Remember in my previous posts I mentioned that we wanted to settle BTO first before anything else? So a year ago, the then boyfriend spontaneously submitted an application for the March 2014 BTO on the last day of the registration without asking if I’m okay if it’s for the Punggol BTO (not that I mind anyway but I would honestly prefer it to be in the West side since I’m Westsider and always will be).
The Build-To-Order (BTO) is a responsive system offering flexibility in location and timing for flat buyers. Eligible buyers (planning to shift into a new HDB apartment in the near future) can apply for apartments in their preferred location from the specific sites launched. (more info on BTO process here).
Sadly, our balloted number exceeded the supply of units available BUT lucky for me since I can wait for the Jurong BTO 🙂
However, we realised that the BTO process is very taxing and it’s better to confirm that you have your own house first before you are married (and we realised ONLY after applying that HDB will give you more grant if one of you is unemployed/studying/NSF). In July, there was another BTO and we immediately registered (this time under my name) for Punggol – there’s 2 areas for Punggol – Waterway Sunray and Matilda Court and the other areas are Sembawang, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun. I was adamant of not getting a house in the North as I can’t imagine myself commuting via the North-South line and definitely not Woodlands for obvious reasons. Since the GTB lives quite near to Waterway Sunray, we thought why not and who knows if we qualify for more grants, right?
So I submitted my name.
You will receive an immediate email to note that they receive your application. Within a month, you will receive a snail mail with regards to your application and how many chances you will get.
After receiving this email, both the GTB and I waited patiently for our balloted number. We thought we might stand a good chance since there’s 2 areas for Punggol. In the midst of this, we were preparing for our small engagement!
Within 2 weeks, we received an email.
I was literally screaming inside my head! Alhamdullilah, we managed to “secure” a flat number. Now this is a tricky part I believe. If your number is really awesome say 1-100, you will receive the email/package/appointment number at an earlier estimated time than me. Since our number was 288, we waited for what felt like eternity to get our package.
But within 2 weeks, we received our package! By this time, my boyfriend is officially my fiancé 🙂
Now, we got our package on the 11th September and our appointment was on 28th October! Imagine our anxiety and excitement to choose the flat. Here’s my tips for those noob BTO couples like me:
- Have at least 10 choices when choosing desired flats (unless your balloted number is between 1-50, then you may want to have 1-5 choices because there’s a good chance that you will get your desired flat).
- Take note that wherever your desired flat is facing, it will be more expensive. Same goes to the level you want. My honest opinion is, don’t choose a flat that is near the rubbish chute as you will have to endure the smell of it every morning (not that I mind since my house is directly 5 storeys above the rubbish chute). Then again, to each his own and luck!
- If you have 2 BTO areas for your desired area (like Punggol for this instance), don’t just look at 1 area. Choose 10 desired flats for both. Unless again, your balloted number is between 1-50 refer to point 1.
- Be thorough with the important documents you need to bring as they will access your salary from this moment on (as I am really meticulous, I kept referring to the Annex of any important documents that I missed)
More information about the DO’s and DON’Ts when choosing your flats, you can google and read about their reviews. I think there’s tons from couples about their experience on it.
Moving on, we made a mistake of not looking at Matilda Court since:
- Waterway Sunray was less than 5km away from the GTB house
- Matilda Court is nearby the Matilda house (click here to know what is behind the story)
- Our number was 288 and most likely our desired flat would be taken by other earlier balloted numbers and
- Since we are a minority, the number for Malays/Indians/other races are less than 10 for every block 😦
All our 10 choices were at Waterway and we really checked every day that it is not being taken up by another couple. So imagined our happiness when it was our appointment day and out of the 10 choices, left only 1 unit that we wanted and 1 slot left for a Malay unit!
As we entered and met the HDB person, we told her the unit we wanted and she said, “Oh, the malay couple in front of you JUST bought the house”. You can’t imagine the moment of sadness for the both of us 😦 So at that very spot there and then, we chose a unit at the other BTO – Matilda Court. I can really hear the GTB’s heart shattered ok! He really loved Waterway Sunray!
Anyway, we chose the unit (thanks to me as well because I foresee that we might not get a unit at Waterway Sunray) that I had in mind and proceeded with all the paperworks and option fee of $2000 (for a 4 room flat). Here’s another tip guys:
- Make TWO copies of all CPF statements/contributions and your salary statements a year from your appointment date as it helps to make the process faster – they will send in AHG/SHG and HDB Loan application forms for you
- If you only have 1 copy of each, then you have to send in all the forms on your own
After we bought a flat… Wow. I finally feel like a real adult. Hahahahah!
After the first appointment is done, you will receive:
- A copy of the Option to Purchase documents – that states how much is your flat price, additional costs (we took floor finishes only)
- Purchase price
- Confirmation form
- Option form about what to have in your flat (a choice of internal timber doors, sanity fittings, floor finishes or kitchen partition wall)
- Preliminary financial worksheet (which will change once you get your keys and they will re-calculate your CPF contributions)
- Your unit plan!
- You may or may not receive an orange file to store all your documents – complimentary from HDB 🙂
We will see you soon, Matilda!
That’s the end of our first appointment with HDB. Part 2 of BTO process will be in the next post!