Simple Living in a Million-dollar 5-room DBSS Flat in Bishan

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Simple Living in a Million-dollar 5-room DBSS Flat in Bishan
While initially sceptical about the media hype surrounding million-dollar HDB flats, Monica and her husband Tim’s quest for a new home eventually led them to a remarkable find: an expansive 5-room Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat nestled in the heart of Bishan with a price of $1,208,000.

Wanting to Stay Close to Family

Monica and Tim, who knew each other before their university days, first lived in a Buangkok BTO flat. However, the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and Monica’s frequent WFH schedule made her realise how crucial a more extensive home would help maximise her productivity.
"The size of Tim and my Buangkok BTO flat affected my mood, so we wanted to upgrade to a condo or larger HDB resale flat," she said.
Another motivation for Monica wanting to move went beyond floor space: she wanted to be closer to her parents’ home in Bishan. However, Tim and her Buangkok BTO flat’s convenient location near Buangkok MRT station and the upcoming Sengkang Grand Mall then made their plan to sell tough.
Initially, the couple considered waiting to sell their Buangkok BTO flat after Sengkang Grand Mall opened, expecting it might fetch a more favourable resale price then. But rising Bishan property prices in 2022 convinced them to move sooner rather than later.

Initially Sceptical about Million-dollar HDB Flats

The rise of million-dollar HDB flats was driven by various factors and bolstered in the pandemic when remote work and homeschooling increased the value placed on privacy and personal space.
“I remember our friends asking how we could justify paying over $1 million for an HDB resale flat," Monica recalled.
"At such a price for an HDB resale flat, we did think: maybe we could maybe buy a condo instead," she remarked. “The media definitely played a part in making us think harder about what we wanted.”
Monica’s house-hunting journey began with scrolling PropertyGuru listings. She leveraged PropertyGuru’s filter tools to pinpoint HDB resale flats located near MRT stations, an essential criterion for her.
"PropertyGuru is a user-friendly and comprehensive search engine," Monica shared. This allowed her to easily expand her search to condos and landed houses too.
“Since we were looking for a larger space, we also searched for older 4-room units – hoping they might be cheaper – thinking that we could spend more of our budget on renovation. With enough money, we could always renovate an older property until it looked like a king’s palace," she added humorously.

Bidding for a 5-room DBSS Flat in Bishan

After viewing over 40 units through PropertyGuru, Monica discovered Natura Loft, a DBSS flat.
She recounts a unique story during her quest to secure a unit in that building. They went through their first and only bid for the property but then encountered an unexpected twist.
They placed a bid of $1,365,000 for one of the DBSS flats, only for another couple to secure it with a lower bid of $1,360,000.
Reflecting on the situation, Monica speculated, "Our bid was quite last-minute, so the sellers were probably afraid that we had made an impulse decision and might back out. We also heard that the couple had viewed the DBSS flat a few times.”
The DBSS flat they missed out on was located above the 30th floor. In the end, Monica and Tim managed to snag a unit on the lower floor, with the layout and other features identical to the DBSS flat they had bid on.
"While we may have preferred a DBSS flat on a higher floor, we have no regrets buying our current unit especially with the prices of our estate increasing further even today!"

When ‘Second Best’ Turns Out To Be a Blessing in Disguise

What drew Monica and Tim to their current Natura Loft 5-room DBSS flat was not only the exceptional upkeep of the property but also the recent construction, with an age of around 10 years.
The larger space within these units gave them a condo-like ambience, elevating their overall living experience. Monica also shared her house hunt journey on a dedicated Instagram page, while creating a separate Facebook and Instagram account for food reviews and recipes.
Today, Monica primarily enjoys her activities comfortably within her home and occasionally ventures to Bishan Park. "Tim and I are not really ‘gym people’, so we don’t need to pay for gym facilities."
On their balcony, Monica often shares meals with Tim. "Sometimes we enjoy going out to eat, but we realise that it can be quite a hassle. Eating on our balcony is more comfortable," she said.
The balcony not only provides comfort but also offers the opportunity for people-watching, which Monica finds therapeutic to truly experience life and observe people going about their daily routines, appreciating her vibrant surroundings.
She even cherishes the simple pleasure of observing the neighbour who dutifully feeds the neighbourhood cats. “This is a sight that I wouldn’t have experienced on a higher floor, and we love it.”
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