Property Selection

In case you're wondering why my sister bought a place that was in such a poor condition, here are the reasons:

1. Properties that are in better condition have higher valuation prices AND higher cash-over-valuation (COV) prices. My sister paid 22k COV. Properties in better condition would go for 30k COV and above (as at the time she signed the option to purchase). One cannot expect too much from a 2nd- or 3rd-hand HDB apartment.

2. We were going to renovate the toilet and kitchen anyway. Most owners would at least renovate these parts of the apartment for hygiene reasons, right? It is better to renovate it to you own liking rather than pay upfront (in the valuation price and COV) for the design that the previous owner chose. I helped to design and turn a post-war apartment from trash to treasure before so I know the same can be done for a 25-year-old flat.

3. Shape of the apartment is unusual. It has a less of a "HDB feel". Most people prefer a squarish layout so that it is easier to position furniture, fully utilise space and for fengshui reasons. If you look at the floor plan, you will see that the rooms are squarish. Only the areas to the entrances are at an 45-degree angles which I think make the place look interesting. So for fengshui, according to charts I checked, the fengshui of the internal of the apartment is ok despite the "missing sectors" (more on that in another post).

Floor plan

4. Comfortable feeling when we entered the place. The way to select an apartment is to have the potential occupants "feel" whether they are at ease. It's not about ghosts or evil spirits. It's about whether the energy in the apartment compliments the potential occupants. Within the first 3 seconds of stepping in to this place, I liked it. My sister felt neutral about it but she knew it was the best she had seen. The other apartments, I thought yucks! the moment I stepped in.

5. Cool interior. Even though the aircon was not turn on, it did not feel warm in the apartment, neither was there too much breeze. Many people like breezy apartments but it's actually bad fengshui because qi doesn't get to circulate within the house before exiting.

6. Location. It's 2 bus stops away from my parents' place, 1 bus stop away (walking distance) from the bus interchange and MRT station. There is a wet market nearby, a mall, shops, eateries, public gym, public swimming pool and parks nearby. There are no schools, places of worship, or multi-storey carparks nearby - which are sources of noise.

7. Surroundings. The building is shielded from the noisy main roads by 2 buildings and a hill. There are no big empty fields or amphi-theatres where noisy events can be held.

The contractors finished hacking off the tiles in the bathroom and kitchen on the first day. Tomorrow they'll be hacking the tiles in the storeroom and living room.

Related post:
"Before" pictures of my home


David said...


Very informative. So there is no rating system to protect consumers from bad contractors in SG?

Is there any type of do-it-yourself friends in your social network?

A good friend or two might make renovating the bathroom easier, as you could choose the components you like and ensure the installation is proper.

The kitchen however will require professional installers. In the States there are many reliable kitchen & bathroom contractors. I am sure this is due to the size of the market here, talking millions of folks doing homeimprovement projects.

Interesting that you have faith in
fengshui, something that cannot be proven.

I look forward to learning more.


If we would talk less and pray more about them, things would be better than they are in the world: at least, we should be better enabled to bear them.

-- John Owen

Yu-Kym said...

For HDB renovations, we are not allowed to DIY the hacking works. The contractors have to be registered with HDB. HDB will blacklist them if they fail to follow guidelines such as disposal and drilling /knocking down the wrong walls. But it protects the HDB property rather than the consumer.
People usually give their feedback in forums but there is no official rating system.
"Faith" is a belief. Yes, I believe classical fengshui which is about the flow of energy, but not new-age fengshui which is combined with superstitious beliefs.

David said...


At risk of taking you off topic, why do you believe in classic fengshui?


The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.

-- Marianne Williamson

Anonymous said...

Fengshui is just common sense which is rather uncommon in Western culture, e.g. "You must live within your means!".

Another excample, Fengshui does not recomment living in a droughty house. As anyone knows, you will catch cold and flue all the time!

Anonymous said...

