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International Women's Day 2022: 7 Ladies in Singapore Navigating Their Property Journey

Cheryl Chiew
International Women's Day 2022: 7 Ladies in Singapore Navigating Their Property Journey
International Women’s Day is today! Every 8 March, we celebrate the cultural, political, social and economic achievements of women around the globe, as well as rally the call for women’s equality.
What better way to champion women and #BreakTheBias than having positive role models? Growing up, seeing yourself represented matters as it shows you different pathways you can take to #liveyourbest life. A major adulthood milestone is leaving your parents’ nest and living alone.
Navigating your property journey can be scary and daunting, but no fear! From owning your own condo and aiming to be a millionaire to moving overseas and renting your own place, here are the stories of these 7 women in Singapore and their property experiences.

Rebuilding Life as a Single Mum

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In 2005, Michele Cabasug arrived in Singapore, excited to embark on the next chapter of her life. Little did she know the twist and turns life had in store for her. She had kids, her marriage broke down, she got caught in a drawn-out, bitter divorce. But things were not all sour.
Michele managed to become a Singapore Permanent Resident, obtained her property agent license, and worked to become a top-ranked property agent on PropertyGuru. Dealing with mostly executives and expat customers searching for luxury Singapore homes, Michele’s hard work paid off and now.
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This mum knew she had to grind, not only for herself, but for her kids. When life got tough, she made choices for herself, even though they were not necessarily the easiest ones.
“If you are going through a divorce, my biggest advice to any woman would be to put your head down and work, because the sooner you can be financially independent, and pay for yourself and pay for your kids, that is the most liberating thing that you can do.”
Last we heard from her, she lives with her three kids in Sentosa, in a second-floor apartment with a sea view. What a life.

Buying a 2-room Condo at 27, with Goals of Being a Millionaire

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When a girl likes the finer things in life, she can do one of two things. One, hope and pray to become a ‘tai tai’, or second, work hard and earn their own money. Cassandra chose the latter option.
The financial advisor hustled hard, exercised financial prudence (read: saved like crazy), and bought herself a 2-bedroom condo unit at Bartley Ridge for $1.1 million at 27 years old!
While Cassandra confesses she prefers to choose an asset over liability, she also knows there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your hard-earned cash. To ‘reward’ herself, she also bought an Audi A3 Cabriolet (and wrapped it in satin pink, her favourite colour) and her first Chanel handbag. Now she’s chasing her next goal: her first million in liquid assets.
The lessons we can learn? It’s okay to like and spend on nice things but go for assets, like property, over liabilities first.

Owning a Walk-up Apartment By 30

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Janice’s aim was to own her first property before she hit 30. She knew she wanted a walk-up apartment as they are “more quaint”, with high ceilings and large open spaces. But she needed assistance navigating the home loan application process and choosing a suitable bank loan.
Luckily, she reached out and had Paul, Vice-President of FinTech, PropertyGuru Group, to help.
“My main takeaway throughout the process is that no matter how much you think you know about the loan you’re getting, it’s actually the process and what comes after that can be stressful. So it helps to have someone walk you through the entire process to make sure that your interests are taken care of.”
She has since renovated the sleek walk-up apartment in the Katong/Joo Chiat area. Its dark colour palette is very much in line with 2022 luxury interior design trends! If you’re figuring out how to choose a home loan, don’t be shy – reach out to a Mortgage Expert to guide you through the process.

Moving Out Into a 5-room HDB Flat With Two Cats

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When you hit 35? You could either apply for a 2-room Flexi BTO flat in a non-mature estate, or buy an HDB resale flat of any size in any neighbourhood. Rina went for the latter option. But she knew the flat wasn’t going to be her forever home.
So she wanted a relatively new HDB resale flat that required minimal renovation. Originally, she wanted to buy a 3-room flat in the city fringe but the units there were too expensive and old.
Expanding her search, she found her budget would allow her to buy 5-room flats in the Northeast area for the same price. While she admits the location is slightly inaccessible due to the lack of MRT stations within walking distance, she’s happy with the compromise. In her home, Rina has space for a study/lounge/cat room and a separate wardrobe room for clothes and other personal belongings.
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Increasingly, more unmarried people in Singapore opt to move out from their parents’ home as they enter their twenties and mid-thirties. Be it renting or purchasing a bachelor pad, these singletons crave space and independence, especially in the age of COVID-19. Aside from hitting a huge life milestone, there’s a lot of joy in customising your apartment the way you want it!

