Flat Buying Journey: Saying Yes to the Flat

Home is where the heart is – it’s where we spend time with our loved ones, and look forward to returning after a long day out. For couples Joel and Tabitha, Jihad and Nafisah, and Kenji and Vanessa, that’s exactly what home means to them.

Recollecting their flat hunting journey, these home owners share how they found ‘the one’, the things they appreciate most about their flat, and what prompted them to say ‘yes’.

Love at First Sight

With the intention to purchase a forever home, Joel and Tabitha knew they would be searching for a 5-room flat. Upon stepping into the flat in Sengkang, they were immediately drawn to its rectangular layout.

“We wanted plenty of room for our potentially growing family, as well as space for hosting our extended family. That was why we were drawn to the spacious communal area of this flat,” Joel and Tabitha say. Beyond the spaciousness of the unit, the couple could envision themselves living in what is now their current home.

Joel, Tabitha and their son, Micah

“We loved the energy of the house,” Tabitha says, recounting the flat viewing experience. “It was filled with life, especially as the previous owners’ children were running about. We didn’t have children of our own then, but we knew we wanted to start a family. Seeing the space helped us envision our lives in the flat.”

The spacious living room doubles up as a play area
Joel and Tabitha retained the layout of the rectangular kitchen

With the $60,000 in housing grants that they received, the first-time home owners eventually paid $560,000 for the 10-year-old flat. “We really appreciated the housing grants, as they freed up funds for other big ticket items such as renovation works and furnishings,” the couple shares. 

When purchasing their homes, flat buyers can enjoy housing grants such as the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) and Proximity Housing Grant. For instance, eligible first-timer families can benefit from grants of up to $160,000 for resale flats, and $80,000 for BTO flats, making their flat purchase even more affordable. Read to find out more about the different types of housing grants.

Joel and Tabitha also appreciate the flat’s proximity to amenities such as supermarkets, coffee shops and a childcare centre. “Everything we need is within a few minutes’ walk, it’s really convenient,” Joel smiles. “For instance, the childcare centre that our son attends is located at the ground floor of our block!”

Grocery shopping is conveniently done at supermarkets located a stone’s throw away

The couple’s home is also located near Tabitha’s family and workplace, which was what eventually sealed the deal. “We love hosting our family, and living near my parents makes it easy for them to visit their grandkids often. In fact, we decided on this flat as we were walking over to my parents’ place after the viewing,” Tabitha laughs.

Watch to find out more about Joel and Tabitha’s flat purchasing journey:

Growing Attachment

Like Tabitha and Joel, Jihad and Nafisah love the location of their home. Nestled in the heart of Sembawang, the couple’s abode is within easy reach of transport nodes and green spaces. The flat is also conveniently located near Jihad’s workplace.

Jihad and Nafisah

As nature lovers, Jihad and Nafisah enjoy leisurely strolls along the jetty at Sembawang Park. They would occasionally have picnic dates at the park’s open green space whilst enjoying the sunset view. “We’ve grown to love the tranquillity of the neighbourhood. Living here provides respite from the hustle and bustle of city life – something that we look forward to, especially after a long day at work,” the couple says.

Jihad and Nafisah appreciate the tranquillity of their Sembawang neighbourhood and its pockets of greenery

While connectivity to green spaces is one of the things they love most about their home, Nafisah confesses to having initial doubts about Sembawang’s accessibility to facilities. “Having lived in more central areas previously, I was used to being close to town. Before we bought the flat, we made it a point to test out the transport system here. That was when I realised that commuting everywhere was quite convenient, especially with the MRT station just a few minutes’ walk away,” Nafisah smiles.

While the couple had originally intended to buy a 4-room flat, they realised when working out their budget that a 5-room flat was well within their reach. “We were pleasantly surprised that we were able to afford a bigger space than our intended 4-room flat,” Jihad shares. “After factoring in housing grants of $65,000, we eventually paid $360,000 for our 22-year-old flat.”

On average, the mortgage servicing ratio, which is the proportion of monthly income used to service mortgage instalment payments, has remained stable at 23% among resale flat buyers taking an HDB housing loan, over the past 3 years. In fact, Jihad and Nafisah use a smaller proportion of their monthly income to finance their mortgage instalment payment!

Inside their cosy home, the living/ dining area is seamlessly connected to the open concept kitchen, creating a sense of openness. Instead of built-in carpentry, the couple chose to furnish the space with loose furniture pieces. “The flat’s squarish layout allowed us to plan the space easily, and experiment with different furniture items to suit our lifestyle.”

The couple was attracted to the flat’s squarish layout which offers versatility in space planning
Jihad enjoys experimenting with different recipes in the open concept kitchen, which features a unique peninsula that extends the kitchen area

Watch to find out more about Jihad and Nafisah’s flat purchasing journey:

A Lifestyle Match

For newlyweds Kenji and Vanessa, the unique layout of their flat played a huge role in prompting them to say yes to it.

Kenji and Vanessa

Referring to the rectangular layout of their 3-room flat in Kallang, Vanessa shared, “I really like the unit’s layout, as it reminds me of my childhood home. The bedrooms line the perimeter of the space, unlike  other layouts where the rooms are spread across the flat.”

The 3-room flat features a rectangular layout, with the bedrooms lining the perimeter of the space

The couple’s penchant for hosting friends at home made the elongated layout of the 37-year-old flat a perfect choice. “We knew we wanted an open communal space where friends and family could gather. Given its central location, our home has also become a popular spot for everyone to come together.”

Price-wise, the flat was also comfortably within the couple’s budget. They paid about $246,700 for their home, after receiving about $73,000 in housing grants. “We really appreciate the affordability of the flat, especially after factoring in the housing grants,” Vanessa shares. “This also allowed us to invest more in our renovation works, to achieve our dream home.”

While it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, Kenji shares how he was taken with the greenery and amenities surrounding the neighbourhood. “As we walked around the area, we were greeted by palm trees and green spaces, something I found really refreshing.”

Palm trees around the HDB blocks add to the neighbourhood’s relaxed vibe

“As a soccer fan, I appreciate having a futsal court located just below our block. I’m thankful that the futsal community here has welcomed me with open arms, even though I am a new kid on the block,” Kenji says.

The futsal court located below the couple’s block

Watch to find out more about Kenji and Vanessa’s flat purchasing journey: