Walking into the Simei flat of Cecilia Lau and Peter Chin feels like coming home to warm grandparents. Sporting a fresh coat of paint, their flat of 30 years is well-kept, while still retaining its original old school charm.
“We kept the original HDB tiles as we like big tiles. To be honest, we are impressed by their durability,” 86-year-old Peter chuckles as he gestures to the floor.
“We also kept the original layout of the flat,” 85-year-old Cecilia adds. “But we did turn the balcony into our private garden because I have been pursuing my home gardening hobby. The good thing about owning a home is that we can design and decorate our flat to suit our taste and needs.”
The flourishing balcony garden is testament to Cecilia’s green thumbs and her passion for greenery
Her statement stands out, because unlike many other home owners, Cecilia and Peter only bought their first HDB flat when they were in their 50s, as their work had required them to relocate and move around when they were younger.
Now that they are home owners, the sense of belonging is something they appreciate most about having a place to call their own. “Owning a home give us a sense of rootedness,” they smile.
Owning Their First HDB Flat
“At the time when we were looking for a home, my niece told us her acquaintance was selling his flat,” Cecilia says. “We came by and was immediately drawn to the flat and its tranquil surroundings.”
It also helped that the couple had two other adult children who live nearby with their own families.
So now, the extended Chin family would gather in the Simei flat weekly, where Cecilia and Peter would spend time with their children and grandchildren. The family would also take the opportunity to explore the heartland, including food adventures to the nearby Tampines Round Market & Food Centre.
“In terms of home buying advice, we tell our grandchildren to always consider if the space can meet current and future needs. For instance, if they’re looking to welcome children, the flat they buy needs to cater for that. It’s also important to exercise financial prudence and ensure that there’s enough saved for rainy days,” the couple say.
A Forever Home in Simei
Cecilia and Peter love that their home is surrounded by amenities, from coffee shops to supermarkets and medical facilities. “We have access to everything we need. For instance, my family doctor is located just across the street. I also like how transport nodes are located nearby, so it’s easy to get around.”
They also appreciate the green spaces surrounding their block, including the nearby Simei Park where they would at times go on leisurely strolls.
“Having lived here for 30 years, we’ve built a good rapport with our neighbours and are so familiar with the neighbourhood. If you ask us, we are never moving out of the flat,” the couple laughs.