A few "strange" things which I can't understand:-

1) Why are the lighting in the common corridor amber in colour? Are they using anti-fog halogen lamps? Are there heavy foggy days in Singapore? Is that necessary?

2) Again, why are the window glass facing the common corridor amber in colour? This cuts down the amount of light entering the unit requiring you to turn on the ceiling lights "most of the time"? They could have used froze glass instead.

Anonymous said...

i believe in fengshui too...before renovating my house, a fengshui master said the intended location of my wet kitchen has to be switched with my laundry room, if not it will bring bad energy in terms of health to the lady of the house. therefore, we swapped the position of the laundry room with the wet kitchen.

Yu-Kym said...

David, I agree with "anon" that fengshui is alot of common sense. I will write a little about it in another post.

Anon, whatever is in the corridor is up to HDB. As for the glass panels of the window, people typically use tinted glass for privacy. The previous owner did not use curtains.

Anon, did the fengshui master explain why the laundry room had to be swapped with the kitchen? I'm aware that the kitchen is not supposed to be in the middle of the house.

Anonymous said...

In the US, competitors can put any rubbish on "comments or ratings" relating to other tradsmen and hence the rating system can be very unreliable especially when there are no work around then everyone is trying to kill each other for business!

David said...

Anon (7:20AM),

You said, As anyone knows, you will catch cold and flue all the time.

Cold and flu are caused by viruses. The vast majority of infections are caused by people picking up the virus off an environmental surface. Like a telephone, copying manchine buttons, the handle of a cart in the market, door handles or any place touched by many others.

One can catch a virus if another coughs very close to you. Otherwise the viruses while carried by the wind, do no live long when suspended in air.

That is why cleaning environmental surfaces is important. When coughing one should cough into the inside of your bent arm.

Anon also stated - "...rather uncommon in Western culture, e.g. You must live within your means!".

Living within ones means has quite a bit of variability how that is interpreted.

Some here in the States live beyond their means, using credit cards and loans for big homes, expensive furniture and other luxuries they normally cannot afford. One only has to look at the record number of home loan defaults to see this is a problem.

There are some decorators here, in most large cities who practice fengshui.

Until I learn much more about this I remain uncertian as to fengshuis application and usefulness.


Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.

-- Author Unknown

Anonymous said...

In SG, most properties are on 99-year lease hold, i.e. you don't own the land. Assume the property was built in 1960, it means there are only around 50-60 years left on the land lease.

I wander what will happen when the land lease runs out?

Anonymous said...

Fengshui saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars in preventing me from making a big mistakes when I wanted to buy my first home.

I was really interested in buying a rather impressive house at the end of a cul-de-sac. But it was at the bottom of a hill, and it was a rather long steep hill! And the house was on a concrete slab foundation and not a raised pier type foundation.

Fengshui says "Don't buy a house at the bottom of a hill".

I have to convince myself that Fengshui was right. So one day, when it was raining cats and dogs, I drove out there and have a look. What I saw absolutely shocked me and changed my mind! All the neighbours at the cul-de-sac were frantically digging out and clearing out the storm water drain with spades and shovels while being totally drenched in the rain. What happen was that all the leaves and branches (some were blown down, and some have already fallen onto the road) were swept into the storm water inlet, blocking it, and threatening to flood the surround houses.

People living there must have been expecting this since they seemed to be well prepared with all the tools to do the job!

So don't ignore Fengshui!

Anonymous said...

yu kym,

the fengshui master did not explain in detail on why we need to swap the wet kitchen with the laundry room position. maybe it was too technical for us to understand. he just explained in laymen terms that the fire of the wet kitchen in that position will bring bad health to the person with the ram zodiac sign which happens to be me (lady of the house)...he will look into all the occupants zodiac sign and advise which colour scheme to be used in our house. for eg, my daughter has too much 'fire', therefore her room has to be blue, white or grey (colours which are cooling in terms of fengshui)...