In 2018, couple Weijie and Amanda embarked on many significant life changes together. They got married and bought a home, before planning their wedding and honeymoon which would take place in 2019 – shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Recently, Weijie switched careers from being a discipline master at a local school to helping run his family’s bakery. Amanda, on the other hand, works in social services.
The newlyweds also sought to buy a home to start their lives together and plan for a family. Their key search criteria: staying close to their parents in Hougang.
From visiting more than 10 properties in the estate to nearly missing out on their dream home, here’s how their teamwork and determination landed them their current 5-room HDB resale flat a stone’s throw away from their childhood homes.
How Weijie and Amanda Secured their 5-room HDB Resale Flat in Hougang (Video)
Choosing to Stay in Hougang to be Close to Family
“We were still living with our respective parents after we got married,” said Weijie. “We wanted privacy and to start a life together immediately.”
The couple was therefore not inclined towards applying for a BTO flat, which has an average construction time of 3.5 years. They quickly made their minds up on buying an HDB resale flat.
They kept their homebuying criteria streamlined: a spacious, clean, easy-to-maintain space that could accommodate a small family. Despite their desire for independence, they also wanted to stay close to their respective parents.
Therefore, they zoned in Hougang, the HDB estate they had grown up in and where their respective parents continue to stay.
What’s more, Hougang had the attributes of a neighbourhood they wanted to stay within.
Amanda said, “Hougang is a relatively quiet neighbourhood. It appealed to us: as individuals, we don’t really fancy crowds. At the same time, it’s very convenient and accessible to the city by MRT. It also has many amenities that both of us enjoy.”
Buying a Home in the Early Years of Their Careers
From day one, Amanda and Weijie defined their roles in buying a home clearly. Amanda was in charge of finding their dream home. Weijie was responsible for learning how they would go about financing it.
Amanda decided to use PropertyGuru in her search. “I remember scrolling PropertyGuru listings almost as part of my breakfast diet,” she joked.
With focus and commitment to the process – buying a home can be a numbers game, after all – she ended up bringing Weijie along for more than 10 house viewings before they found “the one”: their current home.
“When I saw it, I immediately pictured how it could accommodate us and our future family. That’s when I knew we had to get it,” she said.
As for Weijie, he recalled his steep learning curve trying to understand how he and Amanda would make payment for their home.
“We were just starting our careers. We had entry-level salaries and minimal savings. This placed constraints on our budget for our home. As first-time homebuyers, we were also unaware that CPF Housing Grants could help lower the cost of acquiring our HDB resale flat.
Over time, we learnt more about the HDB loan home financing breakdown (e.g. that we could use our CPF OA savings to make the 20% down payment on our house) and available grants for first-timer couples.
We also could better gauge how much money we could expect to fork out every month to pay back our mortgage. This helped to ease our anxieties around paying for our house,” he said.
Claiming Their Dream Home the Moment the Initial Buyer Backed Out
While Weijie and Amanda had their wallets out for their current 5-room HDB resale flat in Hougang, their bid for it was at first rejected by the sellers.
“Because of this buyer, we didn’t stand a chance,” said Amanda. One month later, however, she received a call from their property agent. Of all the news she was expecting to hear, she could not believe that the house she and Weijie had wanted so much was suddenly available to buy.
“The buyer backed out! We were overjoyed. We went down the very next day, discussed pricing with the sellers, and closed the deal.”
The couple then acted swiftly. They wasted no time moving into their new home, organised their wedding, and planned their honeymoon – all within one year. They ended up serendipitously hitting all their major milestones as a newly married couple by the end of 2019 – right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit at the start of 2020.
Designing a Dream Home for a Small Family
Weijie has a lifelong fascination with marine life. Once in his own house, he decided to finally buy a marine tank with a diverse array of fish from around the world, including rare species that aren’t easily found in Singapore.
While fish were always on his mind, Amanda yearned for a canine companion as this was also her first chance to have a dog. She convinced Weijie by showing him a series of adorable dog videos.
“My wife was really dying to get a dog, and so she tricked me into it. One day we just decided to go to view this particular breed – a Golden Dachshund, a delightful mixed breed of a Golden Retriever and a Dachshund, approved for HDB living. We named him Rex. Having him as part of our family has proven to be the greatest decision we’ve ever made,” he shared.
As the couple embarked on a renovation journey for their home, their visions for the house diverged. Amanda envisioned a more minimalist, Muji-inspired design with a predominantly white aesthetic, while Weijie leaned towards an industrial palette with darker tones.
“Over time, Weijie convinced me, in his own way, that opting for darker tones in our home’s design was a practical choice. He pointed out that darker shades tend to withstand wear and tear better, which was crucial because, honestly, I’m quite a clumsy person who can easily make a mess,” Amanda admitted.
Weijie added, “My wife has an impeccable sense of aesthetics, but she’s also one of the most determined people I’ve ever met. It was a challenge, but one of my proudest achievements, to persuade her to embrace this design direction.”
In the end, their collaboration resulted in a harmonious blend of style and functionality.
As Weijie looked back on their journey, he felt content with the choices he and his wife had made. “This will likely be the most significant investment of our lives,” he shared, but he knows that it is worth it.
They had found their dream home, perfect for starting a small family and welcoming their baby. Their shared love for pets found a place in their life, and, perhaps most importantly, they remained close to their parents; they’re living the life they’ve always wanted.
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