So much for a nice steady blog, eh? It’s been three months, but here we are – within Sharktower at last.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how collecting the keys works. Do note that these are based on our personal experience of purchasing a BTO 4-room flat directly from HDB, as a couple. So the steps and experience may vary from person to person.
Buy fire insurance
The default plan is $1/year, which covers the structures only. If your floors or items burn up, too bad. So we opted for the enhanced plan that covers our renovation works and personal items as well. It also has accidental death coverage. #kiasu (FYI, the enhanced plan comes on top of the default plan.)
Get a queue number
Sit down and wait, and make sure to watch the TV screen, not the red dot-matrix numbers.
Get your identity verified
Hand over your identification as well as the letter you receive in the mail.
Agree to the Home Protection Scheme insurance
This one, which is a couple hundred or so per year per person (paid through CPF), ensures that if one of the co-owners dies, the other isn’t stuck with a mountain of debt. The policy will help pay for the flat.
Agree to having them wipe out your CPF
Goodbye, stack of cash that I have accumulated over the years. And no, you can’t choose to have them take out the minimum (5%, in our case) and leave the rest. They’ll take everything.
Get briefed on the remaining loan amount and monthly instalments
Figure out how much gets deducted from whose CPF each month, and settle on how long your loan will last. We had to option of shortening it from 30 years (the longest possible) to 20 or so, but you can’t change your mind after that. So yeah we stuck to the longest option, which also means lowest monthly payments.
Sign a bunch of documents
I can’t remember offhand what exactly these are, but they’re basically the agreements to lease and whatnot. Just keep signing and signing.
Pay for your Service & Consultancy Charges
They’ll hold your keys and documents hostage as you go pay the fifty-odd dollars. This monthly fee funds the neighbourhood maintenance stuff, like cleaning of common areas, replacement of corridor lights, landscaping, and so on. Also I recently discovered this amazing service that helps to remove bulky items (refrigerators, televisions, whatever) up to three times a month – for free!
Typing all this has reminded me that I need to go set up GIRO transfer for subsequent payments; they don’t send you reminders each month. Also, the links above are for my specific town council, but the services I mention are pretty much universal for HDB estates.
Get your keyssssss
Finally! They’re separated into little keyrings based on function, and all of them are clipped into an adorable little pouch. They also give you an A4 portfolio case to store your paperwork. I’ve seen some people (via their blogs and stuff) get interior design magazines in this case… oh well.
And then you’re free to go! There’s also the option of applying for your Singapore Power services, but it’s a long line and you can easily do that online or through their mobile app. I used the latter and it’s incredibly painless; they even designed an interface for you to take and upload photos of your identification so you don’t need to locate a scanner. And anyway it’s not like they turn on your power/water immediately; there’ll be a separate appointment for that, where a friendly uncle (in my case) comes by to wave a magic wand at the fuse box and flip all the switches to the taps. Gas comes later; you really don’t need that anytime soon.
Here are a couple more photos of the view from Sharktower:
And now the next stage begins: renovation. There will be a long post on that. Soon.