04 December 2014

The Search for our Second Apartment

Victor Nai strikes gold again! In case you're wondering, he's our agent =) He picked us up last Sunday for the first round of our apartment search and we fell in love with one of the places we looked at. Both Earl and I have since been referring to it as "our apartment" as though we already live there! But nothing has been signed yet so it's still too early to celebrate and we've got more flats to view.

In 2012, we gave Victor a detailed list of what we wanted for our living quarters. This time, the criteria basically remains the same except that we are willing to move out of the city in exchange for paying the same rental rate. We're currently in a two bedroom, one bathroom unit at SGD 3300 per month. We're hoping to get a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment for the same price (or less). This means though that Earl's commute to work might take longer and we won't have shops nearby we can easily walk to.

Apartment 1 - Pastoral View
Rate - SGD 3500
Size - 92 sqm.
Bedrooms - 2
Bathrooms - 1.5

• Pros:
- still located within the city and is a few steps away from Tan Tock Seng Hospital
- the Novena MRT, Square 2 shopping mall, and Novena Church are all roughly 10 minutes by foot
- has a separate washer and dryer
- Far East Organization owns the condominium so the building is well-maintained and it will be easier to have things fixed
- has a squash court, tennis court, and swimming pool

• Cons:
- no oven
- bathrooms are of an older style that I am not fond of
- the common bathroom is technically a narrow powder room where they installed a shower next to the door (very awkward layout)
- it's a longer walk to the MRT and the nearest bus stop is at least a six minutes away

Side Note: We weren't able to view the actual apartment as the tenant was out, so they showed us their model unit instead which you can view here.

Apartment 2 - Waterfront Key
Rate - SGD 3300
Size - 117 sqm.
Bedrooms - 3
Bathrooms - 2.5

• Pros:
- has an oven and a mini dishwasher
- ample closet space
- looks better than our current apartment
- when you get off the elevator on the ground floor, the bus stop is literally right outside the building
- the condominium is quite new (less than two years old), thus the rooms and the bathrooms are very modern in style
- has full condo facilities - Earl loved the gym and we both found the grounds quite soothing

• Cons:
- overlooking the Downtown Line MRT construction (can get noisy and dusty)
- 2-in-1 washer/dryer (I prefer them to be separate)
- no other furniture except for a sofa (which we do not plan to use so we will need to buy a lot of things)
- you will need to take a bus to the MRT station - the Macpherson MRT is at the 16th stop while the Bedok MRT is at the 5th stop (which entails a four minute walk to another bus stop)
- the nearest supermarket is two bus stops away
- too many neighbors around that can peer into the apartment (might need to keep the curtains drawn most of the time)







Apartment 3 - Blk 51 Strathmore (HDB)
Rate - SGD 3200
Size - unknown
Bedrooms - 3
Bathrooms - 2

• Pros:
- five minute walk to the Queenstown MRT station and the bus stop is even closer
- the supermarket is also close-by

• Cons:
- cramped layout
- old style decor - the bathrooms are covered in colorful tiles and the cornice had a swag design
- the color scheme was definitely not to my taste - the master bedroom was painted pink and the living room was mint green
- the kitchen definitely needed updating
- no oven or dryer

Side note: I didn't take any pictures as there were a lot of people around.

21 November 2014

10 September 2014

On the Hunt Again

We will soon be moving as we need a bigger apartment. There will be a new addition to our family this coming March which is perfect since our lease ends in February.

What is stressing me out is that I have to get everything settled before our temporary move back to Manila at the end of January. As mentioned in my other blog, we've decided to give birth in the Philippines as normal delivery in Singapore will cost us between SGD 4000 to SGD 10,000 while caesarean is minimum SGD 14,000.

Here's hoping I'll have enough energy to deal with movers, cleaners, and delivery guys. On the bright side, I am so looking forward to decorating the nursery!

24 June 2014

Sale! Tempur Warehouse


Follow Tempur on Facebook for product and promotion updates.

Click here for the map going to the Focus Global Inc. compound.

16 May 2014

Hooray!!!

Got this in my inbox on May 7th:

Dear Valued Client,

Good Day!

We wish to inform you that the Bank has implemented your request for change in repricing cycle from 9.75% 5 year fixed to 7.00% 3-year fixed starting April 16 2014 up to June 16 2016.


Though why they gave that start date when we only applied on April 29th is a mystery to me. Shouldn't it begin on May 16th? In any case, here's to lower mortgages!

