In December 2009, Mr Leow Guan Jad, 30, and Ms Yee Ming Yi, 29, applied for their three-room Build-To-Order (BTO) flat, Skyville @Dawson. He was then a final-year undergraduate at the National University of Singapore and she had worked for a year.
The couple got married in November 2014, and moved into their new home just before Chinese New Year this year.
With their careers just taking off — he is an IT engineer while she is a senior assistant manager — they plan to have children in the future, and will convert the extra room to a baby room when the time comes.
About the flat
- Location : Dawson Road, Queenstown
- Flat price : $309,000, after $25,000 CPF housing grants
- Flat size : 65 sq m
- Renovation cost : $30,000
- Loan period : 10 years
- Monthly mortgage : $1,000 entirely from CPF
- Median resale price for a three-room flat in Queenstown (4Q 2015): $367,500
- Visit My Nice Home Gallery at HDB Hub (Monday to Saturday, 8.30am to 5pm) or visit mynicehome.sg for ideas to turn your flat into your nice home.
- A special feature by
Why did you choose to buy a BTO flat? Did you consider other options?
Mrs Leow: We didn’t consider other options as this was the most affordable choice given our income. It’s our first home so we thought we would start with a BTO.
Moreover, the location is ideal. We don’t plan on getting a car, so we needed somewhere near public transport, and our place is near Queenstown MRT station. A resale flat in a similar location would have cost us much more.
Mr Leow: We wanted somewhere central, near the train station and not too far from our parents. The $25,000 in housing grants was sufficient to offset most of the down payment. Everything was paid for by CPF and we did not have to fork out any cash.
What was your first impression of your new flat?
Mrs Leow: I lived in a three-room unit with my parents in Bedok before we got married, so I’m comfortable with the amount of space we have in our new flat.
What steps did you take to turn the flat into your own space?
Mrs Leow: The décor theme for our flat is cosy Scandinavian with a touch of retro. We kept the walls and floor white, and chose mostly wooden furniture, including our dining table, chairs, and sofa.
We compared furniture prices to make sure we got the best price for the designs we wanted.
Mr Leow: We visited several warehouses in the industrial areas to shop for furniture, as they are cheaper there than those sold in shopping malls.
We also installed a fibreglass wall panel system that looks like white brick on one of the living room walls to give it a rustic feel. For an elegant touch, we chose black borders for the shoe cabinet and the dining table light.
What personal touches have you added to the house?
Mr Leow: My “man cave” in the spare bedroom is where I keep my soldering equipment and electronic parts. I assemble audio electronics, and also keep a small headphone collection here.
I like to brew fresh coffee in the morning, so I have a coffee machine, grinder, and knock box in the kitchen.
Mrs Leow: We used to visit different cafés but realised it’s cheaper to DIY. We designed our dining room to be a nice place to chill, with comfy chairs, so we can enjoy long breakfasts together on weekends.
The living room is kept spacious and I do yoga and exercise there.
What do you like best about your BTO project?
Mrs Leow: We love the rooftop garden where we can have gatherings with our families. The view is amazing.
We also like the small gardens on the lower levels, where we can relax and enjoy the greenery.
What I like most about my neighbourhood is…
Mrs Leow: Food places and shops for grocery shopping are easily accessible. We both enjoy cooking, and don’t want to walk too far while carrying the groceries. Also, the sheltered walkways protect us from the rain and sun. Our friendly neighbours also make the estate livelier.
Mr Leow: I had to travel a bit to get food when I lived in a private estate previously. Now, it’s a lot more convenient. There is a kopitiam in the next block, a supermarket, bakery, dentist and clinic. Also, Alexandra Village Food Centre is just a short bus ride away.
I would advise new BTO home buyers to…
Mrs Leow: Enjoy the process of setting up your new home. Even if you encounter hiccups during renovation, laugh about it and be patient with each other. Communication is very important. It’s a new home for both of you, so just enjoy it.