Okay, so! Something major happened on Monday, 21 July 2014.
HAFIZ AND I COLLECTED THE KEYS TO OUR VERY OWN HOME/FLAT!
We are now homeowners!
Wow. I feel old. Haha.
Our keys collection appointment was at 4:10pm and we arrived at 3:55pm. It took us 10 minutes to find a parking at HDB hub so the irritation eliminated the very, very mild adrenaline I was having. We knew what we had to do: take a queue number for our appointment and proceed on to pay for our flat's Fire Insurance (located on the second floor with only two counters doing insurance if anyone needs to know). Fire insurance paid, we headed back to level 1 to wait for our number to be called.
We sat, with our housing documents and marriage certificate in hand. Hafiz was busy with his phone while I reminisced the day in 2011 - the younger and excited us at HDB, ready to book our flat. How has it been 3 years?!
I reached for Hafiz's hand and smiled like a cuckoo, "This is it. The is the day we've been waiting for. Remember when we were here in 2011?" Then, we both teringat sama-sama and senyum together. Hahaha.
Our road to booking a BTO flat went quite smoothly. There was no significance to the date we decided to get a flat. It just happened on a normal Saturday afternoon. I was online, somehow looking at HDB's website and after looking at the forecast of upcoming BTOs sales launches and finding a potential one, I called Hafiz. Hafiz was still only my boyfriend then, not even engaged (!) but I knew I was going to marry him anyways and that getting a flat was imminent. My mentality at that point of time was that why wait? It will take not months but YEARS for the flat to be ready and that there will be no harm done in applying for one. We knew we had to apply one day, so we decided to give it a try. We registered with our details, paid $10 for our name to be in the system and waited.
ow we received our application results, I can't remember exactly. We weren't even eagerly expecting the results but I recall seeing the application results email from HDB in my inbox. I opened it up and there it was, the congratulatory message from the board telling us that we've successfully obtained a queue number to the BTO of our choice! It was our first attempt and we were lucky to have gotten a pretty good queue number. We were quite surprised at our success rate really, especially after having heard stories of acquaintances applying for 5-6 times and failing to get a queue number.
After receiving the information package from HDB that included all details about the BTO of our choice i.e. floor plans, estate layouts and most importantly, $$$, Hafiz and I sat down together and did some serious thinking/analysis:
How many rooms? Which block should we picked? Which unit is the best? Where should our unit face? Which floor (the higher the better for me so that I can escape the insects/lizards especially, omg, this is important!)? Is the unit near the rubbish chute? Will we have a nice view of the roof garden? Is it going to be noisy? Can it not be near the multi-purpose hall? Which is better - the hallway on the left or right / turn left or turn right to our bedrooms? < I am serious, lol. Obviously, this last one is my requirement. You all know I'm the fussy one! Hafiz is easy. Buy house what, not clothes. Cannot suka-suka change tau!
Of course our decision circles around all the above plus one most important factor: Is this unit priced within our budget? Can we afford it?
I remember Hafiz and I painstakingly writing down details of all the eligible units that met our requirements before narrowing down our options. I think we still have that paper somewhere!
After finding one unit that suited our requirements well, in July 2011, Hafiz and I went down to HDB to book our unit. We paid the deposit of approximately $20k and I remember thinking, "And the wait begins right about... now."
Fast forward three years later:
Three years isn't that long, okay. I am serious.
he signing of the deed on Monday signifies the start of our journey to building our dream home. A place to call our own. We were attended to by a very jovial Malay lady for the signing. She explained to us the breakdown of our mortgage, i.e. how much is the monthly instalment, and all the necessary need-to-know for new BTO owners. Halfway through the procedure while the Customer Service Executive were signing off the documents, Hafiz whispered to me, "Look there... the keys are there." He beamed slightly and I looked to where he was looking and saw the all-so familiar bulky black pouch. We've seen people collecting their keys while at HDB or even on Instagram and I thought, IT'S OUR TURN NOW! THOSE ARE OUR KEYS!
The whole process lasted about 30 minutes and we left the Sales room with Hafiz awkwardly holding a black almost-suspicious-looking briefcase-folder courtesy of HDB.
What's inside are our official signed documents, the black pouch with all the keys, Singapore Renovation Guide 2014 Edition magazine and June's issue of Home & Décor.
I wouldn't say these magazines are for free because hello, we pay quite a hefty amount for admin fees and miscellaneous others!
Of course we drove to our new home after collecting our keys to have a look. Our block is somewhere in the picture below!
The estate is still fairly empty and quiet with the contractors finishing up the last bits on the ground level. We explored the area and found that there are commercial areas planned just a few blocks away. This only means shops/eatery which is good! Even better, we found out that the new LRT station is very, very near from our block. Like, 2 minutes walk! Bonus!
We are so very happy and excited to be hit with this milestone. First it was getting married, now it's building a marital home together. All in a span of 5 months! And with the coming Hari Raya we will spend together as husband and wife for the first time in a few days... How busy can we get?!
Hafiz and I have so many ideas between us on how we want our home to look like. Hafiz seems to be much ahead than me in crafting ideas in his head because he’s been throwing them at me since even before we collected the keys. I might have to control him a bit on his design and renovation ideas (he wanted to get matching Arsenal carpet and pillows when we were at The Armoury @ Emirates Stadium in London. Member sanggup pikul carpet balik naik aeroplane. This part never think of excess baggage! Sheesh! I mean, I am in love with Arsenal and all but I don’t want a colourful Arsenal carpet in what would probably be my entertainment room! It wouldn’t go with the theme I have in mind! So, we settled for Arsenal scarves. See, I can compromise.)
We have so much to do but we will take our time to integrate both our visions/concepts into our home.
Renovation companies / interior designers / contractors, we are coming for you!
p.s: Hafiz just told me he wanted plastic green grass for carpet in the living room. I love you with all my heart, Hafiz but are we going to be living in Jalan Besar Stadium or what?!
Geez, man, take it down a notch!