Everyone has a home-buying journey, whether it’s their first or final home. For Chi Sim and his wife, a couple in their 40s, their journey has just come full circle.
A few years after moving back from a stint in the US, they sold their 5-room (3-bedroom) corner apartment at [email protected] before buying a landed home in Bukit Timah, mainly for space and so that their daughter can live within 1km of their preferred primary schools.
Chi Sim has worked in the tech and media industry for 20 years, while his wife has been working for 15. They have a 13-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.
He admitted that he’s been renting for many years before buying his first home – a low-floor unit at [email protected] – “at a relatively late age compared to my peers.”
Bought a 5-room Sale of Balance Flat at [email protected]
“We applied during the last round of its sale of balance flats, which was in 2010, and we were the last qualifying family for the ethnic quota for a unit there. We were pretty lucky to have gotten the place. It’s a wonderful area and the house has been good to us, if you believe in Feng Shui,” Chi Sim shared.
When they first moved in, Chi Sim and his family loved their home – which had 3 bedrooms, 1 living and 1 dining area. They also loved the vibe of the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood, especially its nicely developed area, proximity to amenities and loads of good food.
A few years after Chi Sim and his family shifted into their [email protected] home, opportunities overseas came a-knocking, and they made the decision to move the family to USA’s Silicon Valley. The Pinnacle flat was not rented out, as Chi Sim needed to travel between Singapore and the USA on an almost monthly basis.
Bought and sold a house in Cupertino, Silicon Valley, USA
While in the US, Chi Sim saw the booming property market and made the smart call to buy a house in Cupertino USA instead of renting. However, he admitted that settling down during the first year was logistically challenging. At the time, it was him, his wife and his son, as his daughter wasn’t born yet.
“For the house in the States, we had to do a bit of renovation, so my family and I spent about a year shuttling back and forth between Singapore and the States to get the house ready before we eventually moved in,” he said.
After a couple of years living in the US, Chi Sim and his family made the decision to return home. They sold their Cupertino house for a decent profit and moved back into their 5-room apartment at [email protected]
“Soon after we moved back, our daughter was born,” he shared, “since then, and over the past two years, with work-from-home and frequent home-based learning due to the pandemic, my wife and I felt we needed more space. So we started house-hunting over the past year. We eventually sold our [email protected] home and bought our second Singapore home at Bukit Timah just a few months ago.”
Sold [email protected] flat to move into a Bukit Timah house
Their new home is an inter-terrace 2-storey landed house situated on 1,800 square feet of land. While it’s roughly 30 years old, it’s well-maintained with a 999-year tenure.
Granted, selling their [email protected] apartment wasn’t an easy decision to make, considering its centralised location and neighbourhood.
“Due mainly to the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD), we chose to sell our [email protected] home instead of keeping it and renting it out. I’m happy for our buyers, a very nice couple and wish they would enjoy the luck of the house due to its good Feng Shui.”
Chi Sim has declined to reveal the amount he sold his [email protected] flat for, or how much he paid for his terrace house.
“For our new Bukit Timah home, my wife and I felt we should try our best to enrol our daughter into a primary school we hope could give her a good learning environment. After going through and understanding the different regulations governing primary school placements, we narrowed our search to within 1 kilometre of two rather sought-after primary schools in the Bukit Timah area.
“There weren’t many properties for sale in the area and we’ve been looking since 2020. Furthermore, in the first half of 2021, home prices were escalating quickly. Having shortlisted what’s available, we decided on this inter-terrace house and made an offer after two viewings (each viewing was just 10 minutes, due to COVID restrictions). The seller finally accepted.”
Chi Sim and his wife did consider alternatives such as new condominium launches.
In fact, they saw many new developments within the same area and were offered really good developer discounts. At one point, they even shortlisted one condominium apartment with the serious intent of buying it.
“But our long-term goal was to get a landed property, so we narrowed our search to just that category in the end.”
Today, while Chi Sim and his family have just moved into their 2-storey terrace home, they have yet to decide if they are going to do renovations, alterations or a rebuild. The zone itself permits rebuilding the property up to 3.5 storeys.
According to him, his family wants to spend the next few months getting a good feel of the house and neighbourhood first.
“We just moved in a week ago and we’re still living out of boxes!”
As someone who’s purchased and renovated properties in Singapore and the US, Chi Sim thinks communication and being available personally are important virtues in the house-hunting process.
“After we optioned our [email protected] flat, my wife and I made sure to be available to the buyer’s queries, including requests to visit. They were a young couple buying their first home and we totally understood how they must feel. It’s a big step to own your first home, and we all like to start out on a good first step in our journeys.
“For our terrace home, the sellers were from an older generation who preferred communication through their agent and lawyer, so we went along with it too. However, we would have loved to visit the place for half an hour a few weeks before the sale completion so that we can better coordinate our moving-in process and all.
“But overall, the experience was positive and we’re really happy with where we are now. Also, we had a fantastic agent who was a long-time friend, who helped and guided us through the process of both selling our [email protected] flat and buying our new place.”
Apartments for sale at The [email protected]
How is your home-buying journey like so far? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook post.
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