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All settled in happily in Bukit Panjang BTO flat

Mr and Mrs Yap, and their four-year-old son, moved into their four-room Bukit Panjang flat in April 2015.
Mr and Mrs Yap, and their four-year-old son, moved into their four-room Bukit Panjang flat in April 2015.PHOTO: HDB
The Yaps spent $7,000 on their kitchen; they wanted a quartz surface for the kitchen counter-top.
The Yaps spent $7,000 on their kitchen; they wanted a quartz surface for the kitchen counter-top.PHOTO: HDB

Mr and Mrs Yap Long Heng bought a four-room Build-To-Order flat in Bukit Panjang for $228,000 with a 15-year loan. With the help of housing grants and their CPF savings, they did not need to pay any cash for their purchase.

Mr Yap Long Heng, 37, and his wife Ms Sharon Tan, 31, enjoy the many facilities and abundant greenery in their neighbourhood in Bukit Panjang.

They moved into their four-room flat in April 2015.

The couple, who have a four-year-old son, have become friends with their neighbours and many residents in the area through their volunteer work at the nearby Residents’ Committee (RC).

Why did you choose to buy a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat? Did you consider other options? 

Mrs Yap:  We wanted a BTO flat because it meant we didn’t have to pay cash for it. Resale flats around our neighbourhood cost over $300,000. If we had bought a resale flat, we would need to pay cash on top of our CPF savings, and would still have to spend on the renovation. For our BTO flat, we received $15,000 in housing grants, and used our CPF to pay the down payment. We did not have to use any cash.

What was your first impression of your new flat?

Mrs Yap: I was quite surprised at how spacious our flat was. I had lived in a three-room flat previously, so a four-room flat was big in comparison. 

Mr Yap: Initially, I was slightly worried that my living room may not be big enough.

So I was very happy when I saw the spacious living room and master bedroom in my new home. We could fit a queen-sized bed and walk-in wardrobe, as well as our son’s cot, in our bedroom.

  • About the flat

  • Location : Segar Road, Bukit Panjang
  • Flat price : $228,080 after $15,000 CPF housing grants
  • Flat size : 93 sq m
  • Renovation cost : $25,000
  • Loan period : 15 years
  • Monthly mortgage : $811 entirely from CPF
  • Median resale price for a four-room flat in Bukit Panjang (4Q2015): $350,000
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What steps did you take to turn the flat into your own space?

Mrs Yap: I wanted a black-and-white theme and did some research online. We wanted a classy look, without having to spend too much money.

Our priorities were the kitchen, walk-in wardrobe and TV console. We kept to our budget by buying most of our furniture, such as our bed and cabinets, off the shelf.

We bought our furniture from warehouses in the Sungei Kadut area. We also read reviews, and eventually bought accessories and fittings for the bathroom online from Taobao.com. We even drove to Johor Bahru to buy our electrical appliances.

What personal touches have you added to the house?

Mrs Yap: We came up with a shelving system to categorise the toys that my son has accumulated over the years.

Mr Yap: I customised our shelving system in the store room (bomb shelter) and this has greatly improved the space utilisation and we can store things more efficiently.

The most extravagant things we spent on for our home were…

Mrs Yap: The walk-in wardrobe ($5,000) — we had to put in additional partitions in the room for this, but this was one thing I felt I had to spend on. 

Mr Yap: The kitchen ($7,000). We wanted a quartz surface for the kitchen counter-top.

What I like most about my neighbourhood…

Mrs Yap: A lot of green spaces. We enjoy taking evening walks at Zhenghua Nature Park. There are many playgrounds in the park for kids to play at.

Mr Yap: It is quiet and peaceful compared to my mother-in-law’s flat in Bukit Batok, where we moved from. There have also been many improvements to the area since we moved here, such as more kopitiams.

I would advise new BTO home buyers to…

Mrs Yap: Make a list and  prioritise what part of your home you should spend on and what you can do without. You can always buy these things later.

Mr Yap: Pay for your flat using CPF so you have more cash to spend on your renovation.