Purchasing a home as a married couple is a major milestone for most Singaporeans. Joanne and Samuel were no exception. Once they got married in 2020, they started looking for their first home together.
“Our parents lived across the road from each other in Tanjong Rhu and it was very convenient for us while we were dating; we didn’t want to move far from our parents’ homes,” said Joanne.
Initially, the couple wanted to apply for a BTO flat in the Dakota area near their parents in Tanjong Rhu. However, their attempts failed as they surpassed the BTO income ceiling and appeals to their MP fell through.
The House Hunting Journey From BTO to Resale
Since BTO flats were no longer an option, the couple turned to older condos with en bloc potential, conscious about the opportunities to make capital gains.
Yet, they soon realised that buying a condo would require a substantial down payment.
“After doing the math with my husband, we concluded that the condo’s down payment would yield a much better return in the future if we put it in the market, such as stocks, rather than in property.”
Ultimately, they decided to embrace the HDB resale flat route and began browsing the PropertyGuru platform.
“After the BTO and resale condo route didn’t work out, we decided to explore HDB resale flats. Like most Singaporeans, PropertyGuru came to mind when we searched for HDB resale flats. The search and filter functions were useful in helping us to shortlist the units we wanted based on location, size, and price,” Joanne said.
The couple’s top criteria for shortlisting units included enough hosting space, a central location close to the Central Business District (CBD), and something north-facing, away from the afternoon sun.
Joanne noted, “My husband grew up in a condo with direct afternoon sun. The walls would heat up during the day and remain hot even at night.”
For this reason, the couple passed on one Tanjung Rhu condo with a nice view of Marina Bay Sands.
“I initially thought the direct afternoon sun was perfect for growing plants against the beautiful MBS backdrop, but my husband said the heat was not worth it,” Joanne chuckled.
Based on their top criteria, the couple shortlisted and viewed around 20 units in the Tanjong Rhu, Outram, and Dawson areas.
“It was difficult to find a unit that we both agreed on, so it was amazing when we both finally felt the same way about this one unit we came across.”
The couple finally settled on a unit in Everton Park, a 3-room, 925 sq ft unit that ticked all their boxes: it was a short journey to their parents’ place, close to the CBD, had ample space for entertaining, and was a north-facing unit.
The fact that it was a corner unit with only three other units was another bonus for the couple, as it gave them more privacy. “We didn’t want to have to wait a long time for the lifts, like in some high-rise HDB flats,” Joanne recounted.
A unique feature of their home is how dog-friendly it is. The couple installed hidden doggy doors on a shelf in the bedroom and study room.
“The house belongs to the dogs and we are just living in it,” Joanne quipped. “More practically, we wanted them to avoid scratching our main doors.”
When asked which was her favourite spot in the house, Joanne replied without hesitation, “The study.” The space allows her to appreciate her plants on the balcony while working from home. It is also the only colourful room in the home with self-composed art pieces while the rest of the home has a monochromatic theme.
“Looking at my plants while we work calms me down. We get a lot of natural light and oxygen here, which helps us ruminate,” she added.
PropertyGuru was also beneficial in helping them estimate the potential rental yield of their unit.
“We love good value and a bargain. Our unit was much more affordable than those in the surrounding area, like the units in Pinnacle @ Duxton across the road. But the rental yield at Everton Park was much higher. Should we choose to rent out our place in future, we could generate decent passive income,” Joanne highlighted.
A Charming Life in Everton Park
While renovating, the couple opted for a large and inviting open plan, removing the walls separating the living and kitchen-dining area and one of the bedrooms. This was in stark contrast to when she first viewed the unit in its original condition, where the walls created a dim and somewhat claustrophobic environment.
“Knocking down the walls allows more natural light into the unit while creating more communal spaces to interact and host guests,” Joanne remarked.
Accessibility is no issue for the pair with Tanjong Pagar and Outram Park MRT stations within walking distance. This is especially convenient for visiting guests and commuting to the office.
It doesn’t hurt that the Everton Park estate has a wide variety of food and spa options, which comes in handy when Joanne wants to treat herself.
“Whether I want a fancy lunch from one of the artisanal cafes downstairs or a mani-pedi, I’m spoiled for choice in Everton Park,” Joanne said.
She added that the eclectic mix of neighbours, ranging from young couples to elders, gives the estate a charming sense of community which she loves. The couple can see themselves living here for the foreseeable future.
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