Saturday, December 15, 2012

Because I promised to blog more often, I shall do a short entry on our BTO project. For those who are still unaware or is new to my blog, my boyfriend and I had finally decided to take the plunge and apply for a flat after 5 years of togetherness.

Some of you might think, aren't you guys too rash ? Are you sure he wants to marry you ? Come to think of it, it wasn't really a rash decision. I wasn't the one who initiated the flat application anyways. We talked over our plans to apply for a flat several times since year 2011 but because most of the sales launches were areas that we considered ulu/ inaccessible and we felt that we still pretty much in love with the city area, we decided to wait until HDB releases a launch that is near where we are currently residing in.

And so, we signed up for their sms updates and have been following their sales launches every month. If you want to sign up for their updates as well, you can do so here. Finally in May 2012, McNair Towers and Bendemeer Lights have been launched and the best thing is that both projects are just a stone's throw away from both our houses. Only downside is, indicative price ranges from S$322,000 to S$401,000 for 3 rooms and S$467,000 to S$595,000 for 4 rooms, which is no joke at all.

Anyways, our queue number was horrible. We got 825 out of 888 despite having 2 additional chances. I was really disappointed and lost hope of getting our desired unit cause we've looked through both projects and their floor plans and we only have 2 desired units in McNair Towers. Given our queue number, those units would have been gone by the time it is our turn to select a unit.

Bendemeer Lights (Standard Flat)

McNair Towers (Premium Flat)

Now you may ask, what is the difference between Standard and Premium ? In the past, or so I heard, Standard Flats have three quarter length windows in the living room, half length windows in the bedrooms and does not come with any floorings, finishes and fittings. In short, you get to design and customise the whole house to your liking. As for Premium Flats, living rooms comes with full length windows, bedrooms comes with three quarter length windows, and your house will come with fixed floorings, finishes and fittings.

But times have changed cause for our launch, the only difference between Bendemeer Lights and McNair Towers is the length of the windows and type of floorings that are pre-provided. For example, Bendemeer Lights being a Standard Flat have ceramic tiles for the kitchen and McNair Towers on the other hand being a Premium Flat comes with glazed porcelain tiles. Both types of flats now does not come with living and bedroom floorings and doors but you do have a choice whether to opt in or not and of course you have to pay for the opt in.

For us, it wasn't a tough choice to make between Bendemeer Lights and McNair Towers. We had a liking towards McNair Towers from the start and all we could do is pray that our desired unit is still available when it's time for us to select a unit.

And the day finally came. It was a torturous 4 months plus wait and true enough, our number one desired unit was taken up, leaving us with only level 5 and below, we decided to go ahead with our second choice at a much higher level. Nothing to lose except for the view since the unit we selected has the exact same unit layout as well.

Come to think of it, I have been Miss Fussy prior to the selection day because although we already made a long list of choices, we were still unsure of our choices on the selection day itself. Even our selected storey was changed at the very last minute cause we felt that our call number was actually giving us a sign. Fickle minded much isn't it. We have also decided to opt in for the doors and flooring as well. Figured it was more value-for-money since we get to pay them with our CPF monies and doing the floorings with private contractors are definitely gonna cost more than what we had paid for at HDB. All in all, our house costed us S$567,990 inclusive of floorings, doors and legal fees.

Since we balloted for a flat, it has been a really tough journey for the both of us. With both of us being abnormally hot headed, we definitely fought a lot more than usual but despite everything, I am still thankful to the boyfriend who compromises and gives in to me all of the time.

For those who are interested in the procedures to applying at flat with HDB, below is an account of what we had done.

1. Sign up for the HDB alert. You can subscribe to HDB's monthly launch here and HDB will send you an sms or email once they have a new sales launch.

2. Apply to ballot if you are interested. After you have received the notification indicating that a new launch is release, visit HDB's website and check out the indicative price, nearby amenities, floor plans etc.

3. Ballot for it and pray hard. There are guides on HDB's website on how to apply for the ballot and all it takes is 5-10 minutes and S$10. If you are unsure of the instructions provided, you can also head down to HDB and there will be staffs at the computer kiosk area to guide you through.

4. Ballot Result. We waited for around 2 weeks for the ballot results. Results will be released via email so do ensure that you provided a valid email during the application. Alternatively, you can also check the ballot result on myHDBpage.

5. Wait for the project bible. You will receive your project's housing booklet some time before your first appointment. The booklet contains all information that you need to know about the project and also the documents that you need to bring for your first appointment.

6. Date of selection. You will receive a letter regarding your appointment date and time prior to your appointment. When your appointment date is near, HDB will also send an sms to the main applicant's handphone to remind you of your appointment date. What we did was to have a few desired units in mind when we received our ballot results and when the appointment date is nearer, check out HDB's website again to see which units are still available and not taken up. It gets kind of disappointing to see your desired units or storeys being taken up though.

7. Apply for Housing Loan Eligibility. I heard from forumers that you can apply your HLE during the first appointment itself but for us, we applied for our HLE a week or two before our first appointment. With the HLE, you will know how much HDB is willing to loan you and your partner and you will also know how much upfront do you have to pay during key collection. I personally feel that it is good to apply for HLE before balloting so that you can do your sums better but the only downside is that your HLE might have expired by then and you will have to reapply which is quite troublesome I feel.

8. Selection day - 23 Sept 2012. Head down to HDB and select your unit. Remember to scan your letter to register yourself so that your number will be called for. We saw a couple who came in on time and was not called for selection and their number was skipped, leaving them to choose after the number behind them. The whole selecting process took us about 45 minutes thereabout ? There were quite a fair bit of information loaded into us and there were lots of documents to sign. The officer will also apply Additional Housing Grant for you if you are eligible and once everything is done, you will head to level 3 to make payment for your option fee, and then head back to the officer again and viola, you've secured your desired unit.

So now we are currently at this stage where we are waiting for our AHG application to be approved and thereafter we will get to sign the agreement of lease. It's been two months plus since our first appointment and I heard from some of our friends that the AHG can take as long as 4 months. To our horror, Angel and Xavier waited for 1 year for their AHG to be approved !! So there's basically nothing we can do other than wait for HDB's notification.

Can't believe I got carried away and wrote such a lengthy entry instead. Nonetheless, it was a joy to share with you guys the steps and feelings we had throughout the whole process. I guess this entry can be used to compensate for my disappearance from the blog-o-sphere as well ?

To those who are thinking of getting a flat, good luck and all the best !! To those who have already gotten a flat, congratulations !! Enjoy this wonderful experience with your significant other and let's all work hard for our first home (:

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