Motormouth: Buying an apartment was much harder than buying an automobile

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The legwork, financing and documentation required for a new car was nothing compared to getting a new flat.

At least, this was my experience as a fairly-fortunate petrolhead already on my fourth car when I bought my first home with my better half. 

We got lucky in the HDB “lottery” at the time and eventually sold our unit for a tidy profit, which funded the downpayment for a brand-new 911 (of hot hatches). It was my vehicular utopia in Candy White. 

Less sweet, however, was the house-hunting thereafter. I felt like the proverbial deer in headlights - HIDs, of course. 

I was startled by the market prices of public and private housing alike, surprised by the sheer variety of property projects on such a small island, and scared by the size of that impending mortgage. 

Another shocker for this self-proclaimed wordsmith was the lingo used by property agents. 

Does “freehold” mean the house is on the house? Does “PSF” stand for Please Start Financing? Is a “sub-sale” related to the MRT subway? Is a MCST (Management Corporation Strata Title) a group of people or a piece of paper? And why do stamp fees cost so much more than the stamps I licked to send letters?  

After viewing dozens of apartments and carefully checking out their carparks meant for residents, I learnt a few things. 

There are over a thousand property developers in Singapore, from the boutique to the epic. Real estate agents tend to promise the moon, especially if the condo offers a rooftop terrace with the moon visible on a moonlit night. “Shoebox suites” in town are tiny places with mighty price tags. 

A so-called swimming pool could just be a glorified tub of chlorinated water, plus deck chairs and life buoys. A so-called gym could just be a little room with a treadmill, two dumbbells and three random issues of Men’s Health magazine. 

For this Singaporean salaryman who had better health than wealth, realty was a real toughie. It made buying a car seem so easy to me.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1719215438239 Motormouth+ +Buying+An+Apartment+Was+Much+Harder+Than+Buying+An+Automobile+ +Pic2Home is where the heart is, with or without en-suite parking.

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