When it comes to buying a house, many owners will typically describe the personal ups and downs of their house-hunting journey and their attachment to the home they purchased. But for one particularly data-driven couple who is all about practicality, this often-emotional journey was all about the facts and figures.
Harry and Jane* are a married couple in their thirties who took the common advice “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail” extremely seriously. Together, they devised a methodical and meticulous house-hunting approach to secure their home.
All You Can Ask for in a Home
Harry works in the tech sector while Jane is in the finance industry. When the two of them decided to get married in 2021, they decided to buy an HDB resale flat. They didn’t want to ballot for a BTO flat as the long completion times meant they would have to delay starting their lives together as husband and wife.
Even though Harry had been working in China from 2019 to 2021, the search for their first home together began before he returned to Singapore. The pair wanted their home to be:
- Near their parents’ homes in Sengkang and Ang Mo Kio
- Easily accessible to public transport to match their ‘car-lite’ lifestyle
- At least 1,200 sq ft to accommodate their future children
- In relatively decent condition, not requiring extensive renovation
- On a high floor
Using Data Points To Choose A Home
With the help of PropertyGuru, the couple was able to systematically scour the available listings and easily sort out their picks via the search and filter function. They also looked at each listing’s pictures to see if it would make the shortlist.
“From the pictures, you can have a sense of which floor it’s on. We didn’t want low floors, so we would scrutinise the pictures. And if we could see trees from the window, we would just not bother,” Jane explained.
Together, the couple created a detailed Excel spreadsheet to track how their favourite listings measured up against their criteria. Using PropertyGuru Finance’s mortgage calculator, they crunched the numbers to ensure their shortlisted units were within budget.
Once Harry returned from China, the couple began in-person viewings around the neighbourhoods of Bishan, Toa Payoh, and Ang Mo Kio. In total, they viewed almost 40 units during their hunt to “make sure they had a large data set”.
At each viewing, Harry would note how much a unit’s actual appearance differed from its pictures and add his observations to the spreadsheet. And when they returned home, Jane would browse every listing in the area on the PropertyGuru website to see if the unit they viewed was fairly priced.
“It’s great that everything is transparent and information like pricing and lease remaining were prominently displayed,” Harry shared.
And when a unit they really liked was slightly out of their price range, their meticulous notes helped them decide if they were willing to stretch their budget to offer a higher bid.
Channelling Disappointment Into An Action Plan
But even with careful preparation, the couple met with disappointment on their house-hunting journey. Their first two bids were rejected and naturally, Harry and Jane were dejected. But they did not let the disappointment sit for too long.
“Every unit you find is going to refine your search because you collect more data points. After seeing so many houses, it gives you a bit of assurance that what you missed out on is not the only one out there,” Jane explained.
Harry adds that after the first rejection, he realised house-hunting was “just a numbers and statistics game”.
“It helped me be less emotionally attached to the house we were bidding for. You just have to put in your best price, and if you don’t get it, you’ll just have to move on.”
Eventually, the couple found and bought a 1,200 sq ft, 5-room resale HDB flat in Toa Payoh.
A Flexible Space With The Future In Mind
For their first home, the couple decided to go easy on their pockets and spend less on renovation costs.
They kept the original flooring and planned the design of the house around it. All walls were painted the same off-white colour, reflecting their preference for a neutral colour palette. Jane and Harry also commented they “tried not to make [the design] too exciting” so that their home would reflect their “pragmatic, down-to-earth personalities”.
To inject some life into the space, Jane nurtures a variety of houseplants in one corner of the flat.
“The colour theme of our place is mostly white and wood, so a bit of green does help to soften the atmosphere.”
The connected living and kitchen spaces are her favourite part of the house.
“Whether it’s just the two of us alone at home, or if there are people over at our place, the huge communal area allows us all to enjoy being in the same space,” she shared.
And when their family expands to include children, they’re happy their home will be large enough to accommodate them all.
*Pseudonyms were used at request for the privacy of the interviewees.
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