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Steps in buying a BTO in Singapore

Steps in buying a BTO in Singapore

There are many properties available for sale, such as condominiums for sale, HDB for sale and also landed property for sale. However, getting a BTO seems to be the most affordable option. To get a BTO flat is a big milestone in your lifetime. But to get a BTO flat can be as tedious as it seems. With so many BTO launching, you start facing different issues. You do not know where to start, how to start and when to start. You get confused with the steps, the processes and the terms when it comes to buying a BTO flat. Keep on reading to find out how you can apply for a BTO smoothly with lesser tedious work by reading this step by step process guideline.  

Communicate with your partner

This is an important element that most people missed out on. As we know that you need to have a partner before you can apply for a BTO, make sure you communicate with your partner before making such big decision. You certainly do not want to end up not getting married in the end and have your down payment wasted after that. After all, it is a big commitment. Do communicate with your partner to prevent making the wrong decision. Also, communication prevents major fights in the future between your partner and you. 

Check your eligibility

After the discussion with your partner, you will need to screen your eligibility to purchase a BTO flat.  To purchase a BTO flat, you must:

1.     Be at least one citizen of Singapore and apply with at least one citizen or permanent resident as family nucleus, such as spouse or kids., parents or siblings.
2.     Apply with your fiance(e) and register your marriage within 3 months or before the possession of the flat if you are applying for special CPF housing grant.
3.     Be a single citizen that is aged 35 and above for a 2 bedroom flats in non matured estates.
4.     Be a Singaporean with a non citizen spouse who has a working pass or visit pass for a 2 bedrooms flat in a non matured estate.
5.     Be a single citizen that is aged 35 and above and applying for a BTO flat with a maximum of 3 single citizen co-applicants for a 2 bedroom flats in non matured estates.

You will also need to make sure you are qualified for the BTO flat that you are applying, based on your income:

1.    $6,000 for a 2 bedrooms flexi flat; or $12,000 for a short lease flat with maximum 45 years lease.
2.    $6,000 or $12,000 for a 3 bedrooms flat in non matured estates, depending on the project that you ballot for; or $12,000 for matured estates.
3.    $12,000 or $18,000 for a 4 bedrooms or bigger flat, if the flat is used for multi generation family.


After meeting the eligibility of buying a BTO flat, you can start looking for a BTO flat around the area you desire that suits your needs and wants in terms of location or others, and try balloting for the BTO flat online. You will need to pay $10 to ballot for a BTO flat. Do wait patiently as you will need to wait for approximately a month time to get notifications on whether you have succeeded or failed to ballot for a BTO flat.  

Applicant type
1st time applicant
2nd time applicant
Normal/Public applicant
2 chances
1 chance
Married Child Priority Scheme (Near parents)
4 chances
2 chances
Married Child Priority Scheme (With parents)
6 chances
3 chances

HLE letter or AIP

Thirdly, you need to get an approval in principle (AIP) from your desired bank if you require a bank loan. Another alternative is that you can apply the HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter if you require a HDB loan. The difference between a HDB Loan and bank loan is that HDB Loan is 90% LTV whereas bank loan is only 80% LTV. The HDB Loan also allows you to pay for a lower down payment, however, HDB loan offers less flexibility. As for bank loan, it requires a higher down payment but comes with greater flexibility. Do take caution that the validation for HLE is only 6 months. More information on ways to apply can be found here

Next, after getting a notification on your success ballot for a BTO flat, you will then be invited by the HDB person in charge to choose your desired flat. Once you have chosen your desired unit, you may start the purchase process and pay the option fee on the spot:

4 or 5 bedrooms executive flat
3 bedrooms flat
2 bedroom flats

After that, you can start looking for grant available from Special Housing Grant (SHG) and Additional Housing Grant (AHG). SHG is a housing subsidy that covers both the low and middle income families with grant ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, subject to buyer’s income. As for the AHG, it is a scheme that aims to help Singaporeans with lower income to purchase their first flat with grant ranging from $5,000 to $40,000, subject to buyer’s income as well. To qualify for an AHG grant, your household income should not exceed $5,000 per month, for a period of 12 months before your application for the flat.

Lease agreement and downpayment

After 2 or 3 months, you may sign the leasing agreement within 4 months of booking the BTO flat. You are also required to make payment for the down payment, conveyancing fees and stamp duties. The total of downpayment you are required to pay is dependant on the type of loan you take. For bank loan, the downpayment is 20% of the property. 15% of the 20% can be paid via CPF or housing loan. However, the last 5% of valuation have to be paid through cash. As for HDB concessionary loans, downpayment is 10% of the property’s valuation. In addition, all of the 10% can be paid via CPF or housing grant. 

As for the stamp duties and legal fees, you are allowed to pay by using a combination of CPF and cash. The stamp duty fees that you need to pay are:

First $180,000
Next $180,000

After you settle on the lease agreement and down payment, all you need to do is sit back and relax. In conclusion, the steps to getting a BTO unit is not that tedious after all, provided you follow the guide and plan ahead to avoid going through the unnecessary issues. You can understand more on the process of getting a HDB flat by reading step by step guide to buying your first BTO flat.


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