What’s next after applying for a BTO?

Ah yes, the famously long and painful wait for a BTO is familiar to those who have made the leap to apply for that once in a lifetime purchase of a fresh, new HDB flat. The rush of the application, the stress of filling up those forms and rushing to submit them against the tide of an often slow HDB website.

We have to do so much that after the dust settles, we feel like we still need to do more even if we’re unsure of what that “more” actually entails

view of the HDB buildings in Punggol, Singapore

Punggol, HDB. Picture: iProperty

Well, we’re here to explain what comes next so you don’t need to worry!

It’s about time

Both literally and figuratively.

A BTO takes 3 to 4 years to build, but depending on the projects you bid for, it might be half that time.

The smaller projects usually take a shorter time to complete, and there is a chance of early completion for the larger projects if nothing major goes wrong. However, if you wish to cut down your waiting time even further, you can apply for the sale of balance flats or the re-offer of balance flats. These are launched 2 times a year and will tend to include units that were leftover from previous ballot exercises. You might be able to find some gems in there.

HDB in Kim Tian Road. Tiong Bahru

Kim Tian Road, Tiong Bahru. Picture: iProperty

Check your number

Once you have applied for the project you wanted, the ballot results will be out between 1.25 months for BTO, 2.25 for Sales of balance, 1 week for Re-offer of balance flats after the application period is closed. You will receive a mail to inform you the outcome of the ballot, and if you are lucky, your queue number. Queue number is totally random but you will have 2 ballot chances if you are a first-timer.

First-time applicants will still be considered as first-timers even if they got a queue number for an earlier project but were not able to choose the flats. If you’re feeling anxious, you can always check your application status.

See more: 17,000 new private homes could be launched in 2019 

Choose your abode

You’ve got a great queue number, and you have an appointment to choose your flat. Congratulations, you’re in! But hold your horses, because its time to really deep dive into the project site and pick a good unit.

You should definitely go to the project site on the HDB website and check for:

  • Maps and plan of the site for sunset and sunrise directions
  • Surrounding amenities
  • flat availability
  • description of neighbourhood
  • optional components and finishes
  • flat prices

After which, you should make a trip down to the site to see for yourself. Bring the site map with you, and really examine the location. If you want, go during sunset to see exactly how your flat will be catching the light.

This is also the best time to do your budgeting, as all the costing will be laid out for you on the HDB website.

See more4 Tiong Bahru HDB flats sold for more than $1 million

Document Preparations

This is also the time to do your application for HDB Loan Eligibility Letter (HLE) if you’re looking for a HDB loan. When you attend your flat
selection appointment, you must have a valid HLE to get a loan from the HDB. You will also need to prepare your past CPF statements and income documents and bring them to the HDB officer during your flat selection. Assuming you are eligible for special grants, you will also need to prepare other supporting income documents to lock those grants in.

Actual flat selection day

Remember to double-check that you have all required documents and plan to arrive early. The HDB, as with many other Singaporean government organisation, tends not to make you wait when you make prior appointments. Remember that you are required to pay a refundable option fee of between $500 to $2000 depending on flat type.

The option fee will also be reimbursed in cash if you have sufficient money in your CPF Ordinary Account (OA) to pay for your down payment.

Otherwise, this option fee goes towards the cash portion of your down payment. If you’re applying for a bank loan, this option fee will go towards your minimum of 5% cash portion of your down payment.

Post flat selection

Read before you sign the contract. Picture: Redbrick Mortgage Advisory

HDB will let you know that you need to drop by to sign the lease agreement, usually within 4 months of your flat selection appointment date.

During the signing of lease agreement, you will need your Letter Of Offer for bank loan if you are not taking the HDB loan.

During the signing of the lease agreement, you also need to pay 1-3% of the total sum in legal and stamp fees. There is also a 10% down payment due if you’re taking a HDB loan, and 20% down payment due if you’re on a bank loan. You can pay for this down payment by CPF or in cash.

If you intend to use your CPF to pay for your flat, be sure to set up your SingPass 2FA before you go to your lease agreement appointment. You will also need to remember to bring your phone or OneKey token when you attend the appointment.

See more: Changes in use of CPF funds for HDB housing loan

Collecting your keys

Compared to all the other steps, this part is easy! You’ll need to bring the following:

  • NRICs of all the people listed in your application
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Fire insurance documentation
  • Latest CPF statements
  • Completed GIRO forms

Remember, you must take out a fire insurance policy if you are using a HDB loan to pay for your flat. There are insurance providers at the HDB building itself, so just drop by early to get your fire insurance policy.

See more: How well-versed will VERS be?


There you have it. Every single step needed after you make that application to the point of key collection. There’s still more to do, like getting interior designers and renovation contractors, picking out furniture, etc.

But the most important thing to do is to enjoy the process, live the journey and have fun getting your very own abode!