• Timothy

BTO or EC: Communication is Key

Updated: Feb 27

Okay, so now we’ve gone through the very basics of the two housing types, we can discuss a bit more about the thought processes you should consider before making a decision.

Communication is Key

Now this is so important that I’m making this a post by itself.

This is for the young couples out there. As I’ve mentioned in the previous post, this is a HUGE financial commitment. Don’t forget that you’re not making the decision alone. In order to be qualified for either a BTO or EC, you will probably be on the fiance-fiancee scheme*.

In my latest EC application, on balloting day, there was this young couple who sat beside us, and for the entire few hours, did not talk to each other, apart from a few simple sentences. They were almost in their own world altogether. The guy was on his handphone, surfing the web and composing some long emails. The girl was writing their potential units down on a piece of paper.

That was REALLY strange, for two reasons:

  1. If you’re in the know, the actual balloting day can be super stressful, because when your ballot number is called, you will be pressured into making a SUPER snappy decision on what unit you want to get. Unless you are super lucky, there will be many many couples before you who are also vying for the same choice units as you. As such, it is highly advisable to pick at least 50 choice units prior to the actual balloting day, so that you come prepared. This couple obviously did not get the memo.

  2. For a day that would more or less determine whether you can afford decent meals for the next 30 years, this couple seemed to take it very chill. The girl was not even referring to the price list as she made up her list of choice units. She was just referring to inner cover page, which contained the artist’s impression of how the estate would look like, to pick her units. This is totally not the way to do it. After drafting up her list, she did not even talk to her boyfriend and showed him what she chose.

What did we do?

After visiting the showflat, we had a week to discuss and decide what were the units we wanted. We met twice in that week specifically to:

  1. Discuss what our future plans were:

  2. Were we gonna have kids in the near future? (this will determine the flat size)

  3. Will we have any parents / grandparents who may want to stay with us (again, flat size)

  4. Discuss our motivations for purchasing the flat:

  5. Why do we want to buy an EC over a BTO, knowing that it’s a lot more expensive?

  6. Will we get used to the condo life and not be able to shift back to a HDB lifestyle?

  7. Discuss our financial goals:

  8. How does buying an EC contribute to our long term financial goals?

  9. Will we be able to afford the down-payment, and the monthly mortgage loans?

  10. Job stability – do we foresee ourselves being able to at least sustain our current salary packages for the next 10 years?

Only after such discussions were we confident that we would go ahead to buy an EC. We then proceeded to choose the top 50 choice units we wanted (the eventual list would exceed that by a lot).

If you’re a person of faith, then I would encourage you to also pray and seek wisdom for the decisions ahead.

If either of you have a mentor, I would also suggest that you raise the topic of purchasing an EC with them, and have a good discussion together. For both of us, we have a couple who is about 20 years our senior, and who happen to be quite financially savvy. They own 2 private properties, and fit our criteria in terms of the knowledge domain that we needed.

After having the greenlight from ourselves, our mentors, and also our parents, we then proceeded with confidence to the next step.

*The fiance-fiancee scheme allows you to purchase a flat/EC before you get married, BUT you must be married by the time you collect the keys. In order to successfully collect your house keys you will need to show your marriage certificate as proof. Read the criteria from the HDB website here.

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