Oftentimes, couples would get married before getting a house. But Marie, 34, and her husband did the opposite when they purchased their house first in 2020 before holding the ceremony in January 2021.
"We had already decided that we would get married, so we wanted to settle our own place first. It would give us more privacy compared to living with the in-laws, a common possibility for newly weds," Marie laughs. In searching for the right home, the couple decided to use PropertyGuru. "It’s quite prominent in Singapore, so it’s a no-brainer," she explains.
Marie liked that PropertyGuru is user-friendly, so it was easy for her to shortlist homes based on her preferences. "There are many pictures, so I can have a peek before deciding whether to arrange for a viewing," she adds.
There were several criteria that were non-negotiable for them, such as the budget, proximity to MRT stations or bus stops, and the living space available. "I work in the digital media industry and my husband works as an interior designer. We’re both on calls often so it’s crucial to have a spacious space for the both of us to work in, ensuring that we don’t get in each other’s way," says Marie.
The Ideal Home for Two
Originally, Marie wanted to purchase a home in Queenstown to be closer to her parents, who live in the Commonwealth area. However, she soon found that it was pretty pricey. "After seeing a few places in that area, we realised that it was way above our budget. So we decided to view properties in Sengkang instead," says Marie.
While it’s true that Sengkang is relatively far from her parents’ place, it’s something that she was willing to sacrifice since budget was her top concern. "Living in Singapore is not cheap, so sticking to our budget was essential for me.”
The couple saw approximately 10 different places before settling on a four-bedroom, 1,440 sq ft Executive Apartment. Luckily, they completed their viewings before the Circuit Breaker restrictions took effect in April 2020. "Thank God, we finished our viewings and settled the agreement beforehand. We’re fortunate because we got a decent enough deal before the prices shot up due to the pandemic," Marie grins.
In their new home, the large living space is divided into a master bedroom with a walk-in closet, an open-concept kitchen with the living room, a study, a guest room, and a dedicated mahjong room. "Playing mahjong is my hobby, it gives me an escape after work or on the weekends," Marie says.
In realising the space she wanted, her husband’s experience came in handy. "As an interior designer, my husband is used to dealing with contractors and has the expertise to make what I had envisioned into reality. We tore down and remodelled most of the house. The previous owner’s design aesthetic was quite modern, but I wanted an ‘industrial feel’, complete with barn doors," Marie comments.
Being Surrounded by Friends
Marie admits that one of the reasons – aside from budget – why she opted to live in Sengkang is to be closer to her friends. “Many of my friends live in Sengkang. So, living in the same area gives me a sense of community. When I first arrived here, I had that ‘feeling’; a sense that this was the right place to settle down in”, Marie reminisces.
Although some COVID-19 restrictions are still in place due to the recent surges of COVID-19 cases, Marie still manages to have friends over for mahjong sessions. “The mahjong room is my favourite place to be in. With the walls painted in my favourite colours of blue and green, and my friends to laugh and play with, it’s definitely my happy place.”
Additionally, Marie likes to host gatherings and dinners for her friends, “We love hosting karaoke and dinner parties for our friends. It makes for nice catch ups, but given the gathering restrictions, the number of people is quite limited. I do hope that the restrictions will be lifted soon, so we can have more friends coming over together,” Marie quips.
With the major remodeling that they’ve done, they’re not moving anytime soon. “We’ve put down quite a lot of money on this place, so we’re planning to stay here for the foreseeable future. Perhaps, we’ll add some little decor here and there, but all in all, we’re very happy with the space we’ve created,” closes Marie.