"Considering the price of resale HDBs and the renovation, getting an EC was more worth it, as they come partially furnished."
Basil Chan always knew what his ideal home would look like. His inspiration came from his many travels.
Initially, he considered purchasing his first home as a single homeowner. However, his then-girlfriend, Kimberly Kwek, changed his mind: “We’d lived in his parents’ house for two years, maybe it was time for us to be independent?”
Thus, the couple began searching for their new home on PropertyGuru. After much research, they narrowed their choice between a resale HDB flat and an EC.
With a real estate background, Basil knew that applying as a new family meant that the prices for resale HDB flats and ECs would be almost identical.
However, they ultimately decided to get an EC because of the amenities and the fact that it would be privatised after 10 years of TOP (Temporary Occupation Permit) — giving them a chance to benefit from higher capital appreciation.
“The resale flats that we were looking at were about $600,000, and we still needed to factor in the renovation. So, considering the price, getting an EC seemed more worth it, as it would’ve come already partially furnished,” says Basil.
During the search, Kimberly visited an EC preview in Punggol and was happy with what she saw, so she shared the good news with Basil. At first, he was sceptical about living in Punggol because he thought the area wasn’t well-connected like other mature estates. But his doubts vanished after discovering that the property was located near the North-East Line.
Furthermore, the EC unit that they were looking at was partially furnished, which meant that they could save on renovation. “The only renovation we did was adding a vanity table and some cabinets; the rest was provided by the developer.”
Basil and Kimberly bought the house at a good price. “We bought our house at the right time. Back then, there was an oversupply of EC apartments in the market. It’s a different case now.”
But, as the key collection date was approaching, they faced another dilemma — they hadn’t committed to the relationship.
“I was at the peak of my career, and both of us travelled out of the country frequently. While we were busy with work, time flew past very quickly. Soon, it was time to decide whether we wanted to commit to each other,” says Kimberly.
When they made the purchase, the couple was ready to forgo the down payment if the relationship didn’t work out. “Of course, I was 80% sure that I wanted to marry her, and I knew she felt the same,” reassures Basil.
Sure enough, Basil popped the question, and they got married before receiving the key.
Basil designed the interior of the house by himself, including the walk-in closet in one of the bedrooms. It’s also Kimberly’s favourite nook in the house. It is where she can relax on her massage chair, and record make-up tutorial videos for her Instagram account @kimiiethea.
“He planned it all so meticulously, down to the last detail. He even had a slideshow of images of the hotel interiors that he likes, along with detailed notes on it,” says Kimberly.
As they travel frequently, much of the house’s interior design is inspired by the hotels that they’ve stayed in. “I like tall beds, like the ones in hotels, so we raised ours to be higher than normal.”
The house also features different wallpapers for each room. Although Kimberly prefers Victorian and Bohemian design styles, they chose simpler-looking ones for the house.
While they have grown to love living in Punggol, the couple looks forward to selling the house after fulfilling the five-year MOP obligation.
“Our next house will probably be a private condo in the East Coast, a bigger home to grow our family would be nice.”
“If it wasn’t for the space, I don’t think I’d be willing to sell this place.”