Guide To Buying A New Flat

Buying an HDB flat isn’t rocket science, but it can be scary. To help you new homeowners out there, here’s a guide on how to apply for your new home.

Updated on June 15, 2017 12:06 pm

Valerie Tan


Buying a home can be both an exciting and daunting experience for many. You’re on the brink of being the owner of a brand new home, but at the same time, there seems to be so much to do! Fret not, here’s everything you need to know.

There are various schemes that one can apply under the Built to Order (BTO) Exercise but these are the most common schemes:

1. Fiance/Fiancee Scheme. This is suitable for engaged couples or newlyweds. Under this scheme, applicants need not be married at the time of application, but will have to produce proof of marriage when they are invited to select a flat—an appointment that will take place about four years after the application is approved.

If any of the applicants are below 21 years old but above 18 years old, a special Marriage License from the MSF (Ministry of Social and Family Development) and a written consent by the parents or guardians have to be submitted during the flat selection appointment.

2. Public Scheme. The public scheme is most applicable to families. If your parents and children live with you, you’ll be eligible to apply for a 3-Generation (3Gen) flat. The 3Gen flat is designed to provide ample space and privacy for your entire family. These homes come with an estimated floor area of 115 square meters and special features such as two master bedrooms with en suite bathrooms to support the needs of a larger family.

3. Single Singapore Citizen. Under this scheme, an applicant will have to be at least 35 years old, buying an HDB flat for the first time and is not married, widowed, or divorced. There is also the Joint Single scheme and the Non-Citizen scheme. The former allows a maximum of four applicants, while in the latter, the applicant has to be a Singaporean but the co-applicant or spouse need not be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.

Now that you know some of the schemes, here are the next steps:

1. Check HDB’s website to learn about the latest announcements of new flat sales (commonly known as BTO).

2. Decide on the location, the type of HDB unit (Studio Apartment, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 3 Gen units), and find out the indicative prices of the unit. Find out if your income or joint household income exceeds the income ceiling. Take note of the balloting date and standby at your computer!

3. On the date of balloting, you’ll have to pay an application fee of $10, which you can do via a credit card. After doing so, follow the steps on the screen and submit your application.

4. Wait for HDB to notify you if your application's successful. This can take about a month.

5. While you are waiting, you may want to find out if you are eligible for Housing Loans from banks and the HDB. You can also check if you are eligible for grants such as the Special CPF House Grant (SHG) or the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG).

6. If your application for the flat is successful, you will be invited for a first appointment to book your flat.

7. Present your Housing Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter from HDB when you sign your Lease of Agreement, or your Letter of Offer from the banks if you are taking a loan from a financial institution. A downpayment for your new flat, including one to three percent legal and stamp fees, is required and can be paid using either cash or CPF.

8. Last but not the least, collection of keys! When your flat is ready, HDB will send you a letter inviting you to collect your keys.

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Cover photo by CH Thyng


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