Migration: Keep or Return the BTO?

Hello Nix,

I am a 25 year old Singaporean who enjoys reading your blog. But I am trapped by the gahment of SG. Last 2 years, my gf and i committed to purchasing a BTO. At that point of time, we had thoughts on migration, but in 20 years and the destination would be Malaysia. To cut the story short, after going on a holiday to OZ last year, together with my GF and our friends, we had solid plans to migrate there. Now the only thing stopping us is, the BTO. After our holiday, i had no hesitation to let go of the flat and risk just losing the 2k deposit and solely concentrate on the migration journey. But my GF insisted that we should keep the flat in case something happens and it is something we can fall back upon in case our migration journey isn't working well. Alas we had already make the downpayment and here i am still questioning if we made the right choice.

The house will be ready in 3 years, but we can't rent or sell the house for 5 years. To be able to rent out, we have to appeal to HDB and show them proof that we are relocating oversees to work. Here's where the big problem comes in, I can't go there to look for a job while still having a job here in SG, because job hunting requires me to physically be there and attend the interviews. I read that its tough to secure a job in OZ while I'm still here in SG and the best way is to actually be there. Furthermore, I cant give up my job in SG and go to OZ to look for a job because i still need CPF contributions to pay for the BTO. I feel that this is the biggest hurdle of the migration journey.

My plan is simple, give up on the BTO, return all grant plus interests and lose the downpayment amount to HDB. My GF isn't very fond of my idea because the downpayment is made by her CPF and i had 0 contributions thus far (because of my long journey of ITE, Poly and then NS). By cutting all ties with HDB, we will have 1 less thing to worry about, debts with HDB. And we can just concentrate on the migration journey; such as enrolling myself in TAFE to look for an occupation in the SOL in case my GF's application falls below requirement. We aren't bounded to save more money either since we dont need to pay for renovations of the BTO.

Ideally, I wanna migrate ASAP and my target is in 3 years. The problem is that we only realise we want OZ a tad too late and we had committed to this, BTO, Being Trapped Over-here. My friends told me to stick with the BTO, and then rent out or sell trouble-free after 5 years. That would make me 33, losing 5 points because of age. I prefer to move over younger, when I am free to explore before i settle down and have kids.

I rue the decision we made so please share with us, your take on our situation. Looking forward to hear from you!


Hi Danny

Hmm.... I don't know where to start.

I'm not sure how many of us out there keep an option or two to fall back on when we get married. You know.... lest the marriage didn't work out. In some ways, migration is like getting married. You don't always know exactly what you are in for, despite having to do as much "research" as possible before committing.

Look, I'm not implying having something to fall back on isn't a good thing. A contingency is good but my advice is, if you were to migrate, do it as though you do not have back up even if you do. Do it with the correct mentality or don't start. Otherwise your Plan B will always be a tempting option whenever a hurdle comes along. And there will be hurdles, trust me on that.

If you have committed to a 99 year lease, I wouldn't recommend giving it up and getting your down payment forfeited. Never let the HDB or any other government agency take your money. They have to work for it. Money is better thrown in Bedok Reservoir to create a satisfying 'plop' than handing it over to an agency for nothing.

The situation is clear cut for me. While waiting for your BTO to be completed, spend these 3 years figuring how you are going to migrate. You mentioned the solid plans but did not elaborate. So I'm not sure where you stand. Do your research and make sure one of you are qualified and will be able to perform a successful application. Tip: No one said you have to do the application only after the BTO MOP is up. Save up as much money as you can within these 3 years.

I doubt either of you will be eligible to apply for the PR within these 3 years yet (again, I wasn't provided details) but may be from the 3rd - 8th year (during your MOP). It'll take time to get your application done up and there is always a waiting period (depends on your occupations). By the time you get your PR, your MOP may be already up. Sell up, rent out, do whatever you want. If you get your PR before the MOP is up, you can always move to Australia first to look for a job and bring the wife over when its done. By then you will have spare CPF in the CPF account to service your loan for a few months until the MOP is over.

Something as back up or something to hold you back?


  1. 5 bucks say the BTO will tie him down to Sinkie and he'll never move.

    I never got myself chained to Sinkie like that, and it probably contributed to my ex divorcing me.

    But hey, there are many pussies in the undies out there. When you get your PR and move you'll have your choice of pussies.

    Sinkie pussies, Aussies pussies, it doesn't matter what pussies they are as long as they make you cum. Then that is a good pussy!

  2. i think it's ise to keep the BTO, generally, can sell for a profit after 5 years. besides, your OZ application hasn't started, thus, you dun know whether they approve your Application. finding job in oz is not tough, as long as you roll up your sleeves and be a blue collar worker. working as a plumber or electrician makes more than a lawyer in here.

    all the best, a sinkie in melb.

  3. Migration requires thorough planning and money. It took me years between my first thought of migration in my early 20s to working toward getting the PR to finally moving and landing a job overseas.

    While it is preferable to migrate when we are still young in our 20s, many people migrate in their 30s after they have gathered some work experience and savings.


  4. Apply for the PR now if you are eligible and have the money for the application.

    PR requirements may change once in a while and application fee is increased every year.

    Once your PR is granted, you still have 5 years to jump ship.