Buying a home involves a lot of thought, care and consideration. After all, it’s one of the few major purchases most people will make in their lives. But what happens when you don’t have the luxury of time?
That was the case with married couple Kelveen, 40, and Valencia, 30, who decided to buy a house in Singapore while they were still living in Jakarta. To save money and time spent staying in hotels, the couple crammed 50 viewings in the span of a 10-day visit.
After a flurry of property viewings, they made an offer for their 4-room HDB resale flat in Macpherson.
Deciding To Buy A Home While Living In Indonesia
In early 2020, the couple had been living in a rented condominium in the Commonwealth neighbourhood. Valencia, an Indonesian citizen, would fly home to Jakarta monthly to spend time with her family.
But when COVID-19 hit and the Circuit Breaker was introduced, travel restrictions meant she was ‘stuck’ in Singapore. It didn’t help that the implemented Safety Management Measures also left her feeling suffocated.
“I told Kelveen, ‘We keep on paying rent here and we can’t even do anything,’” Valencia shared.
And so, the couple decided to move to Jakarta to wait out the restrictions.
Fast forward two years, travel started to open up again and the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme was announced. That’s when the couple decided to return to Singapore. This time, they agreed they would not rent; instead, they would buy a house they could truly call home.
House Hunting In 10 Days Or Less
Kelveen and Valencia applied for an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter and got approval around mid-2022. They then scheduled a 10-day house-hunting trip to Singapore. Even before they boarded a flight, they had already shortlisted units they wanted to view on PropertyGuru.
To make the viewing process as smooth as possible, the couple scoured the island systematically for their ideal home. Viewings were grouped together and organised via neighbourhood and region – one day would see them checking out homes in Bukit Merah; another day, in Bedok, and so on.
Kelveen recounted how the process was “truly a mad, mad rush.”
“We did our shortlisting and managed to find a good property agent on PropertyGuru who Valencia felt comfortable with. We had viewing appointments booked one after another. Even though we continued to go for viewings on all 10 days, we actually put in an offer for the house we’re staying in now on day five of our visit.”
Settling Down In Macpherson
The couple purchased a 4-room HDB flat in Macpherson, a neighbourhood that Kelveen absolutely loves.
“It’s one of those areas that I really do enjoy. It’s incredibly accessible, a 20-minute bus ride to town, and 15 minutes to East Coast Park,” he shared.
It helps that there is a lot of good food sold at the hawker centres near their home.
In keeping with the ‘happy wife, happy life’ motto, Kelveen left the design of their new home entirely up to Valencia. After the purchase of the house, the couple returned to Singapore a second time, where Valencia met with 10 different interior designers within the span of three days.
“For HDB flats, the space is small, so I didn’t want the house to look dark. So, I went for a more minimalist, Scandi-Bohemian style for the place.” Modifications to the house were minimal, however. Valencia remarks that apart from replacing the tiles in the washroom and hacking down a wall to create an open kitchen, everything else remained as is.
During the renovation period, Kelveen and Valencia flew from Jakarta to Singapore once more to check in on the progress made. Eventually, the couple moved in two weeks before renovations were completed, as they were tired of shuttling between the two cities.
The Present Is Perfect
Kelveen’s favourite area of the house is the airy living room, which serves as his workspace, his space to relax, as well as the couple’s living space. Valencia likes the master bedroom best, especially her vanity table area. While both of them have really taken to the place, they don’t discount the possibility of profiting from its sale when the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years is fulfilled.
But that’s something to think about down the road. For now, the husband and wife are basking in the glow of their first home together, living in the present, and enjoying every second of it.
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