Many aspire to own a spacious home, but finding one that accommodates furry companions is a different ballgame. This was the challenge Fion and Jason, both 32, had when embarking on their house-hunting journey. Their primary goal was to secure an expansive haven where their beloved dogs, Spencer and Summer could frolic freely.
Fion works in the tax field, while Jason is in supply chain management. Initially, the married couple had secured a BTO flat. But a twist of fate led them to explore the world of resale flats.
The couple’s pursuit culminated in the discovery of their dream home: a 5-room resale HDB flat in the charming neighbourhood of Bukit Merah. Here is how their journey unfolds.
BTO Developer’s Bankruptcy
Fion and Jason crossed paths in school, dated for two years, and tied the knot in 2019. It was then that they applied for a BTO flat to begin their new life together.
They quickly secured a BTO flat and temporarily settled into a 2-room flat under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) in Clementi while awaiting its completion. Under the expanded Marriage & Parenthood Package, PPHS provides temporary subsidised housing for families waiting for their new BTO flats. However, fate took an unexpected turn when their developer filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2021.
Thankfully, HDB informed them that they could withdraw their application penalty-free since the situation was beyond their control.
“We’ve been waiting for years for a BTO, and suddenly we were caught in this issue where the developer went bust. From then on, we changed the way we look at the property,” Jason recounted.
“We finally decided to go for a resale because we didn’t want to wait more time for BTO construction, and we have never looked back since.”
Once they opted for the resale market the couple relied heavily on PropertyGuru. Fion said they went straight to PropertyGuru because they were inspired by an article that mentioned they could buy a flat on their own without an agent.
A Search in Less Than One Month
Initially, they encountered a ‘hot period’ in 2021, when million-dollar HDB resale flats were on the rise. When they began their search, the property market’s listing prices were exceeding the average.
“While we had a preferred price range, we were open to paying more if the price was reasonable,” Jason shared.
Despite that, Fion recounted that their journey was a very fast process.
“We did our research within a week and we managed to find a few listings that fit our needs. Then we arranged for a viewing with the seller for the house within the next week, and in the third week, we landed our dream house. So, we got our house in less than one month,” she shared.
Fion revealed the number of PropertyGuru listings was more compared to other platforms, and the listings were updated frequently.
“I remember us looking at the platform almost every two to three hours. I kept refreshing it, and then once we saw a new listing, we contacted the agent immediately for viewing,” she explained.
Throughout the process, they discovered several features on PropertyGuru that helped their search for a resale HDB flat.
“The location filter and historical transaction prices also played a vital role in narrowing down districts and negotiating the price per square foot (PSF) for properties we were interested in,” Jason said.
“PropertyGuru even provided estimated prices and indicated whether sellers were open to negotiation, ensuring transparency right from the start,” he elaborated.
Apart from the filters, the PropertyGuru Finance Mortgage Calculator also proved invaluable in helping the couple budget for their home.
Bigger Space for Happy Furry Friends
Fion and Jason officially moved into their new home in May 2022. Shortly after, Fion was pregnant, bringing an exciting addition to their family.
Aside from baby-proofing their home, they also made sure their home was dog-friendly when approaching the renovation process. The space is thoughtfully designed to accommodate their dogs’ needs and to facilitate cleanliness and easy maintenance.
For example, a wash area was created in the kitchen right next to the front door to prevent the dogs from ‘escaping’ into the home after walks.
“In our previous flat, we had to sit by the door and painstakingly clean their paws. Now, with the kitchen and wash area right next to the front door, it’s super convenient for us,” Fion described.
Another unique feature is the bar-cum-island counter, which serves as the family’s dining table. The countertop is also a spot where Spencer and Summer enjoy climbing. Additionally, the house boasts wood tiles that match their dog’s fur colour.
“Our dogs shed a lot of fur. In our previous rental, fur was everywhere! Keeping the house clean was a constant cleaning challenge. I thought, ‘Moving to this bigger place means more cleaning and I’ll probably be very tired’. So to ‘hide’ the fur, I made sure that the floor tiles matched their fur colour,” Jason explained.
One of the couple’s favourite spots is the couch, where Fion enjoys spending time with her dogs and family.
“Again, in our previous flat, we had a really small sofa and Spencer was the king of the house. He loved that sofa so, every time he sat on it Summer would try to join in and there was no space left for us. Now that we finally have a huge couch, we no longer need to fight for space,” she said.
Although they initially began their home journey with a BTO flat, Fion and Jason agree that the decision to move into a resale flat has been more fulfilling for their small family. In addition to enjoying a quiet and mature neighbourhood, they appreciate the ample space for their dogs and young daughter.
“Our flat fits the requirements of our phase of life right now. We have a place where we can settle down, a place where we can walk our dogs – things that are in the top requirements,” Jason concluded.
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