Moving to a new place can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. My parents recently got the keys to their new HDB BTO 2-room Flexi flat unit and that means they are about to start their new chapter soon. As for me, I managed to secure a BTO unit with Sam but the flat will only be ready in a couple of years’ time.
While waiting, I thought perhaps I could help my parents with the move and perhaps stay in the new flat for a couple of months just to get a feel of what is like to live alone.
During this period of time, I am chipping in some of my time to help my parents out. Even though it was not our first time moving house, it is still a daunting task for me and my family. Over the years, we have accumulated so many items at home which we can’t bear to toss them away. Besides packing and organizing items, we also need to open a public utility account so that we can the water, electricity and gas supply ready for our new house.
As my parents are preparing their new nest, I was also there to learn the must-dos and don’ts of moving house. This will be useful to me once my new home is ready. And I’ve decided to document our journey here so that anyone who is interested in finding out more could refer to my blog for useful information.
Collecting Keys from HDB Toa Payoh Branch
The construction of the flat was ready in the first quarter of 2019. But they only sent us a letter to notify us of the key collection in the second quarter of 2019. They would usually distribute the keys in batches.
On the day of key collection, you will need to settle the payment of the house in full. But if you are on HDB or Bank loan, they will start to deduct the monthly payments from your CPF or bank account.
As for my parents, they bought a short-lease 2-Room Flexi unit meant for elderly Singaporeans. That would also mean that the cost of the flat is much cheaper (below $150k). The cost of the flat depends on the various subsidies you are eligible for and other factors such as total income.
After the lease, the flat would be returned to HDB. In addition to that, you can opt for elder-friendly fittings for your flat unit if you are eligible for this elderly housing lease scheme.
How small is the 2-Room Flexi flat?
There are two types of 2-Room Flexi flats: Type 1 (36 square metres) and Type 2 (45 square metres). For us, we opt for the bigger one (type 2) which is only slightly bigger than type 1.
Is 45-sqm home too small?
I find the size of the 2-room Flexi flat just about right for singles or retired couples. Over the years, I’ve learnt that the bigger the house, the more cleaning to do. So choosing a smaller flat is always deemed as a better choice for my parents and myself included.
A 2-room Flexi flat comprises of 1 bedroom, 1 living room, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom and 1 storeroom-cum-apartment shelter.
Older HDB flats are way more spacious so many of Singaporeans are not used to live in such a tiny space. But to be honest, it is possible to live in such a tiny space without compromising the quality of life.
We visited HDB’s My Nice Home Gallery just to have a feel how our 2-room Flexi flat would look like. They even furnished all the showroom flats so that you can envision how your flat would look like with all the proper furnishings put in place.
Every HDB flat unit comes with a bomb shelter which is a compulsory feature for all HDB flat since 1996. Our country has suffered from bombings during the Japanese Occupation and we have become more cautious since then.
Living Room-cum-dining room
The living room looks very compact and a little congested with all the decorative items. For me, I prefer the minimalistic Scandinavian interior that features a simpler colour scheme.
Their bathroom, attached to the bedroom, is interconnected with the kitchen too.
One thing to note is that their toilet bowls come with a washbasin for washing of hands. It is supposed to be more eco-friendly and water-saving to have a wash basin there but to me, it seems rather unhyg
The kitchen size is ideal – not too small or big. There is sufficient space for storage and other kitchen appliances. In fact, I like the light-coloured wooden kitchen cabinets that complement with the white kitchen table top.
HDB 2-Room Flexi Flat (36 sqm)
If you are curious to find out how small is a 36-sqm home is, here’s the picture of the 36-sqm 2-room Flexi show flat. Their living room is much smaller.
Heading over to our new house!
After signing of all the documents, the HDB officer gave us this bag containing a set of documents, keychains and a set of house keys. Then, she directed us to the SP services booth at Level 2. We are advised to head over there to open a water and electricity utility account for our new flat. As for gas, we have register separately with City Gas through their website.
We weren’t quite sure what to do in the first place so we asked the officers at SP services booth for help. After some clarifications, we discovered that we could register at the digital kiosk for an account. You can also register an account online and it will usually take about a few days for electricity and water to be turned on.
We were also told that we have to open our letterbox at our new place to retrieve the Allen key to turn on the water pipe. The Allen key came along with an instructional sheet on how to turn on the water pipe in your flat and you can switch it on once your account has been activated.
How our 2-room Flexi flat look like?
The Living Room
It turned out to be rather different from the showroom flat layout at HDB My Nice Home Gallery. But we are okay with it as we are pleased with some of the finishings and touches. There were a couple of minor defects which surfaced as we cleaned each corner and every crevice of the house.
My parents opted for the elderly-fittings which come with window grilles, safety grab bars and wheelchair-friendly kitchen cabinets. Hence, our house looked like it is almost all done up. As such, we also did not require any interior designer or contractor to do up our house. We are just going to keep things simple.
Our kitchen came with built-in cabinet, gas hob, cooker hood, kitchen sink and dish drying rack as my parents opted for the package. The workmanship of the cabinets is rather good.
We did not opt for the basin and shower set so we have to purchase our own sink and shower head. But everything else was installed. Check out that grey feature wall! I did not know that the bathroom comes with a feature wall design.
The bedroom, in my opinion, is indeed rather small. Ours came with built-in cabinets which made the bedroom space even smaller. You can squeeze a Queen-sized bed in there but it is going to be quite crammed.
It’s been weeks since we have collected the keys but it is still work in progress. We have furnished the house with the sink and other major electrical kitchen appliances. But we have not moved in all of our ‘