Although many couples move out after tying the knot, living with one’s parents, even after marriage, is also quite common in Singapore.
With family as the centrepiece of most people’s lives here, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nurfa, 33, an executive in a shipping cargo company, and her husband were one such couple.
"We got married in 2017 and lived with my parents in Eunos until we moved to a 4-room resale unit in Tampines in 2019. We did have our own room and space, but we wanted a home that we could call our own and have a sense of independence," said Nurfa.
They were successful in getting a BTO in Punggol soon after marriage. However, they decided to withdraw after realising that the area was not as developed and would inevitably cause issues with transportation down the line.
"The area was mostly vacant and had no development yet. There was no MRT station, and the only transportation available was a bus, so we decided to withdraw our application after realising that it would take years to build. Not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic, which I’m sure halted development," Nurfa added.
Finding the Ideal Place In Tampines
The couple had initially planned to stay in the Eunos area but soon realised that most homes in the area were above their budget.
"We used PropertyGuru in our search, so after seeing most listings in the area, we decided to pivot to a more affordable neighbourhood. We noticed that listings in Tampines were within our budget and narrowed down our search," explained Nurfa.
Tampines was just 15 to 20 minutes away from her parents’ place. Aside from being situated in a convenient location, living in Tampines would make them eligible for the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG), since her in-laws also live in Tampines.
She admits that aside from accessibility and budget, she didn’t have many criteria for her first home. Nurfa began searching and viewing resale flats on her own but soon realised it was harder to arrange and secure a viewing.
"From my experience, viewing approximately six to 10 flats, sellers were less likely to take you seriously if you did not have an agent. Additionally, it is harder to keep up with the legalities and documents needed," said Nurfa.
One incident that she remembered was when she viewed a flat with three bedrooms. It ticked all her boxes and was in good condition.
"I could picture us living in the flat. However, I think the seller opted for the other buyer because they had an agent, which made them seem more appealing since they had someone who could facilitate the transaction and ensure a seamless ownership transition,” explained Nurfa.
Ultimately, she decided to engage an agent and as fate would have it, viewed another 3-bedroom flat that eventually became the place she currently calls home.
"What sold me on the place was that the place was in good condition with minimal furnishings and decor, meaning that I could transform the place to my liking, a Scandinavian decor with muted, pastel colours," said Nurfa.
The previous owner was a PR who wanted to rejoin his family overseas, so everything was done quickly, a plus for Nurfa.
“Living in Tampines allows me to be closer to my workplace; it can be reached within minutes, so that’s a plus. Additionally, there are four shopping malls in this area, so we have endless choices for entertainment and delicacies,” Nurfa quipped.
She also mentioned that by living there, they saved an estimated $80,000 due to the available housing grants, a tremendous help to their finances.
Waiting for MOP to be Fulfilled
As of now, she is waiting to fulfil the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) in 2024. At that time, she will be able to sell the unit and move again, this time to Bedok, for her child’s schooling.
“Once the MOP is fulfilled, we have plans to move to Bedok, an area known for its schooling district, so that our child, who is currently two, can have an easier journey to his school,” said Nurfa.
When that happens, she has little doubt that she will be using PropertyGuru again to find her dream home. But this time, she is planning to stay longer in her second home.
“Once we settle in Bedok, we will not move until he finishes primary school. Yes, we still have 1.5 years left in Tampines, but it will fly by just like that,” Nurfa said, with a smile.
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