Moving to a new home is not always easy, especially when you’re leaving the first home you ever bought. But oftentimes, this is inevitable. After five happy years in their first home, Winnie and Bing Da, realised that their four-room BTO flat in Fernvale was too small for their growing family as they were expecting their third child.
"We lived in the BTO for five years. Our first two children grew up there, so there were lots of memories," says Winnie. While Winnie was quite sentimental, her husband was firm. "Once we decided to move, I was like, ‘let’s go and move on’, which is quite different from my wife," he laughs.
For their new home, the choice to look for an HDB resale flat was easy. They felt that resale flats would be larger than new BTO flats and would have a much shorter waiting time. "The chances of getting another BTO is low anyway, so the resale seemed like the right choice for us," Bing Da adds.
Checklist for the Ideal Home
When shopping for their next home, the couple had set a few must-have criteria: firstly, the house must be located somewhere near Serangoon, near Winnie’s parents to help in childcare while working. Winnie works in the financial industry while Bing Da works in an IT distributor company. Next, the place must also be close to the MRT station to make it easier for Winnie to travel to work once everything is back to normal and working from home is no longer the default.
"Although we have the privilege of working from home during the pandemic, we still send our kid to my parents’ place during working hours, so we can concentrate on work," Winnie smiles. Being near to her parents gives them flexibility and ease.
Additionally, buying a home that is near to a daycare centre and good schools is essential. "Our eldest daughter will be starting primary school next year, so being surrounded by good school options within one kilometre is a must – it is non-negotiable," Winnie and Bing Da said in agreement.
After speaking to a friend who works as an agent, they decided to go on to PropertyGuru to shortlist homes based on their desired location, budget, and most importantly, the size of the home. "With its user-friendly interface, PropertyGuru helped us to whittle and sort down the potential homes easily. Afterward, we would call our agent to schedule a viewing," explains Bing Da.
Blessed to Find ‘The One’
For the initial viewings, there was nothing that seemed right for them. They continued their house hunting, and as it turned out, Bing Da discovered a unit in Serangoon that fit their criteria. However, the asking price was above their budget. "We put in a lower offer and not surprisingly the offer was rejected," Winnie reminisces.
As luck would have it, two nearby units opened up within three days. These were just two blocks from the place they initially viewed. The first was a four-room 1,140 sq ft unit while the second was more spacious, a 1,302 sq ft five-room flat. They eventually decided to purchase the smaller unit as it fits their budget.
Being near Winnie’s parents’ house means they no longer have to spend much time picking up and dropping their kids, unlike their previous home. "In our previous place, we spent lots of time picking up and dropping off the kids. Now, it’s just minutes away, we can drop by whenever," says Winnie.
"We still went ahead to fully renovate the house; we removed and built back some of the walls. There were many partitions when we first arrived. We wanted a more open concept living, making it easier to watch over the kids while we are doing chores like cooking," says the couple.
For the interior, they opted for neutral, bright colours with wooden floorings. Storage areas surround the space to keep the kids’ toys tidy. "As our kids are still growing, toys are necessary to keep them entertained. The storage area allows us to avoid the mess."
The flat is located within walking distance of a shopping mall, and there is a playground nearby to let the children play. "As this flat consists of more adult residents, our kids often do not need to wait to play in the playground – oftentimes, it is empty. This is a contrast from our previous place, where most of the residents have young kids like us," Winnie says.
They are happy with the place they live in and have no plans to move anytime soon. "We just registered our daughter to a primary school nearby which also has a secondary curriculum, so we will stay here indefinitely. And the view that we got is not too shabby either, it is of bungalows of private residences," Winnie grins.
Read stories of real people and their home journeys. Still searching for your dream home? Browse properties for sale on PropertyGuru or compare home loans on PropertyGuru Finance.
All images featured in this article are owned by PropertyGuru and should not be used without permission.