Getting your HDB BTO flat is a massive leap into maturity. Well, it’s not a leap per se; you’ll have to take several tiny steps towards your goal, analysing options and dealing with bureaucracy.

Along with buying a home, you’ll need to manage the costs for a home renovation using a renovation loan or with your savings.

It’s kind of like an ancient rite of passage, but with more documents and less dancing (or blood).

So, roll up your sleeves, put on your reading glasses, and prepare to adult. Just like how you need to complete in-depth research for reliable financial institutions, it is the same for HDB BTO applications too!

The article below will be your trustworthy sidekick, guiding you through the perilous world of finance, applications, and – even worse – finance applications. Whether you’re a single independent individual or a couple applying for a BTO, we have the information for you.

Keep reading below.

1. HDB BTO Eligibility Conditions

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You have to respect several eligibility conditions if you want to become an HDB BTO owner, such as:

• You have to be a citizen or apply with one. For example, you could send a joint application with a spouse who’s a citizen or PR in Singapore. Alternatively, you can bid as a family nucleus, with:

– Your spouse and children

– Your parents and siblings

– Children in your legal custody if you’re widowed or divorced

• If you’re applying with your fiancé(e):

– Through the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant, you have to get married before buying the flat.

– Without any grant, you have to get married within three months after getting the property.

• You can only apply for two-room apartments in non-mature estates, if:

– You’re bidding by yourself. In this case, you must also be a Singapore citizen and at least 35 years old.

– You’re married to someone who’s not a citizen but has a work pass or visit pass.

– You’re a single citizen of at least 35 years old who wants to get an apartment with up to three other citizen co-applicants.

Your income is an essential condition for the type of apartment you qualify:

• Your income is capped at $7,000 or $14,000 for two and three-room flats, depending on the project. So, check the sales launch for an exact figure.

• Your income is capped at $14,000 or $21,000 for apartments with at least four rooms. The sum depends on whether you’re applying as an extended or multi-generation family.

You can’t apply for an HDB BTO flat if you own another property in Singapore or abroad. The restriction includes private or HDB properties that you bought, inherited or acquired in any other way. If you’re currently the owner of any such accommodation, you should give it up 30 months before applying to an HDB flat.

Pro tip: You shouldn’t just consider HDB’s conditions; take yours into account as well. The first step is making a thorough budget with all your income sources and expenses. That also includes clearing all your debt.

Now subtract your expenses from your earnings to see what’s left. This amount should be enough for your:


House loan

Potential renovation

But these are the expenses you’ll have to deal with after purchasing your HDB BTO flat. There are other costs before too:

StageBTO flat from HDBDBSS or EC from the developer
Application$10It depends on the developer
Booking your flatOption feeOption fee (5% of your flat’s price)
Signing·        Stamp duty

·        Advance payment

·        Stamp duty and legal fee (1-3%)

·        Advance payment

Getting your keys·        Stamp duty

·        Legal fees

·        Home Protection Scheme

·        Fire Insurance

·        Purchase price balance

·        Home Protection Scheme

·        Fire Insurance

·        Other potential costs the developer may require



2. The Ballot

Keep an eye on the official website to inquire about future sales launches. The projects are announced six months before the actual launch, so there’s enough time for planning.

Once you’ve got your eyes on an apartment, pay $10 for the ballot.

You may not be successful from the first try, so keep participating. Also, don’t despair when there’s no result; it takes about three weeks to determine if your bid was successful.

The factors that should influence your bid are:

• Location: Your flat should be nearby all your interest points, such as your workplace, MRT stations, shopping malls, etc.

• Size: Your new flat should be comfortable enough for your entire family.

• Nearby amenities: Ensure you’re within easy reach of amenities you need, such as a park to walk your dog, playgrounds for your kids, or a gym to unwind after work.

• Price: The apartment’s price should be within your budget.

Pro tip: Use HDB’s eAlert Service for updates.


3. The Right Loan

It’s HDB home loan versus a bank loan!

Before applying for an HDB BTO loan, check your budget with HDB’s calculator. Alternatively, you can consider a bank loan, especially if you have more savings.

Here’s what these two options offer:

 HDB LoanBank Loan
Interest rate2.6%1.3%-2.4%
Income cap$14,000 for familiesIt depends on the credit provider
Maximum loan amountIt covers 90% of your apartment’s priceIt covers 75% of your apartment’s price
Down payment10%20%
Cash advance paymentYou can pay your entire advance cost from your CPF account5% cash advance required
Early repayment fee0Varies among banks
Late repayment fee7.5%/yearHigher, depending on the bank and your loan conditions
Documents requiredHDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letterAIP (Approval in Principle) Letter

As such, an HDB loan covers more of your apartment’s price and is easier to secure. However, the rates are lower with bank loans, thus rendering them more affordable in the long run.


