For single Singaporeans, turning 35 is a major milestone as it is the age when you become eligible to buy an HDB flat on your own. Wenny, a copywriter, is one such person. Once she hit 35, she applied for a flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme.
“I wanted to tick off one of the milestones of adulthood; owning a home, so once I became eligible this January, I decided to begin searching for my first home,” Wenny explained.
Having a place she can call her own has been her dream since her early 20s, an idea she thought of during her university days in Australia.
“I came back to Singapore in 2013, and came back to live in my childhood bedroom. I wanted to feel a sense of independence that I felt when I lived alone in Australia,” Wenny reminisced. For her home, she did not have many criteria; the only must-have was enough bedrooms for herself and her parents or a guest if they wanted to spend the night.
As she puts it, her ideal home needed to have two bedrooms at minimum. She leveraged PropertyGuru’s search and filter function to help refine her search.
“The search and filter function was particularly helpful, I can shortlist a few flats based on my budget, amenities, and the number of rooms. PropertyGuru also has more listings than other platforms; it was updated daily, giving me more options.”
Moving Out, But Not Too Far Away
Wenny initially wanted a flat outside Choa Chu Kang. In her search, she viewed approximately 10 resale flats in different areas, such as Bukit Batok and Bukit Panjang.
“I have lived in Choa Chu Kang most of my life, so it would be nice to live and explore other places in Singapore,” she explained.
One particular flat that she had a hard time letting go of was a 4-room flat in Bukit Batok.
“It was one of the first units I viewed. While the price was affordable and the seller was agreeable, the flat was quite old, meaning I needed to fork out more money upfront to do renovations. Ultimately, I decided against it,” Wenny remarked.
However, as fate would have it, she viewed two more flats in Choa Chu Kang.
“I was not against staying put, so I decided to view them and both ticked all the boxes. Not to mention it was within walking distance of my parents’ house. It all came down to the seller. I decided to go with the one that got along more with me and my parents and I brought them to every viewing. We had a sense of connection with each other,” Wenny quipped.
Although she is eligible for the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG), she did not use it as her parents are planning to move in 2024.
“If I had taken the PHG, it would mean that my parents could not move until I fulfilled the Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) in 2027. If not, I must pay back the grant plus interest in cash; knowing my parents’ plans, it didn’t make much economic sense to take it.”
While Wenny kept most of the layout of the flat as it was, she decided to hack down the kitchen walls and a storage room, making it one large open space with the living room.
She also tore off the wallpaper, which was mainly in vibrant pastel hues. In place of bright colours, she applied a monochromatic black-and-white colour scheme to her new home, creating an aesthetic that truly pleased her.
Making the Place Her Own
Living as a single in a 4-room flat may seem excessive to some, but leave it to Wenny to maximise the use of each bedroom!
Wenny took the master bedroom, another became a guest bedroom, and the third was transformed into a walk-in closet and study room, where our online interview for this article was conducted.
“My walk-in closet has nine doors, so it is quite spacious to put all my clothes in,” Wenny said with a smile.
Living in Choa Chu Kang allows her to enjoy a sense of quiet and tranquillity; she does not have to deal with the traffic and noise of the city centre. However, if she needs to travel around Singapore for leisure or work, she can do so easily.
“Although some see Choa Chu Kang as remote, it is actually pretty accessible; there are many MRT and bus route options to choose from,” Wenny noted.
As of now, Wenny is quite happy with the living space she has created and is not planning to move anytime soon.
“I just moved in, so I must fulfil the MOP before making other arrangements. Even then, I may still live here, but who knows what the future holds? I know that when I need to say goodbye to this flat for whatever reason, it will be very hard since this is my first home, and I will always be sentimental about it,” Wenny said.
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