Securing a flat in Singapore can be a stressful experience for applicants.
What is Open Booking?
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) launches Build-To-Order flats, which will be sold through BTO exercises.
The leftover flats from these exercises, coupled with other completed flats repossessed or sold back to HDB, will be sold under the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise.
Flats left over from the SBF can be booked through the HDB portal under Open Booking.
Applicants can apply online at any time of the year, except for twice a year when HDB is preparing for a fresh supply of flats to be offered.
Open Booking of flats are on a first-come-first-serve basis instead of ballot.
Service helping people get 'target queue number'
To help applicants get their "target queue number", an online site SGOBF claims to offer a service helping applicants who have been unsuccessful in previous balloting exercises.
On the site, they claim that they are offering a customised service for a "very limited number of clients" to help them achieve a desired queue number in a "risk-free" approach.
Speaking to Mothership, SGOBF clarified that they are essentially a service helping people to fill out their application by using their "experience and expertise".
It is also largely "manual", and they claim that they do not make use of shortcuts to hasten the process using automation.
They clarified that they do not have a fixed price for their service and people are free to offer them "any fees" they deem their service to be "worthy" of.
SGOBF said that they are unable to "guarantee" a good queue number as "good" is subjective. However, they said they are "fairly confident in successfully helping someone who is not too particular about unit choice".
They also explained that what they are doing, in terms of helping with the application, is "no different" from helping those who are "computer-illiterate", or those who may not have internet access.
HDB "aware of" site
In response to Mothership queries, HDB said that they are "aware of the website, which is not endorsed by (them)".
They advise the public to "consider carefully" whether to pay and engage such a service considering the risks, which include whether a past success in getting a small queue position is replicable in future.
HDB said that there is also "no need to engage such a service", given the "simplicity of the application process".
Flat applicants are advised to submit their flat applications using the official platform, the HDB Flat Portal.
This portal was developed to provide more convenience for home buyers and sellers to gather information on the purchase or sale of a flat through a single integrated platform.
Flat applicants can also find out more information on the flat application procedure on the HDB InfoWEB.
Top photo via SGOBF, Unsplash/Amos Lee.