Even before virtual property viewings became a thing during the circuit breaker, theatre thespian Andrew Lua, 42, was already onto it. Well, sort of.
The Fly Entertainment artiste, whom you might remember from Mediacorp dramas like Kin, and more recently Genie In A Cup, was in Barcelona in March 2019 for the premiere of Spanish thriller Boi, in which he starred alongside Adrian Pang, when he received a call from his property agent telling him about a good deal on a three-room HDB resale flat in Ang Mo Kio.
The 721 sq ft flat, which was 43 years old at the time, is on the top floor, level 10, and conveniently located with amenities nearby. The kicker was the price — just $265,000. And that’s before the HDB Proximity Housing and Singles grants, which would save him a further $35,000.
“I had viewed around 15 places over the past year and they were all a bit pricey, between $320,000 to $380,000,” Andrew tells 8days.sg.
“The previous owner had gotten his BTO flat, so he slashed the price of this house ‘cos he needed to sell it quickly.
“I sent my mum and sister to take a look and they sent me videos and photos of the space. It was old but in decent condition. I knew I was going to renovate the place anyway, so it didn’t really bother me that I didn’t view it.”
So unbothered that he made his offer the next day.
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Andrew reckons he spent around $44,000 on renovation, creating a functional space with an industrial minimalist aesthetic.
To transform the space, the arch wall between the living room and kitchen was hacked to create a spacious, open concept. The storeroom, which used to be between the bedrooms, was also removed to extend the rooms and their entrances shifted to fit the new layout. As he no longer has a storeroom, a wall of kitchen cabinets was built for storage. You will find all sorts of random things like CDs, pails and even a, um, mahjong table stashed in them.
“I got my contractor to build this [big enough to fit] my mahjong table. Have you been to friends’ place where the mahjong table is outside and they just put a cloth over? It’s very tacky. I don’t want that,” he laughs.