The urge to upgrade started when my BTO 4-room 93sqm flat turned 5 years old in April 2018. Prior to that, I had already discussed with my wife to sell the flat once it reaches HDB's Minimum Occupancy Period or MOP and we would apply for another new BTO 5-room 113sqm flat. Not that I dislike living in Fernvale/Sengkang (well, at first yes). In fact, we love our corner unit which has full view of the park, 5 minutes walk to Seletar Mall, cooling and nearby to schools. But like a true-blue middle income Singaporean, we gotta cash-in our first subsidised flat and then go for the next one. SG Government gives people like me to benefit from the system twice so why not?
In May 2018, HDB launched 4 sites including Sengkang and Tampines. I knew they were going to launch a BTO in Sengkang but I wasn't expecting Tampines which would be a lot closer to my mom's and in-laws' place. After seeing the limited 5-room flats for the Sengkang BTO, we decided to go for Tampines and one month later, got a fantastic queue no. 13 (the same time when I was having the flu)! Practically can choose any flat and the one we shortlisted cost the most at almost $500,000! We didn't think too much of it at first so was blissfully waiting for our appointment with HDB in August. A few weeks later, we began to wonder if it's worth paying so much for that extra 20sqm especially when resale prices around Tampines outer regions are pretty much stagnant (less profit to be made if we sell it after MOP) and longer travel to my boy's school in AMK.
So we decided to check out larger resale flats in Sengkang and chanced upon an Executive Apartment 125sqm. So we called the agent by the name of Kavan Kuah from ERA to view the flat. The flat was really well renovated but for some reason, we didn't have the right feeling for it so went home. Didn't view any more flats after that. I agreed to Kavan's request (half-heartedly) to meet up at my place two weeks later to discuss other alternatives. My mind at this time was pretty much fixed on Tampines BTO.
A few days before we met Kavan, I spent the last weekend (14-15 Jul) of Hari Raya month visiting relatives including one who is staying at a condo in Pasir Ris. While I hate to admit to my wife, she rightly deduced that my sudden urge to go for condo was due to the visit. Seeing my 3 kids playing happily in the kid's pool and then walking back to my uncle's apartment felt "shiok". It's like those property sales ads that show happy families having a wonderful lifestyle. Haha... yah, now I'm sounding lame but I want to gain financially for my 2nd subsidised flat and Tampines BTO was not the way to go... anyway, from 16 Jul 2018, the quest to stay in a subsidised form of private property called Executive Condominium (EC) began in earnest.
In Part 2 of my property buying/selling series, I will share how it took just 4-days to getting our EC and 7-days to selling our flat... and the importance of finding the right agent.