Thank God for this miracle.
Adding on to what Huizhi had written in Part 1.
Initially, I rationalized that the bible "leave and cleave" was more an emotional one rather than a physical one. After going through two unsuccessful round of HDB balloting, our initial decision was to stay with my family for the time being until the housing market adjust itself downwards or until we get a successful ballot (whichever comes first). Furthermore, staying with our family will help us to save on rental expenses.
However, after we had our first church Pre-Marital Counseling by Bro William and Sis Mary, they strongly encouraged us to consider renting a place for the time being until we get our own house.
Renting was never a good idea to me as I felt that it is an expense (rent does not go into paying for an asset). Furthermore, the idea of staying with other unfamiliar people in the house was never welcome by Huizhi. Hence, if we were to rent, ideally, we would have to rent the whole house and not just a room. This means a much higher cash expense than what we are ready to commit on a monthly basis.
So, ignoring what the prevailing market conditions are, we prayed together a few times and clearly listed out what our criteria are for our new home.
1) Low Cash; we pray for 10k+ (the current market is asking $25K cash over valuation (COV) and above for a very original condition flat which are normally located on the lower floors 2nd to 4th floor, along common corridor)
2) Decent Family (Like what Huizhi mentioned, we do not want loansharks to harass us thinking that we are the previous owner)
3) Flat less than 10yrs old
4) High Floor & Corner Unit
5) Move in condition with proper renovation done - So that we do not have to pay more $$ for renovation
6) Flat to be located within R3/R4 (Serangoon, Hougang, Sengkang, Punggol)
After listing out our criteria, it was one fine Saturday morning when I diligently took out the Classified and sms all the agents listed in Classified 504 letting them know that we are interested to view the flat on offer. In the SMS, I listed some of our criteria namely low cash.
A few agents called back quite quickly. Some of them are even rather suspicious about us as they are concern whether are we also housing agents trying to "spy" their flats on offer. Some are eager to arrange for us to view the flat.
The first flat we saw was Serangoon 211. We were shocked when we visited the flat. It looks and feels like a mini temple in the flat (it has so many statues of idols). Immediately, we were "turned off". It does not help that the flat has an odd shape and the owner is asking for $35k cash over valuation with very little renovation done and the flat is more than 20yrs old.The agent tried to convince us that in the current market COV of $30k and above is the norm.
The next flat we saw was a flat located at Serangoon 229. When I first stepped into the house, it reminds me about my granny's old house in Yishun. The layout was exactly the same. However, as the owner is asking for $30k COV and the condition is far from move-in condition, above 20yrs old and the flat is on the 4th floor. Furthermore, we do not like the place as the place is quite dark due to the fact that the protruding common corridor on the 5th floor shades away a lot of the sun. The agent also tried to convince us that in the current market COV of $30k and above is the norm. He volunteers to negotiate a better pricing for us if we are serious and ask us to consider $28k COV if possible.
The third flat we saw was located at the far end of Serangoon, blk 221. This flat was in move-in condition, corner unit, high floor (8th). Everything seems ok about the flat except for the fact that the owner is asking for $35k COV, above 20yrs old and it is very inconvenient to take a bus/MRT to reach the flat. Like the previous agents, this agent also tried to convince us that in the current market COV of $30k and above is the norm.
The fourth place we saw was Serangoon Blk 328. When we called the agent, she told us that the COV the owner is looking for is only $15k and it is on the 5th floor. We were excited to view this flat. However, she told us to lower our expectation of the condition as the place has been rented out to some China people for more than 3yrs. When we saw the place, we were disappointed. The whole place was really run-down (water stained ceilings, dirty tiles). Much renovation surely needs to be done if we want to consider it. Furthermore, this unit is located along the common corridor. The agent tried to convince us that in the current market, if we want low COV, we must be prepare to lower our expectation and accept flats of this original condition.
Following the fourth unit, we viewed another 17 units (mostly in Serangoon & Hougang). In all, we view 21 units before we experienced God's miracle. Throughout the whole experience of viewing the 21 units, both Huizhi and I are very disappointed by either the condition or the asking price of the owner especially the COV part. Both Huizhi and I are quite stressed over our housing needs. Throughout the whole experience, I have to constantly remind myself that God will provide and assure Huizhi that everything will be well and according to God's will and purpose for us =)
Thank God, after many countless evenings of house visiting, God miraculously provided. It was just last Wednesday (26th March) when I was having lunch with Samuel when I received an sms from an agent asking me to view a flat at Buangkok, high floor, corner, low cash, move-in condition, flat only 7yrs old.
I could not believe my eyes and even joking tell Samuel that there may be some catch. Not wanting to short-change myself of viewing the potential flat, I sms Huizhi and asked her if she wants to join me to view this place. In fact, just 2 nights ago, we viewed 8 units in one single evening and we are very tired from the whole experience of running here and there. Without any hesitation, she agreed to come along. =)
By the grace of God, the house matched all the criteria we listed out in our prayer request. Beyond that, as the flat is relatively new (7th yrs old), it has a lift landing and the chute is not very near neither is it very far from our unit. According to the valuation report, it is a north-south facing unit (something which is very good but was never a high priority for us initially)
We felt comfortable to get this place as the owners are both MOE teachers who hold high positions in school and the reason why they are moving out is because they are shifting to their new freehold condo along Yio Chu Kang Rd.
So, we can rest assured and know that no loans-harks will come and harass us for the wrong reasons.
Praise and glory be to God for this wonderful miracle.