H1: Your Guide to Buying an HDB Sale of Balance Flat (SBF) or Open Booking Flat

H2: What is a Sale of Balance (SBF) flat?

H3: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying an SBF Flat

H3: SBF vs BTO – What’s the Difference?

H2: How and when can I view SBF flats?

H3: Exploring Your SBF Options

H3: What to Expect During an SBF Launch

H3: Applying for an SBF Flat

H2: How do I apply for HDB Open Booking flats?

H3: Understanding HDB Open Booking

H3: Applying for an Open Booking Flat

H2: I don’t have enough money for my BTO or SBF

H3: Financing Options for Your Flat

H3: HDB Loan or Bank Loan?

H2: Summary and Hot Take

H2: Subscribe to FMS Financial Insights
 
 
 
Your Guide to Buying an HDB Sale of Balance Flat (SBF) or Open Booking Flat

Are you looking to buy an HDB flat but don’t want to wait for a Built to Order (BTO) flat? Don’t worry, there are other options available to you. One option is to buy a flat through HDB’s Sale of Balance (SBF) or open booking system. In this guide, we will explain what these options are, how you can view and apply for flats, and what to expect during the process. We will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of buying an SBF or open booking flat, as well as financing options for your flat.

What is a Sale of Balance (SBF) flat?

An SBF flat is a flat that was not sold during previous BTO sales launches. These flats are typically leftover flats from previous launches or repurchased flats. The advantage of buying an SBF flat is that it allows you to jump the BTO queue. With BTO flats, there are limited options, and you have to go through a balloting process to secure a flat. SBF flats, on the other hand, offer more locations to choose from and a shorter wait time since the flats are already under construction or ready to move into. However, the chances of getting an SBF flat can be slim due to the smaller supply compared to BTO flats.

SBF vs BTO – What’s the Difference?

There are two ways to get a balance flat: through HDB’s Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) or open booking system. SBF flats are leftover flats from previous BTO launches, while open booking flats are leftover flats from previous SBF launches. The main difference between the two is that SBF launches happen twice a year (typically in May and November) and have over 1,000 units available, while open booking flats are available throughout the year and typically have fewer than 100 units available. SBF flats also offer more unit types and locations to choose from compared to open booking flats. However, open booking flats have a shorter wait time and can be booked anytime during the year.

How and when can I view SBF flats?

SBF flat exercises happen every May and November, and applications typically open for about a week. During the SBF periods, you can view the SBF flats available by going to the HDB website and clicking on the SBF tab. From there, you can view a map and select the estate you’re interested in to see the available units. The website will show you the address, unit size, and ethnic quota for each unit. This allows you to gauge your chances of getting a flat and make an informed decision.

What are Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) launches like?

SBF launches happen twice a year, typically in May and November. During these launches, you have to choose either the BTO or SBF route for each round of applications. The number of units and flat mix can vary for each launch, but there are usually over 1,000 units available across all flat types and locations. One advantage of SBF launches is that HDB provides a lot of information about each unit, including the block number, unit number, and ethnic quota. This allows you to make a more informed decision before applying for a flat. However, the sheer variety of options can also be overwhelming, so it’s important to carefully review the information and weigh all the factors before making your choice.

How do I apply for Sale of Balance (SBF) flats?

To apply for an SBF flat, you first need to check your eligibility. The eligibility criteria, income ceiling, and housing schemes that apply to BTOs also apply to SBF flats. Once you’ve checked your eligibility, you can submit an online application during the 1-week window that HDB usually gives for their BTO/SBF launches. After submitting your application, you will need to wait for the results, which are determined through a balloting process. If your application is successful, you will receive a letter with your ballot queue number and an appointment with HDB to select your flat. During the appointment, you can view the available units and book your flat by paying an option fee. You will then need to sign the official lease agreement and make the downpayment to secure your flat.

How do I apply for HDB Open Booking flats?

HDB Open Booking is available throughout the year, so there is no need to wait for a specific launch to apply for a flat. To be alerted to the next round of open booking, you can sign up for the HDB eAlert Service. To apply for an open booking flat, you need to check your eligibility and obtain an HDB Flat Eligibility letter or Approval in Principle letter from your bank. Once you’ve done that, you can submit an online application and pay the $10 admin fee. After submitting your application, you will receive a queue number and an appointment to book your flat. During the appointment, you can book the flat by paying an option fee and sign the official agreement. If the flat you booked is already complete, you can collect your keys on the same day as signing the agreement.

I don’t have enough money for my BTO or SBF

If you’re worried about not having enough money for your BTO or SBF flat, there are concessions available to help with cashflow. For example, if you and your partner are fresh out of school or NS, you can defer your income assessment until 3 months before key collection. There are also schemes like the Staggered Downpayment Scheme and Deferred Downpayment Scheme that allow for a more manageable payment schedule. The Staggered Downpayment Scheme is available to first-time couples under 30 years old or current homeowners looking to downsize, while the Deferred Downpayment Scheme is available to elderly homeowners looking to downsize. Additionally, there is a Temporary Loan Scheme available for those who are in the process of selling their current flat.

HDB Loan or Bank Loan for my BTO or SBF?

When it comes to financing your flat, you have the option of getting a home loan from HDB or a bank. The HDB loan is the default choice for many new homeowners because it doesn’t require a downpayment and has a lower interest rate (currently 2.60% p.a.). However, if you have enough cash for the downpayment, a bank loan may be a better option as it typically has a lower interest rate. It’s important to compare the current interest rates offered by banks with the HDB loan interest rate to make an informed decision.

Summary and Hot Take

Buying an HDB flat through the Sale of Balance (SBF) or open booking system is a great option if you don’t want to wait for a BTO flat. SBF flats offer more locations to choose from and a shorter wait time, while open booking flats are available throughout the year. However, the chances of getting an SBF or open booking flat can be slim due to the smaller supply. It’s important to carefully review the available options, check your eligibility, and weigh all the factors before applying for a flat. Additionally, there are concessions available to help with cashflow, and you have the option of getting a home loan from HDB or a bank. Consider your financial situation and compare interest rates to make the best decision for your needs.

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Benjamin Low
Benjamin Low

Benjamin is known as The Passive Income Guy. He has helped hundreds of people to build passive income. He is also a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, and Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) and Certified Private Banker (CPB).

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