I am not going to talk about the recent HDB measures. Neither am I going to talk about the affordability of buying a property in Singapore. These are topics that I often communicate with my clients in an ongoing planning process with them.
I am going to share about my experience on the purchase of my home – a 4-room HDB unit.
It was 2007, and I was planning for my home ownership. Given that I am a planner myself – I did my homework – set my priorities, worked out my budget and did my research. Eventually, I bought my re-sale HDB unit at Eunos Crescent. The purchase price was $250k with another $15k cash-over-valuation (COV). The initial condition of the unit was not ideal, and I spent another $40k to do up the home.
My wife and I like it very much. It’s simple, cosy and most importantly, it’s near both our parents’ homes. My wife and I organised a house-warming party and invited some of our relatives. During the visit, as expected, the conversation topic was on the HDB unit. I recalled the “advice” and “comments” that were showered upon us as a young couple then:
“Aiyo, you actually spend $15k for a 30 years old, level 4 HDB unit? And still need to spend another $40k on renovation? Should have bought a new BTO unit at Sengkang or Punggol, it’s more worthwhile…”
I smiled at them and said nothing. They were, after all, my seniors and they did not seem to be keen to find out more.
The story fast-forwards to 5 years later when my wife and I invited this same group of relatives to our home for a baby shower. Interestingly the topic was still revolving around my HDB unit, and this was the gist of the conversation:
“Wow, both of you are really smart, your unit now worth close to $500k. Got foresight and now it is so convenient and easy for your parents to come over and take care of your child. Wise choice!”
“But when you earn more money, should upgrade to buy a condo. You know what, your cousin, now staying at the condo near east coast. Both of you should consider that. Furthermore, when you have more children, swimming facilities in the condo will be good for the family.”
My wife and I smiled. We eventually did have 3 girls though and we did not move to a condominium.
Another 6 years later, which is a few weeks ago, my eldest daughter enrolled in a good primary school – Maha Bodhi. It was within 1 km from our home and we managed to “squeeze in” under scheme 2C. It was 3 times “oversubscribed” as my daughter was born in the Year of the Dragon, which makes for even more competition for spaces in good schools.
We were lucky, and we count our blessings. I will be able to walk my daughters to their school in the morning every day without getting myself in the usual morning traffic jams. My relatives know about this through my parents. They congratulated us and told us that we were lucky that we didn’t sell the HDB unit. My wife and I again smiled and thanked them for their good wishes.
As I recollect all these experiences, I am very thankful that, when I made the decision to buy my home many years ago, I did my planning. It wasn’t a plan based on other people’s views nor the prevailing trend. The planning was done with a discovery of what matters most to me. As a young couple, we could have been easily tempted by factors such as new home designs, facilities in private condominiums, potential returns from capital appreciation on the property, etc. But I think my wife and I truly enjoy our home because we got what we really wanted.
This is my sincere advice: please do plan for yourself and your family. Discover more about what matters to you. Resist external temptations. Find a planner who truly listens and cares about what matters to you. Leverage on his or her expertise. Do the calculations based not only on your current cashflow and ability to afford it but the long-term impact to you and your family. Do not follow the herd, do not blindly pursue what is deemed good for others, and do not fall for the salesman’s talk.
As a Unicorn Financial Planner, I take pride in authentic financial planning and practise that not only in my professional life but in my personal life too.
Authentic financial planning goes beyond figures and numbers but takes into consideration emotions, family relationships, peace of mind and most importantly, what matters most to our clients, as well.
There is a saying: “If your life is worth living, your future is worth planning and your goals are worth achieving.”
And I wish everyone “Happy home-ownership planning”!
Author: Ng Wee Seng
Edited by: Sophia Tan