Home: BTO vs SOBF vs ROF

Hi all! Post-call today and quite tired, but I realised I have been quite MIA for awhile and news of the new BTO launch this coming august got me excited to share how we chose our BTO 🙂

From my past experience, you are only allowed to enter the balloting for only one of these schemes if they are offered simultaneously during the launch, i.e. in this August, if both BTO and ROF is offered, you can only ballot for either one of the scheme.

Image result for choices meme

Unfortunately, life always gives us choices and our gahmen is no different. Usually BTO and ROF/SOBF launches are simultaneous and hence, you will have to decide if you are going for Sale of Balance Flats (SOBF) vs Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF) vs Built to order Flats (BTO) in a particular sales launch.

Built to order flats (BTO) 

This is the one we are mostly familiar with. A new estate with new flats yet to be built with a waiting time for 3 years and above (although our lovely gahmen promised shorter waiting time).

Pros 🙂 

  • More units to choose from within the estate
  • Generally higher chance of getting a number within the number of available units
  • Cheaper (usually, but not always)
  • You have the option to opt in for the optional component scheme (OCS) although from the news articles and HDB website, it seems that most flats will have compulsory OCS fittings included in the house pricing to shorten renovation time

Cons 😦 

  • Longer waiting time than the other 2 schemes

Click here to see the allocation of ballot chances for BTO launches.

Sale of Balance Flats (SOBF) 

This is where they gather up all the leftover and returned flats from various areas and consolidate them into one SOBF exercise. When you ballot for this scheme, you can only choose to ballot for 1 area (example Bukit Timah or Queenstown or Bukit Batok, etc.) and the units available for that area would be shown when the SOBF is launched. In a given area, there can be balance units for more than 1 BTO project and can also include repossessed units (usually in better locations).

Pros 🙂 

  • Shorter waiting time (with some flats already having keys available!)
  • More choices in locations within the same area (due to the fact that once you ballot for an area, you generally have dips in many different past BTO projects)
  • Great for those who are looking for repossessed flats (i.e. RESALE AREAS) as HDB usually sells it cheaper than resale unit prices at the exact same location

Cons 😦 

  • You have no option for OCS and if the previous “owner” who chose your current unit opted in for OCS, you have no choice but to inherit it (along with the additional cost)
    • In our case, our flat had OCS except flooring and even had the kitchen wall partition built (the wall cost 700!!!) so there goes our open kitchen dream T.T
  • Lesser number of flats available as compared to BTO launches (well excluding areas bursting with BTOs like sembawang, bukit batok, etc.)
  • Greater chance of getting “not-so-hot” units as your choice of units are mainly leftover from BTO projects, so hot units are lesser (not impossible!) as compared to a brand new BTO launch

Click here to see allocation of ballot chances for SOBF launches.

Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF) 

This is a relatively new concept just launched this year and the first launch is coming this August 2017! From what I have read from news articles so far, it seems that they are re-offering the leftover units from previous SOBF launches. For example, this August, HDB will have ROF for November 2016 SOBF. For ROF, you don’t ballot for a particular area unlike SOBF, but you are thrown into 1 big ballot pool for all units leftover during November 2016 SOBF and based on your ballot number, you can choose from any area for any unit available in the ROF.

Pros 🙂 

  • This is the only scheme where you have the flexibility to ballot for all areas (i.e. you can try for both matured and non-matured estate without giving a care about the ballot ratio)
  • 95% of ROF units are reserved for first timers
  • Shorter waiting time (just like SOBF)

Cons 😦 

  • No option for OCS (whether to opt in or to not have it if previous “owner” chose it)
  • Greater chance of getting “not-so-hot” units as your choice of units are mainly leftover from BTO projects and another round of sifting called SOBF, so hot units are lesser as compared to a brand new BTO or SOBF launch

Click here to see allocation of ballot chances for ROF launches.

Some tips to consider when deciding which scheme to ballot for:

  • Always, always go through the location and units available before choosing
  • For ROF/SOBF, go through the units available before deciding on balloting
    • Having only 1 unit you like in the whole area does not warrant you choosing that area!
  • Look at the application ratios! (usually I stalk till the last few days to decide)
    • A 1 or less ratio means a guaranteed ballot number within the number of units available

P.S. look out for subsequent posts where we will share how we prioritised and chose our area of ballot!

In our voyage to get our flat, we have ventured into resale, BTO and EC, do look out for this space as we share more about our home journey!

May the odds be in your favour this August 🙂


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