S’porean Couple Gets The #1 Spot For Their BTO Application, Kinda Thanks To Their Parents

5 April 2023 | BY

Here’s how Sam and Lin got the coveted first spot in the BTO queue by applying via one of HDB’s priority schemes.

bto queue

One of the most anticipated moments for most Singaporean couples is opening the email from HDB that contains their BTO queue number. Everyone who receives that email is always hoping for a low digit which not only means that they balloted successfully, but also means that they get first dibs on their preferred flats like high-floor units or living rooms with an unblocked view.

Back in 2017, one Singaporean couple – and their parents – were blessed by Lady Luck when they opened their inbox to see that they got the coveted first spot in the BTO queue. Now, 6 years later, they’ve moved into their new home and are eagerly documenting the whole process and sharing their reno learnings over on their YouTube channel, @thesuakus. But first, here’s how they achieved the feat.

Getting the first BTO queue spot via the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme

sam and lin collecting their keys to their bto queueSam and Lin collecting their keys.
Image credit: The Sua Kus

Sam and Lin first applied for their BTO back in 2017, hoping for a shot to start a family in Clementi. However, they went about it in a slightly different way by applying under the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS).

How the scheme works is that 2 sets of applicants are required: the married couple, and either set of their parents. If they’re successful, both sets of couples will get 1 HDB flat each. There are some caveats though: while the married children can apply for 2-room Flexi flats and bigger, the parents can only apply for a 2-room Flexi or a 3-room flat.

So Sam, Lin, and one pair of their parents decided to apply for a 4-room and 3-room flat respectively during the February 2017 BTO exercise for Clementi Peaks. And when April came around, they found an email in their inbox letting them know that their combined application was given the queue position of #1 under the MGPS.

BTO queue email notifying them that they got first placeImage credit: The Sua Kus

However, that was not the only queue number they received. Their first position was the Joint Queue Number, where both children and the parents will select their flats together. Each couple also received an individual queue number for the Public Scheme – Sam and Lin’s queue number for this was 195 – that they would have to follow if they were unsuccessful with the MGPS. 

If either party makes a last-minute decision to back out of the BTO application process, then the entire application will be voided, including that of the other party. Thankfully, Sam, Lin and their parents moved forward with their application, and being first on the list, they could call dibs on any of the flats in the MGPS pool.

the sua kus hdb 4-room floor planImage credit: The Sua Kus

When it was time for Sam and Lin to go select their flats, they decided to go with a high-floor unit with unblocked views of Western Singapore. And then after 5 years of construction work, they finally collected their keys on 13th September 2022.

Documenting their renovation on social media

couple with dog in the master bedroom - bto queueImage credit: The Sua Kus

With so many content creators in the home and living space in Singapore, Sam and Lin were not one to be left out. They started The Sua Kus on Instagram, YouTube, and most recently, Lemon8.

Almost every aspect of their home journey, from collecting their keys to picking out tiles, has been meticulously documented across the various platforms, with some of their top-performing content including a video about tiling tips that garnered over 45 thousand views.

How to improve your chances of getting a BTO

One question all couples who are applying for a BTO flat will ask at a point in time is: “How can we improve our odds of getting a BTO?” While HDB’s secret on how they pick balloters has yet to be revealed, some methods could potentially improve your chances of being successful.

For starters, all first-time applicants will automatically be given priority in the ballot. To put things into perspective, around 95% of 4-room and bigger BTO flats in mature and non-mature estates will be chopped for those applicants.

If you’re already in the second or third round of application, then you can take a closer look at HDB’s priority schemes to see if they apply to you. Some of the most common ones with a high allocation rate, aside from the aforementioned MGPS, include:

  • Family & Parenthood Priority Scheme* (FPPS): Up to 40% of BTO flats and 60% of SBF flats
  • Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS): Up to 30% of BTO flats for first-timers, and 5% for second-timers
  • Tenants’ Priority Scheme: Up to 10% of 2-room Flexi and 3-room BTO/SBF flats

*This scheme will replace the current Parenthood Priority Scheme during the August 2023 BTO exercise.

HDB Priority Schemes

You can also apply for multiple schemes if you fall under them, like the Third Child Priority Scheme (TCPS) and the Family & Parenthood Priority Scheme. You’ll then be balloted under TCPS first, and then the FPPS if you’re unsuccessful for the former.

These schemes might have some niche requirements, but since they will have a percentage of flats reserved for their applicants, you might stand a better shot at having a roof over your head. 

Getting #1 spot for BTO application

The BTO application process can be a dice roll, with some couples nearing their 10th attempt yet still no queue number on the horizon. If you would like to improve your odds of scoring a flat – or possibly being the first in the queue like Sam and Lin – then look into applying via one of the many priority schemes like the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme.

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Cover image credit: The Sua Kus

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