Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Entering a new phrase: Getting our own home!

After turning 21, the very thing I've been looking forward to was finally being able to apply for a flat!

Our journey of applying a flat wasn't all that smooth sailing and we only managed to get our choice of flat after two tries at balloting. For our first try in May's SOBF(Sales of Balance Flats) 2014, our queue number was like 45 out of 81 available flats for 5 room in Punggol. I shortlisted quite a number of flats but when it was our turn to choose, most of the good ones were taken so we decided to give up and try for the November's SOBF 2014. For our second try, we were super duper lucky to get the queue number 8 and successfully secured our dream home!

Here are some things to take note of before applying your flat: 

Am I eligible?
  • Both Applicants has to be Singapore citizens OR One Applicant is a Singapore Citizen and another is a Singapore Permanent Resident(SPR)
  • Both applicant has to be of 21 years old at time of application.

Keep a look out on BTO/SOBF Launches

The best way to check for launches is to keep checking out HDB's website where they would give you a rough idea of the month they'll be launching new flats. I highly recommend that you join their eAlert service so as to receive email/sms when they've launched and it's totally free! 
To be honest, I've been so excited about getting my own flat that I've been checking out on different launches even before I turned 21. Lol...
Anyway, HDB would launch new BTOs every 2-3 months and SOBF would be every 6 months which normally in May and November.

Ballot Results

Waiting for the ballot results seems like a year when you're super excited but the results just wouldn't be out in like 2-3 months. 

After making sure we were eligible, we took our very first step by putting in our lucky $10 for non-refundable administrative fee when submitting our application. We decided to go for the Sales of Balanced Flats (SOBF) exercise as the waiting time for a flat is so much shorter than Build-to-Order (BTO) flats. BUT do take note that by applying for SOBF, it also means that the chances of getting your dream flat is lower as flats available for selection would definitely be lesser than BTO. Of course this doesn't mean that there're no good choices!

Choosing our flat

Once I've received my queue number, I've started shortlisting the flats available in the area I've chosen which is Punggol. By shortlisting, I mean going through all the town maps, site plans, floorplans and what are the things available near the area (e.g MRT/LRT, shops, future buildings).  All the maps and floorpans will be available on the HDB website and it definitely helps by printing it out and taking down notes like where your flat will be facing and what facilities are near it.

Once you've shortlisted your flat choices, its important to visit the site personally so that you can have a much better gauge of the project area and you'll be able to make a better choice. When visiting, you could also take note of the direction of the sun, wind or if anything is blocking your flat.

Flat Selection and Signing Agreement of lease

On 21 April 2015, Hubby and I went for our flat selection and placed a deposit of $2000 to book our flat. Like finally after almost a year of waiting since we had our first try in May 2014. As the project we chose was not ready yet, we were not able to get the keys to our home. 

Our future home @ Waterway Brooks by the waterway! 

Keys Collection

After months of waiting as our project completion was delayed, we were finally invited to collect our keys on the 26 December 2015! Before the key collection, you also have to make sure that your HLE letter is still valid or else you won't be invited to get your keys.

Before we were able to get our keys, it was a really frustrating process because our flat was delayed and I had to keep worrying if it will be ready for move in asap before I give birth in April. So thankfully everything settled right into place and we've happily moved in on 10 February 2016.

* Here's a tip to get earlier dates for collection:
Once you've received the date from HDB for keys collections, you can actually call HDB to ask if there's any available slots before your date as some others would have changed their appointments to a later date. Alternatively, you could also log in to the HDB web with your Singpass and check for earlier available appointments. What I did was kept logging in every few hours to check for earlier appointments which people gave up and I managed to get an earlier slot! So it's actually about luck and perseverance hahaha.

Door Opening

Before we went for our keys collection, we've engaged our Feng shui master, Sky, to advise us on a perfect date to open the doors and what are the things we need to prepare when opening our door. As our key collection date was also an auspicious date for us to open our door, we were able to open our door right within the auspicious timing after we collected our keys.

Things to check before door opening:
Check on an auspicious date and time to open the door.
Check your family members chinese zodiac sign, those moving in together, to see if their zodiac clashes with the day you open your door.

If you're not engaging a Feng shui master, you could also check our this Almanac Calendar for the auspicious dates and zodiac sign clashes.

Things to prepare and do for door opening:

  • Joss papers offerings for the Earth God (土地公)which you have to burn below your block before going up to your flat to open the door. You can get the offerings from any offering shop by just telling the staffs you're burning for the Earth God. By doing this it prays for the safety of your family members like 出入平安.
  • Uncooked rice grains, Salt and Dry tea leaves to mix and scatter on all four corners of the house.
  • Pineapple to throw in the house while shouting "Fa (发)" before stepping into the house
  • Steamed sponge cake (发糕)to be placed in the middle of the living room together with the pineapple 
  • Open all windows and doors to let air flow in which is the positive energy.
  • Leave everything as it is for at least a day before going back to clear it up. Do not leave for too many days as the pineapple might rot and stain the floor while the salt might melt and it will be difficult to clean.
I know there're many many different versions of what you have to do when door opening so this is actually a simpler and fuss free version that includes the necessary things to do by my Fengshui master.

Hubby and my mum finished doing the procedure while I hide in the car as I'm pregnant and not allowed to be present when they're doing it. After they're done, I'm finally allowed to step in the house to see it for the first time and take pictures!

 Had always wished for a balcony and finally we have it! Even though it's not that big but I love how we get to see the waterway view and have huge wind blowing in!!!

Check out the view from the balcony! 

Living room with the study area which we decided to partition it into a guest room/study room.

 Dining area

Kitchen and service yard.

 Common toilet.

 2 common rooms with the same layout.
One for my parents, one for Clovine.

 Master bedroom toilet.

Master bedroom.

And the happy duo relaxing while enjoying the breeze!

That's all for our raw home tour! Shall blog about our renovation in another post soon!

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