To OCS or not to OCS, that is the question. Sure, you save on renovation costs. But if you love a blank slate, the Optional Component Scheme is perhaps not for you.
Eyeing upcoming BTO launches in hopes of snagging a unit?
If you’re new to the BTO scene, you may not know that once your long-awaited BTO flat is finished and you have the keys in hand, it’s not possible to move in right away. That’s because newly finished BTO flats are in their most barebones state: picture a stark white HDB flat with no internal doors, no sink, no toilet bowl and no fancy flooring installation, with nary a floor tile in sight (yes, it’s pretty rough).
Given the clean slate nature of fresh-from-the-oven BTOs, there’s a lot of renovation work to be done for it to look and feel like a home.
As a homeowner, you have two options:
- Get your renovation contractor, who will helm the design of your entire home, to take care of all the fittings and furnishing to match the exact style of the house
- Hit the ground running by opting for HDB’S Optional Component Scheme (OCS) and have your home be in an almost move-in state when you get the keys from HDB
What is Optional Component Scheme?
As an HDB buyer, you can choose to have optional components such as sinks, bedroom doors and floor finishes installed and get the basic but essential fixtures out of the way.
As a result, you will be able to settle in your new flat in quicker fashion as it’s already in a more livable state from day one. To make things more convenient, the costs of these components will be added to the purchase price of your flat. This allows you to pay it all off in one go using your CPF savings.
What can I get with Optional Component Scheme?
What you can get with this scheme is dependent on your flat type as they are indicators of different lifestyle needs. For example, buyers of the elderly-friendly 2-room Flexi flat can choose to install built-in kitchen cabinets and lower the height of their kitchen counter (ideal for those who are wheelchair bound).
For 99-year lease 2-room Flexi flat, 3-room, 4-room, 5-room, and 3Gen flats:
For short-lease 2-room Flexi flat:
As these fittings make up the absolute essentials of a house, don’t expect Pinterest-friendly features the likes of subway tiled backsplashes and chevron vinyl flooring for this scheme. In comparison, the finishes and tile designs aren’t nearly as exciting but they are presentable and neutral enough to complement any interior design concept you might have in mind.
For example, these are the floor finishes and wall tiles for the famously over-subscribed Dakota One BTO project:
Should I go for Optional Component Scheme?
It’s a great no-frills option for first-time homeowners with a tight renovation budget. Given that the average cost of home renovations in Singapore is notoriously steep and can set you back up to $32,000 for 3-room flats and $52,100 for 5-room flats.
If you have enough in your CPF to cover these add-ons, you may enjoy zero out of pocket costs and successfully bring down your renovation costs. The flexibility of this scheme is also a plus, especially for those with discerning taste. You can choose to opt for only the internal doors and sanitary fittings while you let the renovation contractor handle the more design-driven elements of the house.
To put things in perspective, here are the costs of the optional components for Tampines GreenOpal, a BTO project launched in August 2020:
However, from an aesthetic standpoint, it’s best to manage one’s expectations so as not to get underwhelmed. These HDB-issued designs won’t quite stack up to the myriad of options you would typically find from a renovation contractor.
If having a blank slate to work with excites you, it’s best to forego the scheme and make the HDB home of your dreams a reality instead. Another point of concern: it’s not uncommon to hear grumblings from homeowners regarding the workmanship quality of OCS.
As a BTO homeowner, you would need to decide what your priorities are before you opt for OCS in order to avoid feeling any regrets down the road. More importantly, if you’re keen on getting these components, be sure to budget them accordingly as you would need more out of your CPF or home loan to cover the extra costs.
Try out SingSaver’s Home Loan Comparison Tool
On the hunt for your next property? Maximise savings by checking out our home loan comparison tool, the quickest and easiest way to find the most affordable home loan in the market.
Read these next:
Step-By-Step Guide To Buying Your Very First HDB BTO In Singapore
HDB BTO Launches In 2021 (Bukit Batok, Tengah, Kallang – Whampoa, Toa Payoh – Bidadari, Woodlands, Bukit Merah, Geylang)
How Much Do You Need To Buy Your First Home In Singapore?
HDB Loan Vs Bank Loan: Which One Should You go For?
8 Hacks To Improve Your HDB BTO Ballot Chances
By Marissa Saini
Your friendly neighbourhood cat enthusiast who enjoys not being broke. Spend less, save more is the name of the game. Firm believer that being financially savvy is not about the destination, but the friends you make along the way.