller & Smaller
For those of you who think that a 4-room flat is big enough because you’re used to staying in your parents’ home, think again.
Since HDB first started, the size of HDB flats has been shrinking. Dramatically.
In the 1980s, the size of a 5-room flat was 123 sqm. The 1990s, 120 sqm.
In the 2000s, the size of a 5-room flat is 110 sqm.
Yes, the size of your parents’ 4-room flat.
Just for your info, a 4-room BTO flat in 2013 is about 94 sqm. Usable space? 90 sqm.
But here’s the good news: most of the shrinking floor space comes from the kitchen.
Which brings us to the next point.
5. Kitchen wall is not offered in the Optional Component Scheme liao
With your kitchen growing smaller, the last thing you’ll want is a wall there to make the space even smaller.
Even HDB knows that so they’re not even going to give you the choice of getting a kitchen wall in their optional component scheme.
You might be thinking, yes! Open concept!
Take it from someone who has been there: Clean up is a bitch.
6. If you’re strapped for cash, go for Optional Component Scheme (OCS)
Unless you’re an A.S.K, you’ll be prudent when it comes to renovating your house.
Yes, prices for renovation work in Singapore is very competitive nowadays, but it’ll still cost a bomb.
But here’s a hack to save some money: go for HDB’s optional component scheme (OCS).
In their scheme, they offer flooring finishes, doors, toilet bowls and wash basins with mixer tap.
And the design really looks pretty nice.
You can go to HDB Hub @ Toa Payoh to check out the designs of the OCS offered for your BTO project.
And the best thing? You can pay for it via CPF.
Of course, there are rumours about how the quality is inferior to what you can do outside.
But hey, if you’re super tight now, just do a renovation in the future when you have more disposable cash.
7. Your house toilet can macam be like hotel toilet liao
Notice we said that HDB will give you mixer taps in the OCS?
You know hotel rooms, right, where you can get hot water from the shower head as well as the wash basin?
You can have that in your own house too. And it’s standard for every BTO flat.
HDB’s new flats come with hot and cold water pipes.
So all you got to do is to connect a water heater tank and voila, every tap in your house toilets (including shower head) has hot water.
And if you get a water heater tank, it can supply hot water to the entire house. That’s right, just one unit and one installation fee only.
Just make sure to switch it off every time it’s not in use.
8. You cannot transform your service yard into your balcony
I bet most, if not all of you have always wanted to have a balcony at home. A place where you can chill in private while enjoying the clear blue sky.
If you think you can convert the service yard into one such place, don’t bother.
For one, it’s a tad bit too small. And two, unless you’re into a balcony with window grills, you won’t want to do it anyway.
In a bid to standardise the outlook of HDB estates, every household must get HDB-approved window grill designs only for their service yard.
So for those thinking of invisible grills, perish the thought…but wait, there’s a loophole. If you have windows, then you won’t have to get HDB-approved window grills. Yay!
But wait, is a service yard with windows still considered a balcony?
9. First-Time Applicant Privileges
If you’re applying for a BTO flat for the very first time, you’re considered a first-time applicant and get extra privileges.
This means you’ll have two ballot chances to strike in the draw for queue number,, as opposed to someone who doesn’t have first-time applicant privileges.
And if you don’t get a chance to select a flat this time around, you’ll have three ballot chances the next time you apply! So on and so forth.
And that’s important ‘cuz the supply of new BTO flats is limited.
According to a report, HDB is releasing 17,000 new BTO flats in 2018. And in the February exercise alone, they’ve released 3,600 units.
That means there are only 13,400 units left.
Now, let us apply our awesome math skillz in this.
When you apply for a BTO project, you can’t put your name in any other BTO projects so you might miss out on the sales launch for the next one.
That means for this year, you’re competing for 8,500 units.
Now compare that to ROM’s statistics: an average of 21.7k couples got married across 2007 to 2016.
And the fact that there are projects in popular and unpopular areas, and you know you’re in for a tough fight.
Despite the fact that some might go for EC, DBSS or just private property.
10. What happens when you break off?
For those who say that boyfriends using apply for BTO together? as a way to propose is unromantic AF, you’re wrong.
After all, there’s nothing more romantic, or touching, when a guy is willing to put money where his mouth is.
If you guys were to break it off anytime after booking a flat, or even within 5 years after key collection, your house will be makaned by HDB, deposit and all.
Not only that, if you’re given any grant, you’ll have to pay it back to the government…plus interest.
For example, if you took a $20,000 grant from HDB and used $10,000 of the grant to pay the downpayment.
If you break up, your flat (together with the $10,000) will be makaned and you’ll have to pay back $20,000 plus interest.
After knowing that, isn’t it sweet that your guy is willing to take the risk and go ahead with it anyway? Aww.
So there you go. 10 facts about BTO you need to know before getting hitched.
You’re welcome! 😉
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