$$$ KPO and CZM $$$: BTO HDB Key Collection & Door Opening Ceremony

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

BTO HDB Key Collection & Door Opening Ceremony

Yay, we have finally collected the key to our BTO HDB after waiting for around 4 years!

Let me share what was the process like and the things we did to prepare for it!

1. When the time is right, you will receive an SMS/email from HDB.

SMS came first

2. Logged on to HDB to retrieve your Letter of Appointment.

It looks something like this.

Under normal circumstances, one would not need to prepare so much cash on the appointment date. Ours was so high because we applied for the BTO many years back when we were on a single income. CZM was working while I was still in the university. As a result, the HLE we have gotten then (~$200k) was not enough to loan/cover the remaining amount (~$400k). Anyway, a few weeks before the scheduled appointment, you should have received an email/letter asking to review/update the HLE. Do that and most should be fine.

3. Buy Etiqa Fire Insurance

This is probably the cheapest insurance you will ever find. The premium is < $10 and it is for 5 years. The caveat is that it does not cover the home content among other things. We have yet to research/compare further on home insurance because the house will be empty anyway for the next few months. You can either buy it online (< 5 minutes) and print out the policy or buy it on the day itself at HDB hub.

4. Open an SP (Singapore Power) utilities account

Similarly, this can be done either online or on the day itself at HDB hub. The benefit of doing it online is that it takes time to process/open the account and we were able to activate the electricity and water in advance/same day as the key collection. You will be prompted during the online application to select an appointment and the good news is you do not need to be present.

5. Discuss and plan your finances

Regular readers will know our strategy which is to pay the bare minimum (another 5% + fees) and loan for the longest possible time (25 years). In the past, HDB will wipe all your CPF OA and to prevent that, we have been transferring our OA to SA.

The good news is HDB announced last year that they will allow flat buyers to keep up to $20k going forward. Finally making some sense, after all we should have more say in our CPF money right? Anyway, we calculated our total OA and made another transfer to SA ($1k each) to stick to our strategy. Using an amortization calculator, we knew roughly how much we will be paying monthly too.

6. Prepare for the big day! (May not be relevant to you)

Apart from the documents (HLE, marriage certificate, fire insurance, etc.), we were also preparing for some ceremony under the request of our parents. Similar to our wedding, doing small little things to keep both sides of the parents happy. Otherwise, we will just buy a pineapple, roll it, shout "Huat ah" and done. lol.

Our parents brought us to those neighbourhood Chinese traditional shop that sells incense, hell notes, etc. Told the lady boss we are moving to a new house and she sold us the above "package" (~$5) to pray/seek blessing from the Home Spirit as part of our door opening ceremony. We were also told to prepare fruits in multiple of 5 (no idea why).

These were what we prepared:
- 1 pineapple
- 5 apples
- 5 oranges
- bunch of 5 banana
- salt, rice, green beans and temple/praying flower (my mum calls them 花水)

7. Big Day - Key collection at HDB Hub!

We reached about 30 minutes before our appointment time, took a queue number and shortly, we were attended to before the scheduled time.

1. Signed a few documents after the HDB officer verified the relevant documents
2. Take turn to log into CPF
3. I told the HDB officer that we would like to keep $20k each in our OA (default is they will just empty your OA) with a 25 years loan
4. Once the relevant numbers have been entered into the system, you will be told the monthly mortgage to be paid going forward
5. Answered some health-related questions to purchase the home protection scheme (HPS)

The whole process was pretty quick and before you know it, you now have a huge debt... Remember to take some Instagram worthy shot with the bunch of keys.

8. Go to your new house!

You can pick an auspicious date first. We merely check some online lunar calendar if the date of our key collection was inauspicious. lol. Before heading to your unit, find and open up your letterbox, there should be some documents/instructions manual + some equipment to "open"/turn on the water.

These were the things we did:
- Knock on the door
- CZM prepares to take Instagram worthy video while I opened the door, rolled the pineapple in and shout "Huat ah"!
- Say some auspicious phase e.g. 开门大吉, 身体健康, 平平安安
- Open up all the windows and doors
- Mixed the flowers with salt and water and sprinkle the "holy" water around the house
- Sprinkle rice and green beans around the house
- Place all the fruits in the centre of the living room. Light the candles and joss sticks, pray and burn everything in the "package"

We certainly enjoyed ourselves as this was another one of our milestones - our first home!

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  1. Congrats! I remember getting the keys to my home many years ago. It was an unforgettable experience. I like your strategy ;)

    1. Thank you TI! Yeah, definitely unforgettable. Haha.

  2. Hey KPO and CZM,

    Congratulations for your new home! That's really alot of auspicious things to do.

    1. Thank you TBWP! I know right, most of them do but don't know for what. Just follow only. Hahaha.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you UN! When will Enreitch has its own opening ceremony too? Haha.

  4. Congratulations and build many happy memories in the new home!