So we will now get to save Php 3912.44 per month starting today with the new rate. But, it gets even lower since we've decided to make an advance payment on our loan. Here's a breakdown of the changes:

Php 24,321 - original amount
Php 20,408.56 - due to rate change
Php 17,381.87 - due to advance payment

That's a total savings of Php 6,939.13 per month starting in June! We've decided to save the difference either for furniture when we eventually move-in or a new house. I'm still hoping someone out there will build my dream home and sell it to us at a reasonable price. Hahaha!

29 April 2014

Mortgage Rate Adjustment

Not sure why we hadn't thought of this before, but we are now looking into having our rate repriced. Here's how things currently stand:

Rate: 9.75% fixed for five (5) years until June 2015
Term: 16 years
Monthly Amortization: Php 24,321

Basically, we're paying 70% of the mortgage on interest alone. In other words, PSBank has made a lot money from us (then again, that's mostly how loans work).

After a couple of phone calls and numerous emails, we've decided that the benefits outweigh the Php 5000 adjustment fee. Yup, there's a "Reprising Cycle" fee for the bank to process the request which is still subject to approval, and a distinct possibility we will be wasting that much money if they reject our application.

But if all goes according to plan, we could end up saving at least Php 3390 per month with the new rate! In a year, that's a total of Php 40,680 we could use for a lot of other things.

*Keeping our fingers crossed*

Side Note: It pays to ask twice. Initially, we called the customer service hotline, and the agent advised that the new rate will be 6.5%. When we sent an email to that same department (we like to have everything in writing), they informed us that it's between 7 to 7.5% fixed for two or three years.

In another email, we asked if we could get an estimate of how much the new monthly amortization would be if the rate went down to 7.5%. Here's their reply:

We wish to confirm that your monthly amortization will change if you will request for rate adjustment. However, we cannot provide you the estimated monthly amortization as this will be system generated.

My uncle, who's a district manager over at BPI, questioned why they could not do it (I didn't believe PSBank either, but it's hard to argue when you're more than 1000 miles away - literally). So I called customer service last Saturday and the agent who answered said that she will have to ask another department for that information. By Monday afternoon, I had a detailed sample computation in my inbox.

Why did I have to make a long distance phone call for something that was possible to begin with?

17 March 2014

Interior Styling

An 8-week course which puts emphasis on furnishings, materials and will cover a detailed understanding of the application and effect of color and design schemes in the use of residential, commercial and institutional interior spaces.

Schedule: April 4 - May 30 | Friday | 5:00-8:00 pm

Fee: Php 10,000

For more information, call 478 4611 local 117 or email admissions@sofa.edu.ph

School of Fashion and the Arts
Admissions Office
Ground Flr., Enzo Bldg.
399 Gil Puyat Ave.
Makati City

(+632) 478 4622
(+632) 478 4611 local 115

10 March 2014

For Sale





Address: Avida Settings Cavite

Floor area: 84 sqm
Lot area: 162 sqm

Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Study room: 1

Village amenities: 24 hour security, clubhouse (with convenience store), swimming pool, multiple playground areas, two basketball courts.

Location:

Accessible via Daang Hari, Molino Boulevard and Aguinaldo Highway.

2 minutes to The District DasmariƱas
3 minutes to Metro South Hospital
5 minutes to SM Molino*
20 minutes to Alabang Town Center*

Shuttle services to Alabang, Makati and Lawton are available nearby (UV Express).

*Without traffic.

For more information:

- The Village
http://twostoreys.blogspot.sg/2011/04/village.html

- Security
http://twostoreys.blogspot.sg/2010/11/security-detail.html

- The House
http://twostoreys.blogspot.sg/2014/02/before-after-part-1.html
http://twostoreys.blogspot.sg/2014/03/before-after-part-2.html

Inquiries:

Please send me an email using the Contact tab above.

17 February 2014

Supplier Ratings: Finishing Contractor



Supplier: Rabacon Construction
Price Tag: Php 445,071.25
Rating: 8/10 (10 being the highest)

Pros:
Maricel was very easy to work with and quite reasonable when it comes to the bill (they gave the lowest quotation among all the other contractors we asked). The quality of the work done was very satisfactory and they would willingly go back to fix any issues. The workers themselves were polite and properly attired (they usually wore t-shirts with "Rabacon" printed on them).

Rabacon also went beyond the call of duty and installed quite a few things without charge (like the curtain hooks, mirrors and towel bars).

We will definitely hire them again once we've decided to install the fence or anything else for that matter.

Cons:
Some patience is needed as Maricel and her family have a lot of health issues. Each time there's a bit of work delay, or she's late replying to an email (which is often), it's usually due to someone being in the hospital.

I only gave an 8 because it took them over a year to finish the overhead roof at the back of the house. We gave the down payment in July 2012 and it was only finished December 2013 as they forgot about it.

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