For Ms Jeshlyn Wong, 50, buying a brand new two-room HDB flat was like “striking lottery”.
She did not think she would be able to buy her own home until the Housing & Development Board (HDB) relaxed its policies to allow singletons aged 35 and older to buy new 2-room flats.
The rule change was like “a dream come true” for Ms Wong, an administrator at a semiconductor firm.
Jeshlyn’s renovation tips for new homeowners
1. Look for a reliable renovation company — check that it is debt-free and has been in the market for some time.
2. Get price quotes from a few contractors.
3. Manage your expectations — you may not realise 100 per cent of your wishlist.
But there was one hitch. With the rule change, many singles rushed to apply for a new flat.
“The first four times I applied, I was unsuccessful. I got a queue number on my fifth attempt. It was like striking lottery,” says Ms Wong.
Keeping her eye on the application rate for the 2-room flats that were offered, she picked Sembawang because it gave her a better chance of getting a flat.
She finally signed the sales agreement in 2014.
“I was jumping for joy! Finally I could proudly say that I had my own home,” adds Ms Wong.
She moved in last year and spent around $20,000 on her renovations, which took about three months to complete.
She opted to go with a minimalist look, using her preferred shades of black, white and grey.
A splash of pink in the form of her sofa is the only concession to the neutral tones to please her mother who loves colours and visits regularly.
“The process of renovating my home was challenging. I had to choose the tiles and materials for the cabinets, pick out the taps, utensils and even tablecloths.
“But it was all worth it. Once everything fell into place, I felt a huge sense of achievement!” she says.
How did you finance the purchase of your flat?
My flat cost slightly over $100,000. After receiving a $7,500 housing grant from the Government, I paid the remainder using my CPF funds.
Tell us the three things you like most about your home.
I love the design of my flat as the layout is compact and everything is within easy reach.
I enjoy whipping up my own meals in my kitchen.
I also spend much of my time relaxing on my sofa when I am at home. Not only does it add colour to my home, it also doubles up as a bed when my family visits.
My other favourite spot is my king-size bed which offers plenty of storage in the form of two trundle spaces.
What do you like most about your neighbourhood?
I enjoy the peace and quiet as well as the kampung spirit of my neighbourhood.
I leave my front door open and my neighbours are friendly. We always greet each other when we meet. There are also amenities nearby, including a mini-mart and an eating house.
What makes you look forward to coming home each day?
Being able to relax in the comfort of my own home and catching up on my favourite TV programme.
Watch how the couple crowd source ingredients from their neighbours to bake a community cake: