A $90,000 Renovation Transformed their 4-bedroom Punggol Condo into a Haven for their Children

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
A $90,000 Renovation Transformed their 4-bedroom Punggol Condo into a Haven for their Children
When you have kids, ensuring their well-being becomes your top priority. Rachel and Zac share this sentiment and believe that a fulfilling life is about creating an ideal living space for their two and four-year-old children.
They initially bought a 4-room BTO flat in Punggol back in 2017, before tying the knot in 2018. After three years and the birth of their two children, they realised their current home was becoming too cramped, especially with the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Their kids love to play but couldn’t go out to the playground, so they had to play inside.
Before they could upsize their home by selling their BTO flat, they had to fulfil their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). After that, they embarked on a search for their dream house with PropertyGuru, considering their children’s needs at every step.
This is the story of how they found their perfect 4-bedroom condo in Punggol, thoughtfully designed to meet their children’s needs to play and grow.

Searching for Another Home in Punggol

After selling their Punggol BTO flat in August 2022, Rachel and Zac began their search for a new home. Their preference was to remain in Punggol due to their familiarity with the estate and to be close to both of their families.
"We love the vibrant atmosphere in Punggol. It’s a newer area with plenty of young families and amenities. Our kids’ preschools are located here, so we wanted to stay nearby. Our parents’ house was also in the same development, so it would be easy to drop our kids off if we needed urgent help," Rachel said.
They efficiently scoured PropertyGuru listings that matched their budget and set their desired criteria, such as properties with over 90 years of lease and a minimum floor area.
They also prefer units near Punggol MRT station and Waterway Point shopping centre. Zac shared, "We even utilised the PropertyGuru Finance mortgage affordability calculator to estimate monthly payments for our shortlisted options."
"We had a specific location and size in mind, making it essential to apply filters during our search. It helped streamline the process and avoid overwhelming choices,” he continued.
Both Rachel and Zac were delighted with their new home and the assistance they received from PropertyGuru during the buying process.
"This is our first time selling and buying a house, so the whole process was new to us. PropertyGuru has been incredibly helpful and accessible. We can easily check listings on our phones. Such technology has made our journey much smoother," he concluded.
Eventually, the couple set their sights on Waterbay at Punggol. "The deciding factor for choosing Waterbay was because it’s just seven years old – it received its Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in 2016. It offered four bedrooms in a size of around 1,200 sq ft, an upgrade from our previous smaller 4-room BTO flat of 1,000 sq ft," Rachel recounted.

It’s All Perspective: A Poorly Maintained Property Is an Opportunity for Change

The 4-bedroom condo in Punggol was in dire condition. Rachel described it as perpetually dark, with gloomy carpentry and curtains drawn shut. The laminate flooring mostly popped out, and there were issues like mould and rusted hinges.
Rachel wasn’t sure why it was in bad shape, but it had to do with the previous owner who lived there. Luckily, the seller had been upfront about its state and accepted a lower offer compared to neighbouring units in the same development.
"That was a major plus for us because we planned on a complete renovation. It didn’t feel wasteful to tear down the existing work when it was already in such bad shape. Our children wanted to live and play in a place that was not just big but also safe. So we did this for them," she explained.
Despite Punggol being a new neighbourhood, the discovery of decay within a seven-year-old house didn’t dampen her overall expectations. She pressed on, recognising that the overall development still appeared to be in good condition.
"The other reason we kept going was because of the layout. We wanted a spacious and square-shaped living room, and the master bedroom’s walk-in wardrobe was a major selling point. Plus, it’s a unit facing the pool," she continued.
"Another advantage was that the sellers didn’t require any extension and weren’t urgently in need of our down payment. We could delay the completion date until the funds from the sale of our previous flat are credited into our account," Zac added.
Following that, their house underwent significant renovations, costing approximately $90,000, while the majority of the budget went mostly for carpentry. They had to remove a substantial amount of existing structures, including damaged flooring and cabinets, as well as some walls.
Rachel knew exactly what she and her husband wanted, and most things went according to plan. They kept focused on the style they desired, ensuring the renovation’s successful outcome matched their vision.

A Perfect Home for This Young Family with Children

The renovation lasted three months, with the couple hiring an interior designer well-versed in the modern Scandinavian style they desired. The end result was a bright, spacious home ideal for their children.
"We incorporated curved corners throughout the house to ensure our kids’ safety. Our furniture, dining table, and even the TV console have curved designs. It provides a safer environment for them," Rachel explained.
Rachel’s children adapted quickly to the new house, and they totally loved the new playroom. "Our previous home had a play area in the living room and they constantly needed our presence to engage with them. In this new house, we have a separate playroom and a semi-outdoor play area on the balcony. They know exactly where everything is, so they don’t depend on us as much. It is their own space,” she said.
“To make this happen, we had to give ourselves the smallest room for our study room, and give up the idea of a chill-out space at the balcony,” she added.
Zac mentioned that they regularly rotate the toys in the playroom. These rotations occur every few months, ensuring a fresh and engaging environment.
"Ever since we moved in, our daughter keeps telling us she doesn’t want to go out because it means less time for playing at home," Zac shared.
Rachel and Zac are happy with their decision to purchase a house that is not only spacious but also the perfect home for their children to grow together, while also being practical due to its proximity to their parents.
"I feel like every home is always a work in progress. I don’t foresee that we’ll make any major changes to the house anytime soon, but we will make minor changes every now and then to keep the spark alive. For now, we are just happy that our house has a lot of space for our kids to run around and play," she concluded.
Want to see more of Rachel and Zac’s home? Follow them on @chiamhaus.
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