You may argue that a piping hot bowl of fish soup in the tummy on a rainy Friday afternoon gives you a great sense of comfort and security, but nothing comes close to having a shelter over your head.
A notification pops up on Facebook. I click on it, wondering if it’s my turn to return a poke. Maybe it’s a post promoting sunglasses from a friend whose account got compromised. You have to untag yourself quickly from those, or it will clutter your friends’ newsfeeds. And prevent someone from rescuing starving children with their likes.
Turns out, it’s from a future neighbour from the Facebook group that we’ve all joined. Because it’s what BTO homeowners do. Don’t they?
Every few days, someone in the group will make a trip to the site and get some aerial shots of the progress. The post they make usually garners a bunch of likes from concerned neighbours.
Some even go on to say, “Wah, top floor is up already. Can feel it coming soon hor?”.
Never mind that the key collection according to HDB is years later.
The feelings I get when friends and relatives ask me about my upcoming status as a homeowner are a whole mixed bag. “Are you excited?” Or “How are you going to finance it? Who is going to clean the house? What are you renovating it into?”
Some questions bring anticipation, some bring apprehension.
Sizing up the situation as a homeowner-to-be so far, and from vicariously living as homeowners from the house warming parties I’ve been attending, I am slowly warming up to the idea of taking on the single biggest commitment in my life.
Bringing your very short attention span to 3 things you may gain as an HDB owner… Without realizing it.
1) You Gain Comfort Of Being In A Place That Is Exclusively Yours
You have your own space. You want to relax, unwind, recharge or have friends over for a gathering… Guess who calls the shots?
It’s a rainy Sunday morning outside, and you are curled up in bed wondering if you should get dressed and make it in time to grab a Big Breakfast or just hit the snooze button… Guess who calls the shots?
Ok, maybe certain Punggol residents have to get up after all, and get the contractor over. But I’m sure other homeowners have the option of sleeping in.
When you were living with your parents, how often did you incur the wrath of the matriarch for failing to wash your feet when you come back from outside? Or for leaving the computer on all night? Sleeping with the lights on?
With a home under your name, YOU call the shots. There’s no mum to mother you, no landlord to lord over you.
As someone who values independence and space, it feels shiok to have your own place.
2) You Gain A Sense Of Pride To Be Among A Handful Of Homeowners Around The World
Looking at friends who have already obtained the keys to their HDB, you can tell that they are happy, at the least. Happy to have found someone special to co-own the house with. Happy to have balloted successfully for a queue number. Happy to have selected a unit that they like.
Happy that the couple before them in the queue didn’t take the one that they really wanted.
Fast forward to the monumental key collection day, a post on Facebook showing a pouch full of keys can gather ten times the usual approval one gets from their network.
The next time the house will make waves again is when renovation is almost complete, with sneak previews posted by the owners. They write about the style they want the house to have, and the numerous trips they took to find particular decor items. And they’re happy to find an interior designer that delivered exactly what they want in their home.
All these happy moments build up to foster a sense of pride.
I’d like to point out this pride of being a homeowner in Singapore stems from the enviable position it is to have a title deed with your name on it. After all, few countries in the world are providing their people the option to experience this.
With home ownership figures in the US at 64%, our country’s folks may just be pleased to know that for a small parcel of land that’s 2/3 the size of New York City, there are a lot more people with property under their names.
And if you’re one of the 80% who have secured a place to call home, it’s a milestone in life worthy of respect… If not from people around then from people abroad.
Being the holder to a title deed is something friends from overseas recognize as a privilege some can only dare to dream of.
3) Gain More Savings From Spending Less On Entertainment Outside
To frame this right, I’m going to have to assume the homeowner is someone who wants nothing more than to head straight for home after a long day outside. To take a shower, enjoy a simple home-made dinner with the significant other, do the dishes, enjoy some TV time on the couch, cycle through the social media newsfeed on the mobile, then head for bed.
Not for someone who just wants to settle down with someone special and have secured their own living space!
If your preferred lifestyle does not involve heading for pubs and bars to socialize after work, but rather to head back to play with the cat… Having a place to anchor might just be the reason for spending less on entertainment which buys nothing more than flitting pleasure for the duration while the effect of the alcohol lasts.
Ok maybe you claim some shelf space with your name on the bottle you just opened. But that’s really renting the space.
That’s not to say having a home does not incur fixed expenses, as my friends who have actually started managing their own households will remind me.
You’ll save on entertainment, perhaps make less visits to retail outlets when you realize how limited space really is (and you actually have to clean up and keep the house free from clutter).
I’m going to stop here as you revel in the comfort of your couch reading this, beaming with satisfaction of having signed that agreement of lease in exchange for the roof over your head… And mentally calculating how much you saved from politely declining invitations to pubs from acquaintances.
Off we go to save more starving kids.
[featured image credits: newslookup.com]
Are you a homeowner yet? Share with us how you’re doing!