Money

Our incredible journey to the flat of our dreams

Joshua Tang // June 23, 2021, 9:08 pm

The Flat We Dreamed Of

All photos courtesy of Joshua Tang.

The one thing that soon-to-be-married couples pour so much time and money into? Housing. 

It’s a never-ending list of discussions and decisions – renovation, interior design, furniture, tiles, paint colour, hacking, appliances – that can lead to quarrels and stress. 

Unsurprisingly, this was one of the mandatory conversations that Chloe and I had during our Marriage Preparation Course five years ago. 

After the delay in getting their keys, Joshua and Chloe had fewer than two months to complete their renovations.

WHAT KIND OF HOME DID WE WANT?

We dreamed of a nice-sized 5-room flat, which was near the MRT station. At the same time, it had to be within our limited budget as we had not been working for long, and I had just enrolled at Bible school.

But we didn’t really have a specific location in mind (split loyalties between an Eastie and a Centralite!).

While we felt it was important to have our own space and hoped to live on our own after marriage, we also recognised that renting a place was a luxury that we could not afford. That meant that we still had to keep an open mind to living with either of our parents.

From 2016 to 2017, we applied for two Build-To-Order (BTO) projects in different parts of Singapore, but we were unsuccessful both times.

The couple tied the knot in 2018 and stayed on campus for a year.

At the end of 2017, we decided to participate in a Sale of Balance Flat (SBF) exercise in Punggol. It was one of the estates that we both liked and could see ourselves starting a family in.

However, we misunderstood the process and didn’t realise we would end up balloting for all units in Punggol instead of specific units.

After that “mistake”, Chloe prayed: “God, we’ll take what you give us.”

Emboldened by her faith, I responded by saying that if God wanted us to live in Punggol, we would know for sure.

WHERE SHOULD WE LIVE?

In February 2018, some six months before our wedding, we received an email from HDB informing us that our queue number was #1!

I was actually taking a nap between writing papers and couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. Our friends were happy for us; they were also super amused as we were the first people whom they knew with a queue number of #1.

Since moving into their 5-room flat in Punggol, Joshua and Chloe have opened up their house for various needs, including babysitting and as a temporary shelter for Malaysian workers.

Attached in the email were the flats available for selection – surprisingly, we found one that wasn’t previously on the list of flats we had scrutinised and ranked according to preference.

This one was even nearer to the MRT station (a five- instead of 10-minute walk), and it was ready for key collection immediately.

Looking back, we knew it had to be God – this was Him telling us where He wanted us to live!

HOW WOULD WE PAY FOR IT?

The next cause of much anxiety, however, was securing a sufficient loan to cover the mortgage.

The initial approved amount from HDB was only about 60 per cent of what we needed, and we had to appeal for a larger amount. 

Many anxious weeks later, and a nail-biting phone interview with the HDB officer, the full amount needed was approved. Praise God we could afford our dream flat that met all our requirements!

The most important thing in the Church: Unity

Clearly we were over the moon and wanted to collect the keys as soon as possible. But the handover of the flat kept getting delayed for unknown reasons.

Weeks became months. 

WHEN COULD WE MOVE IN?

Thanks to God’s provision, we managed to secure housing on campus!

My sponsoring church also very kindly covered the extra rental costs as I upgraded from a single room to a studio apartment. We only needed to pay for utilities and groceries.

For one year, we had a little home to call our own. On hindsight, this was again God’s hand in helping us with our finances.

The couple on their last overseas trip to Japan in February 2020.

When we finally got the keys in January 2019 (almost a year since we got the ballot result), we only had about three months to get a contractor and complete the renovations before our rental lease was up.

But the delayed handover meant that our mortgage payments could start later.

Because we moved in only after my graduation, we had enough money in our CPF accounts to cover the monthly payments after I started work! As a result, we had to fork out cash top-ups for only a few months. 

Praise God that our renovation was also completed just in time for us to move in on May 31 – the final day of our rental lease. 

Once again, God’s perfect timing meant we didn’t have to spend any extra on rent.

GOD’S PROVISION, OUR STEWARDSHIP

It has been two years since we moved in. The 110 sqm of space could be a very comfortable cave for homebodies like us to hide in and binge-watch Netflix.

However, we were mindful that we wanted a 5-room flat so that we could host our family and friends, and have enough space for children should God bless us with any.

Joshua and Chloe have hosted many different people over the two years, from church friends to family members.

So far, we have had fellowship meals with our family and friends, as well as cell group and ministry gatherings. We have also offered our home for babysitting and as a temporary shelter for two Malaysian brothers working in our neighbourhood.

Our prayer for young couples out there is that while we desire a place to call our own, remember that when God provides that place, we become stewards of that home.

A home that belongs to God as the head, a home that we have been blessed with to bless others, a home to practise the gift of hospitality.

As disciples, let’s keep others in mind as we build our homes!

A Christmas Invitation: A simple way to share the Good News this Christmas!

Through this whole process of house hunting, we have seen how the words of Jesus have proven to be true time after time.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33

We’re thankful for His perfect timing and His provision. All this has reminded us that we should respond with stewardship. It’s not all about us. 

Josh and Chloe will have been married for three years come September. He is a ministry executive at Christ Methodist Church, and she works for an e-commerce company. They are self-professed TV addicts who also enjoy cooking and baking. They have very kind “guinea pig” friends who say they enjoy the yummy food that comes out of their kitchen.

THINK + TALK

  1. When was the last time you saw God’s hand in your life?
  2. Is there something you can trust the Lord’s timing for?
  3. How can you steward well the things that God has entrusted to you in the present?