Have you seen the new HDB list of fresh BTO (build-to-order)s up for grabs? We can already see pictures of the new flats coming to us in all their renovated glory in a few years. But of course with all the red tape and jargon of HDB, it can be pretty tough going through all the steps of picking your brand new hovel home. The steps are all on the HDB website. But don't worry, we're here to simplify and highlight all the important bits that most people forget

PART ONE: BASIC APPLICATION
1) Pick your delightful home on the esales webpage.

2) Take note of important information
All this should be discussed in earnest with your other half, cause:
-Based on the pricing of the home can you afford to make the 10% downpayment (with/without grants) and the 25 year loan when the home is ready?
– Do you have enough time to wait for your home to be completed (4-5 years!)- Is this the location you want to live at for the next five years or longer?
 
BASIC APPLICATION FACTS
– As a first time applicant you get two ballots for the flat
– Living close to your parents gives you four ballots but no extra money for your grants
– If you're a young couple, pick one to be the main applicant and one to be the co-applicant, you will be considered joint owners of the flat. The only difference between the two roles is that the main applicant will get all the necessary documents sent to his/her home. The other can just smile, nod and wait patiently. (Ignore the occupier part. That's only for couples who are going for multi-generational flats.)
 
3) Check if you're eligible for the grant 
BASIC GRANT FACTS
– To be eligible for the grant one partner must have worked for at least a year and have drawn at least a year's worth of CPF.
– The maximum grant you can get is $40,000
– If your combined average pay a month is under $5,000 you will get the full $40,000. This will be split into both applicant's CPF accounts ($20,000 each.)
 
Key points on the amount you will get for your grant
– 
The maximum grant you can get is: $40,000
– If your combined average pay a month is under $5,000 you will get the full $40,000. This will be split between both applicants. If your pay is above $5,000 the grant will be smaller, but depending on how much you earn, you might still be able to get a good amount! 
 
How do they calculate your average pay per month: 
– They will count your monthly CPF contributions and pay one year from when you apply for your flat. 
– This is also important to note for when you apply for your HLE: Let's say you apply for your flat in September 2014, they will take into consideration your pay and CPF contributions from September 2013 to September 2014.
 
4) Click apply!
To be honest, you can just follow the steps, but it's good to be prepared, so here's what you will need:
– Both yours and your partner's particulars
– Both yours and your partner's gross monthly income for the current and past two months. (If your pay hasn't come yet, just give the most recent three months worth of income slips)
– $10. Admin fee payable through credit card.
 
And then… You wait. And pray you get a good queue number.
 
PART TWO: CHOOSING YOUR UNIT AND GOING FOR YOUR HLE
So you've got your queue number! Congrats! Now just before you apply for your unit there's a few things you need to do:
 
Apply for HLE (Housing Loan Eligibility)
– This is where all your paper work come in. And must be settled way before your second appointment. We'd suggest applying for HLE straight away.
– First head to CPF to download a year's worth of CPF statements
– Then download a year's worth of payslips. Make sure you PDF it all and prepare them in a folder.
– For students, prepare your transcripts just in case. Sometimes HDB requires you to send it to them.
 
Pick your unit

– You'll get a link to your estate where HDB will helpfully list down (and include a map) of the units and estate so that you can pick your options. 
– We'd suggest heading to Toa Payoh HDB Hub to get a peek at the physical building so that you know which units to choose. 
– Make a list of at least 12 units. If you're 50% into the queue, you might not even get your top 12 options, so choose as many as you can.
– The list is constantly updated, so check again a few hours before your appointment so you won't be left floundering in front of your HDB officer.
 
When you meet the HDB officer
– You'll need $2,000 cash (NETS is fine) as a deposit. You'll get it back once you pay your downpayment at your second appointment.
– Decide beforehand if you'd like to opt for flooring, doors etc. (The options can be viewed at HDB Hub.)
 
Once you've done all that, and you've received the orange folder walk out of there with your head held high and the hope that your grant would be enough to cover you for a long time.