After years of saving and empty yearning, I finally bought my first property at the ripe old age of 32. It’s a cosy (euphemism for small!) condominium apartment located in the western region of Singapore and I cannot wait to move in!
Friends would know I’m very calculated when it comes to money matters, but for what is the biggest transaction in my life thus far by a long shot, I must admit I used my heart significantly more than my brain. I’m buying a home, not an investment. Well, that’s my rationalisation at least.
Life as a single person who is not a shoe
As a single guy under 35 in Singapore, my housing options are rather limited. I wouldn’t mind having a 3 or 4-room HDB flat as a spacious bachelor pad, but nope. HDB deems me too young (and too single). Also thought I would be doing this with someone else’s name next to mine on the mortgage, but such is life.
As such, my quest for a place to call my home was restricted to viewing 1-bedroom apartments unflatteringly dubbed “shoebox” units for their diminutive sizes, and boy are some units really depressing.
Watched Zootopia? When the bunny main character first moved into the city, she had a tiny apartment which rattled and shook when the train outside lumbered past, and that’s exactly how one apartment felt, as convenient as it is to be in such proximity to an MRT station.
Apartment hunting beyond the first few viewings wasn’t fun for me and I even remember feeling a little down that I’d never find something nice that I could afford. Almost wanted to buy a shoebox that was really cheap simply because it was in my price range so I could get it over with, but I’m glad I stuck it out a little more.
Falling in love
Eventually, I managed to find a development that I really fell in love at first sight. It has a wonderful layout and clever design such that the slightly above 500-square-feet 1-bedder didn’t scream claustrophobia, and felt like it could make a proper bachelor pad complete with a living space, kitchen and study.
A couple more showings later (okay it was closer to ten units) at the same development, I shortlisted the two I loved the most and got the cheaper one. I was not about to spend $50,000 more for a slightly nicer yet noisier view.
I kept wondering what the catch was: it was a nice apartment I like near an MRT station located in a pleasant neighbourhood, and I could afford it? I almost backed off because I thought it was a little too good to be true.
However, one man’s prime location is another’s no man’s land, so it probably isn’t a super good deal, but I did manage to buy a place I could see myself spending the next decade in, and for that I am really happy.
I’m… a landlord now?
I shopped for a home, not an investment property, but this apartment came with an existing tenancy: a nice, Caucasian couple whose lease expires months later.
I can’t move in right away, but I suppose it’s an arrangement that works out well. I can take the next few months to recuperate from the massive dent in my bank accounts, and start putting aside funds for furniture and sprucing up my new nest.
The nice couple will cover my mortgage in the interim while I get used to this added financial burden and my now sparse bank accounts.
As much as I don’t really want to be a landlord in this point of my life, I guess I have a few months of trying out being in the shoes of one. I’m usually on the other end of the relationship in my business tenancies.
Who knows, I may end up extending the lease with them because I might find that having rental income beats staying all by myself 😅