So, as of 3 pm on Monday this week, I am officially a homeowner.
I am renting the condo back to the previous owner until end of Feb 2012, because his wife is pregnant and he doesn’t want to do any moving at this time. Because it is a short lease, I pushed for a higher than market rate rental. For the next six months, I am able to cover the mortgage payments, conservancy charges, property taxes, and property insurance without a single cent out of pocket. Who doesn’t love that?
In the meantime, we have the next six months to decide where we want to live. Pros and cons choosing the condo as our living space:
1) Condo has a better living environment. It is a gated community with full condo amenities after all, and located in the private housing area. The apartment itself is larger and has better airflow around the house.
2) Parents really, really like the idea of living in the condo. This is BIG for me, it is one of few ways I feel I can really fulfill my filial piety. One of Dad’s good friend has also moved to the same property, and it is a plus since Dad has very few close friends.
3) The condo is much closer to work for me. Cuts my work commute in half, and may even save me further transport costs if I get rides from my co-workers. There are quite a few of them living the same area.
1) The condo will be the more expensive choice. The difference in rental income between the condo and the HDB is about $1000. I can cover that with my CPF contribution, but well, $1000 saved is $1000 gained. However, the HDB will be easier to rent than the condo, due to their respective locations.
2) There will be higher renovation costs if we choose the condo. My parents believe in getting quality stuff that lasts. If we are to live in the condo, the level of renovation will ramp up quite steeply. Anyway, I estimate at least 60K to 70K at least this time round. If I just rented the condo, I should be able to renovate for around of half of that. *Gulp*
3) We spent 100K renovating our HDB four years back, although a large part of that is furniture. Although to be fair, we were expecting this 100K to be prorated over at least 20 years. None of us expected a move so soon. Anyway, it means that our top rated renovation done at the HDB will kind of be wasted. And frankly, all of us feel reluctant to hand over the property to renters, who won’t work as hard to maintain our beautiful home as we will.
4) The condo is further away from parent’s workplace. However, they drive the family car, I don’t, so it kind of even things out. Sis is a freelancer who works from home, so commute is not critical for her.
5) The condo is less convenient than the HDB. Our HDB is near the most developed suburban centres in Singapore. We are 10 minutes walk away from everything. At the new condo, we are a few MRT stops away from the nearest hub. Sis hates that. She calls the new place somewhere “where even birds don’t want to lay their eggs”.
6) We would have to move. *shudder* And if property prices shoot through the roof, or a collective sale goes through, we may have to move again. After the last move, that is the last thing we really want to face again.
We are still kind of dithering although based on the above list, we should really stay put in the HDB. It really is darn convenient. If only the parents didn’t like the new place so much. I feel kind of unfilial depriving them of that.
We have up to next January to really make up our minds, since we can only start renovation beginning of March. But oh, how I wish I didn’t have to make this decision!