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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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SALARY TOO HIGH FOR HOUSING GRANT BUT NOT ENOUGH TO AFFORD CONDO, STUCKED

I’m a stay home mum in my mid-30s, and my husband’s income is about $12k, which I consider substantial. Being pragmatic and frugal by nature allows us to sustain this single-income lifestyle where I can stay home w the kid. We don’t need alot of things to be happy and so don’t see a need to chase material things that add to stress.

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We currently stay in a 3-room HDB and are moving to 5 rooms- since baby #2 is coming in Oct, so we need more bedrooms.

At the start of our house-hunting journey, I honestly felt like you too! Because our income was not low, we didn’t qualify for a subsidy.

Private Housing

We’re also not well off enough to afford private housing comfortably without stressing about monthly instalments. Private housing is out of the qn for us in the foreseeable years because I don’t want to put extra stress on my husband and we also see no need to stay private. I think it’s the inside of the house that matters, not the outside, since we spend most of the time at home, not in the function room or swimming pool.

When choosing our new 5rm resale flat, our key considerations were location, to be close to extended family. But that meant we had to continue to stay in mature estate where HDB prices are crazy. 5rm or EA flats around the area is at least $700-$800k onwards.

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Both of us didn’t want to pay this much for a 99yr lease and not mentioning the loan. As we are also sceptical how much we’ll be able to sell it for in future.

So to combat this, we looked at older units and low floor. It helped that my husband prefers low floors, and I liked that the older unit are bigger.

After more than 15 viewings, and months scrolling on PropertyGuru, we finally found a flat from the 1970s, 5rm, mature estate, low floor, at less than $600k, with a greenery view on the balcony.

I think it’s entirely possible to find something comfortable within your budget so that u don’t have to postpone plans just to save up for that ideal property at sky-high prices.. You just have to go for many many viewings, so that u can find something that’s acceptable to both of u.

Housing Versus Marriage

If you would like advice, don’t let housing or lack of push back your marriage plans. My big regret is not having kids earlier. I had my first baby at 33. Second one is coming in a few months at 35. I feel tired and old already.. But we still want to try for baby #3, as my husband and I are both only children so we know it gets lonely.

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My husband and I got married in our late 20s. At that time he was still studying, but we didn’t want to wait for BTO and too broke to buy resale. So we rented a 1 bedroom condo at $1.5k per month, which was very affordable. But that was the rental market years ago, i don’t know what it is like now. Maybe u can consider renting a cheap / affordable place in the meantime to start settling down.. After 1yr rental, my husband graduated and we bought our first 3rm resale flat and have stayed here till now.

We also didn’t have a lavish wedding/proposal/diamond ring. We don’t see the need for all these. So it also helped to save money and put it into longer term things..

However, I do have to agree with u about renovation costs! Now that I’m embarking on the reno journey myself, prices are crazy.

Because our new flat is so old, we really can’t keep anything. It needs a complete redo of floor tiles, electrical, lighting, toilets, kitchen.. Really everything. We’re not even looking at elaborate carpentry or anything very fancy, our 3 quotes have come back ranging from $75k- $120k. And this is just renovation cost, not including appliances, aircon and furniture!

Expensive Renovation Quotes

I find this really unbelievable. I’m still persevering to find more reasonable quotes. I will not spend $100k on reno, it’s crazy. I think $60k is probably our max, but we haven’t found that yet, still working on it…

Good luck to you on your house hunting. Don’t give up on HDB, not everything is $1mil.. $1mil is usually for penthouse unit but do you really need that to be happy? Take time to find, you’ll surely find something you both like.

Also, your first house likely won’t be your last. So don’t need to go all the way to $1mil immediately. Because it’s the first time you will be staying on your own, there’s alot of things you will need to experience to know if you will actually like it.. So no need to max out on your first home yet.

Like for us, we were so noob choosing our first hdb, we only went to view in the night after work. So we didn’t know it was so dark. It doesn’t have natural light coming in as it is blocked by opposite block and is a corridor unit so I even have to turn on lights in the day!

But we’ll chalk it down to first-timer mistake. So for all our subsequent houses, we know clearly what we want / can live with and what we absolutely cannot and we’re able to make better decisions..

One last thought, maybe don’t go private la, i imagine it must be very stressful to carry such a big loan on your shoulders at this early stage, esp if u say both of you have not much savings yet . But that’s just me.

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