University Exchange Trip Got Cancelled, Chose to Rent to Experience ‘Solo-Living’ Instead

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For most young Singaporeans, ‘solo-living’ away from their parents for the first time occurs during their University exchange trip. Aside from travelling, this taste of independence is an adventure they look forward to.
When Elena’s exchange was effectively cancelled thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it made sense to the 23-year-old to use the money she had saved for her overseas stint to rent a place in Singapore instead.
She already had the goal to move out after she got a job, so making the leap during her final year of school wasn’t too much of a stretch.
Her considerations were to rent near the CBD area, her future workplace. With careful planning and budgeting, she found a 1-bedroom condo near Outram Park MRT station for $2,200 a month. We say: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Moving to Singapore and Finding Home in a Rented Apartment

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According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) rankings of most liveable cities, our sunny island is ranked 34. Those who move to Singapore and rent sometimes live out of a suitcase, only purchasing the bare necessities.
But home is more than a place you return to sleep in, and Richa knows this best. When she moved here long-term, the HR professional from India wanted to rent a property with at least two bedrooms. She was “very particular about the details and had a long checklist,” and for good reason too.
“I needed a place that felt a little like home, a place I could have the opportunity to do up the way I like,” Richa explained.
”It was important to find a place which I would want to come back to and be by myself. It had to feel good.”
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Instead, she fell in love with a one-bedroom apartment with high ceilings, tall bay windows, and lots of natural light. The clean, modern interior and central location sealed the deal.
So while it’s good to have a solid checklist, what we can learn from Richa’s property journey is to remain to various options. Sometimes, finding your dream place can be a little like picking a wand in the world of Harry Potter. The wand chooses the wizard – you’ll know ‘home’ when you see it!

Transforming A ‘Bare’ Rental Unit Into A Lush, Plant-filled Home

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Part of making a house a home is to decorate it to your own tastes. For 43-year-old Sherry, personalising her space means filling it with plants. The plant mama turned her rental shophouse unit and courtyard from a sterile, white interior into a lush, urban ‘jungalow’.
"Last time I counted, I had more than 70 species thriving here. I’ve made my house an urban jungle," she remarks proudly. This includes a variety of herbs and plants, ranging from tomatoes and mint to rosemary and monstera. Often, people would stop by her front door to take pictures. "It’s quite Instagrammable!" she says.
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Even her landlady, whose office is located within the same shophouse complex, is happy with the lush, green decoration. The next plants Sherry wants to grow are vegetables such as cucumber and passion fruit.
Got green thumbs or want to start your plant journey? Check out these articles:

What Is the Theme for International Women’s Day 2022? #BreakTheBias

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Strike a pose and post on your socials with the hashtag #BreakTheBias to show your support for International Women’s Day 2022. Source: International Women’s Day website
The International Women’s Day 2022 theme is #BreakTheBias. The push towards a more gender-equal world where bias, stereotypes and discrimination are removed. There is a want for “a world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive” and where “difference is valued and celebrated”.
All the various property ambitions and journeys these women take are valid and wonderful in their own unique way. There are so many ways to pursue your home journey and we just wanted to celebrate that. Hopefully, if you’re unsure of how to begin your property journey or what it can look like, these shared stories have shown you some paths you can take.
Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!
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More FAQs About International Women’s Day

According to the International Women’s Day site, it is to “celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality, fundraise for female-focused charities”, and “lobby for accelerated gender parity”.

#BreakTheBias.

Clara Zetkin, a German Marxist theorist and activist, suggested the idea of International Women’s Day in 1910, at the second International Conference of Working Women.

In 1911, the first International Women’s Day was held.