For most of their lives, Daniel and Susan Ong have worked hard to make a living and support their family of four.
Now that they are retired, they are finally enjoying the fruits of their labour. After living in their five-room HDB flat at Joo Seng Road for the past 37 years, they’ve upgraded to a luxurious resale condominium at Pasir Ris Grove.
And as 67-year-old Susan relates, this dream has been a long time in the making.
A Dream Upgrade
Ever since the couple were married in 1983, Susan has always dreamed of living in a condo.
However, they had two young boys to support in their earlier years, with Daniel, now 71, being the family’s sole breadwinner. As such, money was tight and purchasing a condo was out of the question.
But now, the boys are both married and in their 30s. With spare cash from retirement savings and fewer financial responsibilities, Daniel could finally make his wife’s dream a reality.
“At first, I did feel a little sad about moving,” he confesses. “We lived in our old HDB flat for a very long time and have gotten to know the neighbours well.”
In order to buy their dream condo, the Ongs needed to sell their HDB flat at a good price. This would allow them to pay for their condo fully in cash, and avoid the burden of managing a home loan in their old age.
As such, the Ongs searched for a reliable property agent to help them out. They came across agent Abel Ang on PropertyGuru’s site, and were impressed by his experience and award-winning credentials.
“When approached by the couple, I initially thought that their requests were almost ‘mission impossible’,” acknowledges Abel.
For one, he needed to find buyers willing to purchase their current flat at a good price. Although it was spacious and perfect for a family, he anticipated some challenges as the flat was on a high floor and facing the west sun. Also, some flats in the same block had been on the market for six months without a sale.
He also needed to negotiate a reasonable price for the new condo they wanted to purchase so that the Ongs would still have enough retirement savings after the purchase.
Thirdly, Abel had to ensure that the Ongs could move straight from their flat to the new condo, or else they would not have a place to live in the interim.
Accomplishing the ‘Impossible’
Whilst there were a lot of challenges to overcome, Abel came through for the couple.
For the Ongs’ flat, Abel managed to negotiate a selling price of $550k in June this year − about $5,000 higher than what their neighbour’s unit upstairs sold for. The buyers really liked the space and layout, and were willing to pay for it.
Within three weeks of selling their flat, he secured the Ongs their Pasir Ris Grove studio unit at a reasonable price of $625k, including transfer and lawyers’ fees. The price was below cost, which has a great result considering today’s market conditions.
Abel even went the extra mile by helping with the paperwork required by the Town Council, HDB and lawyers, running these trips out of goodwill for the elderly couple.
“We really owe it to Abel for being such a hard-working and capable agent,” says Susan.
A Perfect Retirement Pad
The Ongs are now enjoying their retirement years in a stylish condo.
With their one-bedroom studio unit on the highest floor, they are treated to scenic views of the swimming pool and tranquil surroundings. Transport is easy too with the MRT a casual seven-minute stroll away.
Susan is a huge fan of the condo’s amenities as well. She particularly enjoys visiting the pool and gym, as the exercise allows her to keep fit and strengthen her legs.
As the new home is much more compact than their previous 5-room flat, keeping the place clean and tidy is easier for the elderly couple.
“I really dreaded cleaning our old flat as it was such a tiring task for aging people like me,” recalls Susan.
The new place is also a mere 10 minutes’ walk to Pasir Ris MRT, with a shuttle bus to ferry residents to the station and nearby shopping mall. And if the Ongs are craving a quick bite, 7-Eleven is just next to the condo.
Once they live out their golden years, the couple also hopes to pass on the property to their sons as an inheritance, expecting it to fetch a higher price in future.
“This home is really a dream come true. I’m so grateful that my husband finally fulfilled my wish to live in a place like this!” says Susan.
Daniel still misses the size of his old flat but is happy to move and fulfil his wife’s lifelong dream of owning and living in a condo.
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