4. BTO Selection

Your queue number reflects your priority in picking the HDB BTO apartment of your dreams. Even though it might take a few tries to succeed, you’ll get there.

So, remember to have all the necessary paperwork with you.

Apart from your identity card and HLE/AIP, you’ll need your income proof. The list of income documents consists of:

Three months’ payslips if you’re employed full-time

Six months of income documents for other types of employment

Proof of unemployment, if you’re not working

Nature of EmploymentDocuments to Submit
Employed person
  • Three months’ payslips preceding the month of application


  • Letter from employer
Self-employed person
  • Latest NOA or Statement of Annual Accounts certified by an audit firm


  • Valid Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) Computer Information (Business Profile) or valid license of trade


  • Undertaking affirming the average gross monthly income for six months preceding the month of application
Part-time worker
  • Six months’ payslips


  • Letter from employer
Commission-based person
  • Six months’ commission statements/ payslips


  • Letter from employer
Odd job worker
  • Latest NOA from IRAS


  • Letter from employer
Unemployed person (between 18 to 62 years old)
  • Undertaking affirming the unemployment status


  • Valid Student Pass or letter from school/ college/ institute of learning to confirm student status, if currently a full-time student
  • If unemployed for less than three months, the following documents are required:
    • Income proof for the preceding month(s) from the previous employer stating gross monthly income and last day of service
    • Latest 15-month CPF contribution history


At the meeting, you’ll have to pay a selection fee:

• $500 for 2-room flexi flats

• $1,000 for 3-room apartments

• $2,000 for 4-room or larger flats

This meeting is also when you’ll apply for a housing grant, so check the various Priority Schemes available, such as:

Priority SchemeAimed at:
Parenthood (PPS)Married people with underage children
Multi-generation (MGPS)Parents and their married children/ in-laws
Married Child (MCPS)Married children who must secure accommodation close to their elderly parents
Third Child (TCPS)Couples with at least three children
Assistance Scheme For Second TimersDivorced or widowed people with underage children who want to live nearby their parents

 Pro tip: Zero in on several apartments before your appointment. Thorough research means considering factors like:

On-site visits

Bus and MRT stations nearby to the places where you need to get

The cardinal points towards where the windows are pointing

Main road arteries nearby

Distance from bin centres

Lifts and staircases inside the building

Nearby schools, shops, and amenities

Neighbours and locals


5. HDB/BTO Lease Signing

You must sign that lease within the following four months after your reservation. That means you have plenty of time to arrange your loan.

Don’t forget to prepare the down payment – especially the 5% in cash if you’ve taken a bank loan.

If you chose a HDB loan, the downpayment is 10% in CPF or cash.

If you chose a bank loan, the downpayment will be 5% in cash + 15% CPF.

You might need a separate personal loan for this advance, plus the following:

Stamp duties

Legal fees

You’ll need the documents below when signing your HDB BTO lease:


Bank passbook

HLE letter for HDB loans

Letter of Offer for bank loans

Current CPF statement

Option fee receipt

Pro tip: HDB’s Staggered Downpayment Scheme allows you to disburse the down payment in two installments. The first payment is when you’re signing the lease, and the second is when you’re getting the apartment keys.

That brings us to the following step:


6. Key Collection

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After going through all the bureaucracy above, it’s time to relax. The HDB will let you know when to come and get your keys.

Now is the time to celebrate.

Your adventure is just beginning. Here’s a glimpse into what’s next in store for you:


7. Loan Repayments (BONUS)

You’ve finally secured your HDB BTO flat, but your financial quest isn’t over. Now, you have to start shelling out those monthly loan installments.

These sums depend on several factors:

Principal amount based on your apartment’s value

Term length

The interest rates


In Conclusion

Just like we promised in the introduction, now you know all about the HDB BTO application process. You will have to plan the road ahead, research eligibility conditions, and shop around for various flats.

It is normal for Singaporeans to apply while they are in university or once they’ve started working. It takes quite a few years for the BTO to be built, which is also delayed due to COVID.

It’s essential to make your budget before starting on this road. Ensure you have enough cash to purchase your flat by considering the future bills and loan installments.


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