Family of five love their new BTO flat in Sengkang

Ms Siti Widawati (second from left) and her family upgraded from a two-room rental flat to a Build-To-Order three-room unit, for $175,000 after receiving $40,000 in grants. PHOTO: HDB

Housewife Siti Widawati, 31, and site supervisor Mohamad Iswan, 33, love their new home in Sengkang.

After living in a two-room rental flat in Toa Payoh for eight years, they moved with their children into a three-room Build-To-Order (BTO) unit. The move in December 2014 was a practical one as they have two girls aged 11 and nine, and a seven-year-old boy.

In addition to the larger space, Ms Wati, as she is known, enjoys the wide range of amenities in her new neighbourhood, and having the Farmway LRT Station at her doorstep.

  • About the flat

  • Location : Anchorvale Crescent, Sengkang
  • Flat price : $175,000, after $40,000 CPF housing grants
  • Flat size : 65 sq m
  • Renovation cost : $7,000
  • Loan period : 30 years
  • Monthly mortgage : $574 entirely from CPF
  • 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.
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Why did you choose to buy a BTO flat? Did you consider other options?

Mr Iswan: We wanted a bigger space as our family was growing. Our third child, my son, was born in 2009. Also, we wanted to have an asset of our own and secure it for our childrens' future.

Ms Wati: We didn't consider other options because of budget constraints, but it was either upgrade or continue to rent. We wanted to be close to my family. Most of them live in the north at Yishun, Serangoon and Hougang. My mum often stays over too.

What did you think of using CPF for monthly mortgage repayment?

Mr Iswan: I see an improvement financially as I no longer have to set aside cash for rent every month.

Ms Wati: The money can be used for household expenses, for the kids, or simply go to our savings.

What steps did you take to turn the flat into your own space?

Mr Iswan: I installed shelving in the rooms and toilets and also surprised my wife with a photo wall in the living room.

Ms Wati: There are photos of the whole family over the years. My favourite is a series of photos showing each of us, all wearing our kindergarten graduation gowns, holding our certificates in a similar pose!

We didn't buy much new furniture because we already have most of what we need. Our close family friend gave us a low table that enables us to sit on the floor. It fits more people than a regular dining table, so when our relatives come over, we can eat together and have family bonding time.

Which is your favourite part of your home and why?

Ms Wati: I love to cook so I spend the most time in the kitchen. My kids don't like to eat out. They prefer home-cooked food, so I make sure I always whip up something for them, be it nasi lemak, fried rice or other traditional Malay food.

Mr Iswan: My room. It's where I have privacy and can relax and do my own thing.

What do you like about living in a BTO unit?

Mr Iswan: The flat came with finishes such as floor tiles. We just needed to install grilles and an extra kitchen cabinet.

Ms Wati: Having good neighbours. At Toa Payoh, I was close to my neighbours. If something happens at home, your neighbours are the first to help. I'm friends with my next-door neighbour and another one living upstairs. Our children also play together.

What makes you look forward to coming home each day?

Ms Wati: To be with my children and spend time together as a family, eating, enjoying karaoke. The neighbourhood is very convenient. There's a 24-hour supermarket downstairs, a hardware store, clinic and hawker centre, as well as a halal bakery where I buy bread, donuts and cakes. And it's a 10- to 15-minute walk to the Sengkang MRT station.

What makes you proud of your home?

Mr Iswan: It is an asset for my children and it's where I spend time with my loved ones.

Ms Wati: It's not about the size of the house but the love that dwells within.

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