As some of you readers may know, Skai and I became home-owners last year. It has been great owning a little cosy place of our own.
As I received some comments and queries previously, I'll like to share my 3 reasons on why I chose my BTO.
When Skai and I got engaged, our first thought was where we were going to stay. We had made plans to hold our wedding dinner in a few years’ time. As most couples would know, wedding banquets are not the most affordable thing ever. We felt that we could not afford to hold a banquet and a honeymoon and afford a house, all at the same time.
We then decided that applying for a build-to-order or BTO flat would make the most sense for us financially. This would give us ample time to save up for the renovation and furnishing for our dream home.
We had only started working for a few years back then and we did not have much savings nor CPF at that time. It was a sound financial decision to stick to choosing an affordable home. Also, if one does their sums wisely (which we definitely did), you'll not have to fork out any cash. We made sure of that when we chose our BTO.
We wanted to make sure that we would pay zero cash when we bought our first home. As much as we wanted to clear our loan as fast as possible, we also did not want to fork out any cash monthly for the monthly instalments. We wanted to free our funds so that in the event of a rainy day, we would have some savings set aside.
BTO flats can go as low as:
- 2-room Flexi BTO flats from as low as $4,000
- 3-room BTO flats from as low as $100,000
- 4-room BTO flats from as low as $200,000
- 5-room BTO flats from as low as $330,000
With this consideration, we decided to opt for a 4-room flat instead of a 5-room flat. They actually both have 3 bedrooms! Opting for a slightly cozier size also helps to manage the overall cost of my flat. And in the event that we really need more space, we can always upgrade to a bigger flat in future when our finances improves. But for our current needs of a family of 3, a 4-room flat is perfect!
Another reason why you may want to consider a 4-room or smaller flat in a non-mature estate is because you will then qualify for the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG). The household income ceiling for the SHG has been raised to $8,500 last year, so most young couples can enjoy it.
This means that together with the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG), first time buyer can get housing grants of up to $80,000 for BTO flats! This will really help you save quite a bit of money. Sadly, we did not get to enjoy any housing grants back then as our combined income exceeded the income ceiling 5 years ago. But this will not stop me from sharing the news with you.
So for example, if you and your spouse (-to-be) are earning a combined monthly income of $4,000 and want to buy a 4-room flat in a non-mature estate, you will qualify for grants of $55,000. Be sure to read up about the available grants here so you can use them wisely for your home!
If we could buy a flat now, we would be eligible for grants! This would have made our home even more affordable!
I am really glad that we decided to make a prudent choice. Being a new mother adds up to quite some costs with the pregnancy and birth. Despite paying cash mainly for our renovation and furnishings, we are still able to cope and are comfortable with the expenditure.
Skai was pretty adamant on choosing a non-mature estate. During the time that we were deciding between which BTO project to apply for, Punggol and Sengkang had the most choices and launches. They were also priced much lower than the mature estates like Toa Payoh.
Both Skai and I have lived in mature estates previously. He in Toa Payoh and I in Bedok. While mature estates do offer convenience with adequate amenities, I do feel that they are rather stagnant. Not to diss mature estate lovers, but it's pretty much 'set in stone' with the facilities, buildings and amenities.
For us, we wanted to stay in a non-mature estate because of the people around us. Many homeowners in non-mature estates are new couples or new families. It would be nice to grow and be with like-minded people. After getting my house, two of my other girlfriends also got their BTOs in Punggol! We were very excited about this news and we talked about hanging out often at each other's places!
Also, as a new mother, I love how baby-friendly Punggol is! I've found and made new friends and we love going for gatherings together with our babies.
After looking at the locations and studying the master plans of both Punggol and Sengkang, we decided to buy a home in Punggol. With the plans to develop Punggol, we felt that it had the potential to grow to be the next Tampines, if not more, in a few years time.
And we were right! While we were waiting for our BTO, there were announcements of the Punggol Safra and Waterway Point to be built. And we were super lucky, after getting our keys, both of these areas are now ready. We love visiting Waterway Point. It's extremely HUGE and is super baby friendly!
Not to mention the picturesque Punggol Waterway Park. We can always go for a stroll along the waterway on weekends, and stop by the cafes for a cake or ice cream, or both!
There are also other upcoming developments, which I can’t wait to take my friends and family to! There will be a stadium, swimming pool and a creative cluster coming up.
These attractive amenities were all located fairly close to my BTO. Plus the LRT is just 5 minutes away which is extremely convenient for me!
We also chose a premium BTO which gave us a very good view. Friends are always amazed that a BTO could enjoy such an unblocked view.
These are my 3 reasons to why we chose our BTO. Both Skai and I feel that BTOs can be affordable if you make prudent choices. Coupled with the assistance and grants available, owning a place of your own at an affordable price can be a reality.
I hope that you've enjoyed reading this piece!
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