From Tenant to Homeowner: “It's Just Nice to Have Your Own Place”  

Eugenia Liew
From Tenant to Homeowner: “It's Just Nice to Have Your Own Place”  
Having lived in an expensive rental home for two years, Kevin Lim, 40, relishes the freedom of having a place to call his own.
He now resides in a spacious 5-room HDB resale flat in Sembawang. Kevin’s interior designer played a crucial role in designing the lively space, which is decked out in happy pastel colours.
Not only is the abode a haven for the full-time copywriter when he returns home each day, it’s also where he plans to start a family with his soon-to-be wife.
The living room
The living room

My Home, My Rules

For Kevin, the decision to find his own home was really about having ultimate freedom as a homeowner.
“It’s nice stepping into a home that you’ve designed and customised for yourself,” he says. “It looks exactly the way you want it to, and has all the furniture, accessories and gadgets that you like.”
Kevin also enjoys the fact that he isn’t restricted when making big purchases, like he was back in his rental apartment.
The couple watching TV
“In a rental, you can’t purchase big-ticket items like a TV and sofa. You just live with everything that’s provided,” he says. “But as a homeowner, you can have anything and everything you wish!”
Kevin also acknowledges that owning a home is easier on the wallet in the long-run. His previous rental flat at Punggol cost around $2,000 a month, whereas his monthly mortgage now is only $1,200. Financially, it made more sense to buy his own place, which ended up being a five-room HDB resale flat in Sembawang that he bought for a very reasonable $405,000.
The kitchen
The kitchen

House-Hunting the Digital Way

When it came to house-hunting, Kevin had three simple criteria.
One − it had to have plenty of privacy. He preferred a corner unit, as he didn’t want his house along a corridor where people would be walking up and down. Secondly, it had to be within walking distance from an MRT station and shopping mall. Finally, the price had to be within his budget of $400,000.
According to Kevin, this was where PropertyGuru’s app came in handy. “I really do have to give credit to the app − the filters were really good and helped me with cost comparisons,” he explains.
The bedroom
The bedroom
He recalls how easy it was to find his previous rental through PropertyGuru’s app as well. Because his criteria for a rental was less stringent, the app opened up many possibilities. It only took him one or two weeks to settle on a rental flat of his choice.
He also believes the app does a great job of integrating agents’ contacts. If interested in a listing, he simply needs to tap on the WhatsApp button that connects him directly with the agent.
“Without the app, I’d probably need to manually key in agents’ numbers in my phone and reach out to them,” Kevin says. “PropertyGuru’s one-tap system makes it really easy and fast to contact agents and shortlist properties.”
Playing the piano

A Vibrant Place to Call His Own

In March last year, Kevin settled on his Sembawang flat, a five-room corner unit near the MRT and shopping mall Sun Plaza. He connected with interior designer Ethan Goh, of Ethan Interiors, to get the process started.
Although Kevin had a general idea of what he wanted his house to look like, it was Ethan who helped him flesh out the details.
“I started off by showing him a couple of mood boards, and giving him various design options to choose from,” says Ethan. “Once we settled on his preferred aesthetic, I came up with a 3D mock-up of the home’s interior.”
The couple and their dog
Kevin was pleased that Ethan provided frequent updates on the home’s renovation and was extremely transparent in terms of costs.
Given how well they worked together, it’s no surprise that the final result blew Kevin away.
Featuring colourful pastel shades of pink, grey, white and green, the home is a playful space that Kevin enjoys retreating to each evening.
“I feel happy just looking at my home when I step in,” he says.” I enjoy my private time and it’s great having a comfortable place where I can play games, watch TV or spend time with my pet Corgi.”
Even though the home is a relaxing bachelor pad for now, it’s also where Kevin hopes to settle down with his current fiancé and start a family. Coincidentally, the home is a stone’s throw away from her parents’ house.
The couple and their dog
“My fiancé is very close to her family, and she loves the fact that my place is within walking distance of them!” he says.
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