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The Long And Winding Road Towards The Dream Home

Hola! The circuit breaker will be over in another 2 weeks hope everyone is holding up well!

Recently I decided to check in on my clients (Norman and Sandy)* who just moved into their new home. Actually my real agenda was to be sure they are in Singapore as I wanted to send them some cookies which I love and I know they will love as well (we share similar palate)!

*names changed to protect the privacy of my clients

After speaking to them, I was reminded of their property purchase journey and thought it will be a good story to share.

Since I published my previous article on steps to making a good property purchase, I have received several queries from first-time property buyers.

And I thought the journey of Norman and Sandy’s home search can be an encouragement for those looking to purchase their first dream home, as sometimes the path to the right home may not be the most straightforward, but as you press on, it can be rewarding.

How it started

Norman and Sandy were my tenants staying in a nice condo at Tanjong Pagar. They texted me one day, to tell me they have been renting in Singapore for several years and are ready to purchase a home for their own stay.

Norman works in the CBD while Sandy works in the west, hence they prefer to purchase a condo in a central location so that it is easy to commute to work.

They want to start a family in the near future so being in a location with a good school will be ideal.

Norman works in the hedge fund industry, so the capital appreciation and numbers of the property will have to make sense.

I sent them a financial plan base on the amount they like to spend on the property to give them a sense of the amount of cash they need to prepare.

And the viewing begins

We started the search looking at new launches as they preferred brand new apartments. However after visiting some show flats, they did not find any connections with the new launches that were available at that point. Hence I suggested, perhaps they should consider resale condo.

From Tanjong Pagar

They decided to open up their options and we began viewing homes in the Tanjong Pagar area as that was the area they were the most familiar with. However after viewing the different 3 bedrooms units in Tanjong Pagar, it still didn’t feel right.

We also viewed units in the Jervious area, one of which, Norman loves but Sandy is not fan so no go.

To Novena

We viewed another unit in VIVA, which is a freehold condo in the Novena area, it is within 1km of ACS Junior. Both Norman and Sandy like the unit and development however the seller had a change in motivation to sell and decided to price the unit at very much above market value. So I advise them to not move ahead.

Getting Closer

Then I suggested, how about Dleedon. Dleedon is a massive project (about 1000 units) located near Farrer Road MRT. Both of them loved Dleedon, the wide range of facilities, location (within 1km to NYPS), and good size rooms ticked many of their boxes. So we started zooming in to this project and viewed several units there.

There was one unit that really stood out from the rest. Upon stepping into the house we realize the homeowners have laid the floor with a layer of good quality vinyl that was tastefully done. The apartment has a different character compared to the other units we saw in the same condo.

The homeowners explained the vinyl flooring is a special arrangement for their pet dog, as it is not used to lying on the normal marble tiles which is too cool for him.

The reason why they are selling the house is because they wish to move back to a landed property as their pet dog is not used to staying in a high rise apartment.

I can sense that Norman and Sandy really connected with this apartment and they appreciate the kind heart of the homeowners.

After some discussion and working out some figures, I helped them put up an offer the very next day.

I was quite excited to help them secure this apartment as well.

Sadly, we were informed that was another group of buyers who viewed the place before we placed the offer and decided to give the owner an offer

on the spot, of which the owner agreed.

Sandy was very disappointed.

I didn’t sleep well that night. I felt sad for my buyers.

However I was also convinced that surely I can find a great home out there that will be perfect for them despite not able to get this. Looking through their criteria once again, I realize there is a condo that might be a good fit. I was a little apprehensive as with the budget they gave me, they can only buy a 2 bedroom unit in this development and their preference is for a 3 bedroom unit.

I check with them if they want to give it a try, as I shared with them the growth potential and unique properties of this project compared to its neighbors. I propose we can view the 2 bedroom unit and facilities first and they can decide if this might work for them after all the 2 bedroom size unit is this development is similar size as 3 bedrooms in new developments. After viewing the 2 bedroom unit and facilities, they love it.

They went home worked out their finances, Norman confirmed that they are okay to increase their budget to purchase a 3 bedroom in the development that I proposed. After weeks of watching the market like a hawk, finally we found a unit on a high floor.

Finally Closed

We put up an offer, after much negotiation, the seller came back with a counter the next day. We confirmed the price almost immediately. Norman was able to make a quick decision because the price was below the bank valuation at that point.

Another unit on a lower floor was transacted about 100k more than the price they bought :)

Here's a peek of the prized unit that we manage to score.

I think it’s pretty enjoyable to chill at the balcony during this circuit breaker, probably why they don’t have to step out of their house in the past 2 months!

Final Note

After laying down the groundwork of clear objective and financial planning, sometimes finding the right home requires an element of serendipity. Viewing different properties also helped Norman and Sandy have a better sense of what works for them and help them gain certainty once they found the right one.

While there are merits in viewing different properties to get a sense of what works, do make sure that it’s a curated selection of properties that are close to the criteria that you are looking for. As viewing multiple properties that do not delight you is likely to cause viewing fatigue and might impair your judgment.

If you are searching for a new home now, hope this story can encourage you that perhaps sometimes third time’s a charm.


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About The Author

Chantel Teo is fiercely loyal, insatiably curious, and always hungry.

A licensed real estate broker based in Singapore.

She has transacted properties with a combined value of more than $60 million, from Tanjong Pagar to Orchard to SengKang to Bukit Panjang. In the journey of helping her clients, buy, sell, lease, and manage their properties, she has collected many stories and life lessons.

She writes as a form of catharsis and connection. Through her writing she hopes to share practical and useful insights as well as stories that can enrich her readers.

Buildings and houses is her passion and she has a special love for walk-up apartments and buildings built before the 90s, probably because of the character, charm and history that comes with these buildings. Besides buildings that can stand the test of time, she also appreciates the cultivation of personal substance and character that endures.

One of her favourite quotes goes

“Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike” - Theodore Roosevelt. Her belief is that good character will be a solid foundation in which she builds her career and the people around her.

When she is not hustling at work, she enjoys nice coffee, hearty meals, long walks and a good read. She also has a soft spot for all things furry.


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