Newfound Independence: A Story of Buying and Moving Into A First Home

Cheryl Chiew
Newfound Independence: A Story of Buying and Moving Into A First Home
Family is considered one of the most important things for many Singaporeans. Living under one roof with your parents until adulthood or marriage is actually the norm. However, these days, many young adults are starting to feel the itch to live independently as they grow older. This is what exactly happened to Rina Mia, a marketing & branding agency founder, and now also an interior stylist.
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“I originally lived in my family home, but I wanted to strike my own independence,” explains Rina.
She had several criteria for her new home, “I wanted a flat that is relatively new, so I can still sell it down the line as this will not be my forever home.” Aside from that, she also wanted a place that required minimal renovation.
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The Journey of Finding the Right Apartment

Rina’s house hunting journey began with the help of PropertyGuru’s Affordability Calculator. “With the calculator, I was able to do the math on how much I could afford and pay for a new place. Afterwards, I used the PropertyGuru search filters to whittle down the number of apartments based on their age, location, and my budget.”

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As she planned to live alone with her two cats, she originally intended to purchase a three-room flat in the city fringe area. However, she found the flats there too expensive and old for her taste, so she started to expand her search.
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She finally found her ideal place in the Northeast side of Singapore. There, she could afford to buy a five-room flat for the same price that would fetch a three-room flat in the city centre. “Yes, the location is quite far. There are no MRT stations that are within walking distance, but it’s something that I’m willing to sacrifice.”.
Moreover, the apartment was in a condition Rina was comfortable with. “I only overlaid the kitchen and toilet flooring, and replaced the kitchen carpentry. There was a lot more interior styling done rather than renovation. Thought was put into the furnishings to fit a Bohemian-Luxe aesthetic. Pairing rattan and wicker furnishings with modern furniture & decor, I didn’t have to spend too much on renovation,” recalls Rina.
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Living in the Northeast side of Singapore not only allows Rina to be close to her family, who live in the same area, but it also allows her to enjoy the amenities in the vicinity. “This place has everything that I want – from the right age and condition to the amenities such as eateries, coffeeshops, a 24-7 supermarket, and a park connector where I can jog and feel closer to nature,” adds Rina.
Having a five-room unit might seem excessive for someone who lives alone, but Rina has maximised the usage of all that space. “I have a study room that can also be categorised as a lounge or cat room, along with a wardrobe room for my clothes & personal belongings.” Being in a corner unit is also another plus – it’s far from the corridor and all the noise.
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Passion for Design & Styling Leads to a Side Hustle

Rina’s flair and passion for interior design has led to a side business called The Reetreat, an interior and styling business. “I had some friends asking if I could help with decorating and styling their homes after they visited my place. After a while, I realised this could be turned into an actual business – it was completely accidental and I never dreamt I could be doing what I’m passionate and love as a job.”
“The business started in 2019 with one to two friends’ projects. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I decided to get serious with the business and registered it as a legal entity. I’m really excited to see how the business will grow in the years to come,” says Rina with a smile.
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As of now, Rina has no plans to continue enjoying her home as is, but she may rent the apartment out, as she has just passed another milestone in life. “I just got married so we may plan to rent out the place in due time,” Rina smiles.
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