Tuesday, January 12, 2010

House Hunting (HDB Flat) in 2004

A requirement for eligibility to buy an HDB flat is you are either a PR or a Singaporean. Once we got the approval letter for our PR application - in Sep 2004 (after living in Singapore for 4 years), did our formalities Oct 1, then we immediately set out on our hunt for our home away from home.

Here are some of our considerations:
  • BUDGET - how much do we have? how much can we afford? Since buying a flat entails paying for a down payment (during our time it was 20%), we had to make sure that we have enough money to pay for the down payment PLUS all other costs involved in buying a flat (eg. agent fee, lawyer fee, stamp duty). We also had to consider if we could afford the monthly amortization. Another thing is if we will be given the 80% loan by the bank. We were also thinking of a price that we could pay off as soon as we can as we didn't want to have a loan for the rest of our lives.
  • LOCATION - we preferred an area which is recently developed and with amenities (eg. grocery, market, schools, bus stops, MRT station, LRT station) nearby. This limited our search to Sengkang area, which during that time, had one of the newest buildings in Singapore. The NEL MRT can easily bring hubby to the city to work. It would also not be too crowded since it was quite a new estate.
  • FLAT TYPE - how many bedrooms? what is the layout? how big is the unit? These are some of the criteria we needed to consider. We wanted a 4RM flat so we would have 3 bedrooms. Just right for a growing family (I was 8 months pregnant then) so we could have a playroom and a bedroom for the kids. We also wanted a bigger unit, that is bigger than the one we were living in during that time (which was a 3RM flat). As for layout, we didn't have much of an idea that time. So it was good that we were able to view different types of flat layouts.
  • RENOVATION - do you want a fully renovated flat or a bare flat that you can renovate according to your specifications? For us, a renovated flat would be good as long as the price is reasonable. We have seen flats which were renovated but were asking for a very high price. And there were also almost bare units which were sold at a very cheap price.
  • NEIGHBORHOOD - it should feel right. Not too eerie. With good neighbors, hopefully.
After about a month of flat-hunting (this is considered really fast), we found a flat that appealed the most to us and closed the deal the day after our viewing. It had met all our requirements.

- location is Sengkang, near a bus stop and LRT station.
- there is a grocery, a market, a mini-mall (Rivervale Plaza), eating places and other services just across the street.
- there are schools nearby, within 1km radius.
- the church is just 10-15mins walk.
- the mall (Compasspoint) and NEL Sengkang MRT station are just 2 bus stops or LRT stations away.
- it is a 4RM flat, 101sqm (which is considered big for a 4RM flat), with a layout that we were contented with. It has a hallway leading to the 3 bedrooms from the living room. The common toilet /bath is very much accessible to the  2 common rooms (unlike other flats we've viewed wherein the toilet/bath for the common rooms are located in the kitchen).
- it was well renovated. There is a tv console cum cabinet with glass and drawers. The kitchen and laundry area are well-maintained. The tubings were hidden behind make-shift cupboards. The master bedroom has A LOT of built-in cabinets (which I personally loved). The master bathroom has a bathtub cum jacuzzi (which was the main selling point hahaha) and cabinets with mirrors and a whole lot of lighting (like that of a diva!).
- there was no COV (cash over valuation) and we were able to bargain for the price.
- last, but not the least, the previous owner (seller) introduced us to the 2 neighbors and they were quite friendly and welcoming.

Overall, we consider our house hunting a success. We were very happy with the flat we chose. And we are very thankful to our ever reliable agent.


  1. czyreil,

    dragonfly po ito from PinoySG. (although rarely na ako nag lo log sa PSG).

    thanks for sharing this blog. i was scouting for some information about how to buy HDB.
    Although medyo matagal na kayong nakabili, at least im sure the process is still roughly the same.

    thanks for sharing..

  2. Hi Glenn (dragonfly), you are most welcome. My goal is really to be able to share, and also get some feedback and learn from other people's experiences through sharing here in my blog.


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