Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here.
It was 2005, we had just sold our HDB flat at a loss, placed a booking for a condominium but we were "broke" and needed somewhere to stay.
We decided to rent a 3 bedroom at a condo in the east. The condo was near to both my parents, in-laws and the caregivers. It was a new condo that had just TOP and was built by City Developments. The owners were staying in a HDB and decided to rent out to us at $1,600 per month for a 1,313 sq foot unit. However, it was on a low floor (level 2) and facing the kids pool.
I have to say that the rental market was pretty 'bad' during the early 2000s. It was the tenants' market and the rental was 'relatively low' in 2005 compared to now where you can only rent a HDB flat with the same amount of money. I have thrown the tenancy agreement away. I should have kept it for keepsake memory if i had known i will be blogging about it. hahaha. Anyway, i wanted to tie in that rental for 2 years and insisted on a 2 year tenancy.
Besides the fact that we have no money to buy a place where we can stay, one of the reasons for renting is that it allows me to feel the market vibes and it became a major catalyst for buying a second condo.
In middle 2006, i started to feel the market is starting to turn up. This is because the rental in my condo has already risen to $2,000 from $1,600. I had this feeling that the market is going to run soon and we started hunting for a second condo.
Lesson to share - It's okay to rent if the rentals are affordable and you have no money to pay the downpayment. From June 2005 to June 2006, we were able to accumulate more CPF money (since the first condo was under Deferred Payment Scheme) and we were saving up diligently. By renting, i can also feel the market vibes when it starts to turn up.
We humans are creatures of habit. We like to stay in familiar places and surroundings. As such, we have no qualms buying a unit in the same condo where we were renting. We started to scout intensively within the same condo and by late 2006, we managed to find a unit on the top floor with a nice view for a 1,259 square foot unit on the top floor. Once again, we didn't have much options but play within our means. Both my wife and I had one principle in life, that is never borrow from our parents as this is their hard earned money. Just for a point of reference, at that time, we could have bought a freehold landed terrace for around $900k-1m and a semi-detached house for $1.2m-1.3m in the same area.
The owner bought the place for around $660,000 during its launch and initially didn't want to accept a loss. However, they were 'genuine sellers' as they have committed to another property elsewhere. A good thing about buying during the doldrums is that it is a 'buyers' market. We saw the same unit 3 times and put in a cheque of $600,888. I always like to end the buy offer with a nice number. Somehow, it gives the seller a good feeling and an "added incentive" to accept my cheque. The thing about property is this.... it is a very personal experience. It reminds me of a scene from Harry Potter. It is not you who choose the wand but the wand who chooses you. hahaha. Property is probably the same, you will know it when it comes. The feel good vibes from the property must be right and you will feel it straightaway.
Our landlord was more than willing to let us 'terminate' our lease earlier than the 2 years without any penalty. He can easily rent out the unit again at $2,000 or better but he wanted to move into the condo. You can probably imagine how 'funny' it was when we told the movers we want to shift from one unit to another unit within the same condo.
Here you go, a pictorial view of my journey as at end of 2006. Till we speak again next week.