Condo Reviews I’ve Lived At The Vales EC At Sengkang For 5 Years: Here’s My Review Of What It’s Like For Family Living
- August 13, 2022
- 10 min read
Applying for a BTO can be stressful, it’s the uncertainty that can be unnerving – especially when you have a stricter timeline. It was no less the same for Anne (*not her real name for privacy reasons) and her husband, who ended up opting for an executive condominium.
Choosing The Vales was surprising for them, as they never even considered the possibility of Sengkang or an EC for that matter. “Sengkang as a location and EC as a property were never options on our mind,” Anne shared.
“Since late 2014, we have tried applying for BTO about six times,” she recalled. “My husband and I got engaged in 2015, and we planned to hold our wedding in 2017. We thought two years would be sufficient for us to bid for a BTO and save up enough for all the big-ticket adulting things.”
She said that back then, the only advantage you get from applying for a BTO near either of your parents was just an extra chance in the hat. Fast forward to today, HDB now designates a set percentage of units which increases your chances.
However, around Q4 of 2016, Anne and her husband felt that time was running out. “If we had succeeded in our BTO application, we would have still gone ahead and got married in 2017. We didn’t even mind waiting for the flats to be built.”
But with each of their applications receiving a we-regret-to-inform-you email response from HDB, Anne said it seemed like they were running out of options.
And so they started their search for a resale flat.
During the course of their property hunt, they got acquainted with an agent who was marketing a unit they were viewing. He explained the property outlook to them and gave them a good understanding of the pros and cons of the unit they were looking for. “Basically, he broke down all the property jargons and told us what we could afford,” she said.
The agent brought them to The Vales’ show flat, and the couple also studied the URA plans. “Since the price is right and this is not going to be our last home, we decided to make this an investment as well.”
The Vales received its TOP in May 2017, and then Anne and her husband got their keys in July. They moved in September 2017 after some minor renovations.
With almost half a decade of living in the estate, Anne gives us an insightful and insider look at what it’s like to live at The Vales Condominium.
How Did The Vales Condominium Tick The Right Boxes
For both Anne and her husband, they were pretty sure of what they wanted. Perhaps it was due to their BTO application experience or because time was not on their side.
The key factors and the questions they asked themselves when they were searching for their first home revolved around these: location, amenities and convenience, the unit’s direction, and where it’s facing.
“Location must be near a transport hub,” Anne said, “it should be in proximity to a major MRT, bus interchange, and expressway.” The question was how long would it take to get to their work and town? The answer was a surprising 20 minutes, which they considered an acceptable time to get from Sengkang to Dhoby Ghaut.
For amenities and convenience, their main priority was to have supermarkets, library, and F&B places close by. And like most Singaporeans, the accessibility to supper and late-night dining spots would be a major plus point as well.
The couple was also concerned with the direction the unit would be facing. They wanted to avoid the afternoon sun and to make sure the unit was not facing the direction of the noise. Anne said that while their home in The Vales has no afternoon sun, they had to compromise on the noise. “We can shut off the sound by closing the windows, but amenities and location can’t be changed.”
She recalled that their other EC option was Bellewaters. However, she said it was further in and not as near to the LRT. “For The Vales, the LRT station is literally at our doorstep.”
What made it really stand out from all other comparable options is the project’s location. “The development was well located with many amenities around,” she shared.
What A Typical Day Looks Like At The Vales
While Anne and her family’s lifestyle may differ entirely from yours, this section will give you a general idea of what it feels like to live in The Vales.
Weekdays are quite busy for them, as is the case for most of us, so the convenience that The Vales offer becomes even more crucial.
“By 8 AM, we’ll send our son to a preschool nearby. It takes us less than five minutes to get there when driving or 15 to 20 minutes if we feel like walking and taking the bus.”
Then, her husband will drop her off at Sengkang MRT, where she’ll take a train to town for work. “The commute is about 45 minutes on average door-to-door.”
Anne shared that there are days when they would go running either at the park or Punggol waterway after sending their kid to school. “The scenery is breathtaking and never gets old,” she added.
In the evening, around 6 PM, they would sometimes pick up their son from school and go home together. She said they would sometimes take a stroll around their estate’s compound too.
“Sometimes at night, we just head to Sheng Siong or the 24-Hour supermarkets to walk for fun.”
Weekends give them more opportunities to enjoy their condo’s location.
“In the morning, we either swim or stroll in a nearby park,” she said. “We also buy breakfast from any of the cafes or kopitiam located near us.”
She said that in the afternoon, they would send their kid for enrichment classes at the hospital right across. Then, they would drive to Seletar to see planes or just take a bus ride around Sengkang or Jewel.
In the evening, they either stroll around the area or have dinner at the nearby malls.
A Look Behind The Vales Condominium’s Facade
Of course, living at The Vales Condominium is not without its drawbacks. In truth, its convenient location is also the source of most of the downsides experienced by residents of the estate and nearby developments.
The noise is the common thread here. Anne shares with us the specific scenarios they’ve been experiencing at The Vales.
“For every Sengkang and Punggol resident, the biggest issue would be noise,” she said, “which comes from the RSAF planes.” She recalled that it didn’t bother them as much pre-COVID. However, when WFH became the norm, the constant vibrations coming from the planes flying by became unpleasant for them. “They usually start before 8 AM and end by 6 PM, but sometimes it gets extended up to 9 PM,” she added.
Next on the list are traffic noises. With the estate conveniently located near main roads, sounds from passing vehicles are quite common. Anne said she doesn’t mind the usual traffic noise, “but I find the loud exhaust from motorcycles to be the most annoying.”
Sirens are also frequent since their condo is just right next to a hospital, especially during the height of the pandemic. She said that apparently, every COVID-suspected case entering SKGH would warrant the ambulance to sound the sirens.
We asked her if there are any improvements that The Vales should focus on. Anne believes that their estate has good management and hopes that it remains this way. Facilities are well-managed, and the management is responsive. She added that while the security is quite stringent, they are also flexible.
Considerations Potential Buyers Should Know
Aside from the pros and cons of being in a centrally convenient location in the city, Anne also has a few specific things to share with those looking to buy a unit.
“We are within 1 kilometre to Nan Chiau and are close to nature and many preschool options. It’s faster to get to town than you can imagine. And there’s nothing you cannot get in the North East.”
For those who enjoy a little bit of deal savings, Anne added a little interesting tip “A lot of group buy hosts reside in Sengkang/Punggol so it makes group buy really waaay easier and convenient!”
Staying At The Vales Condominium
It’s no doubt that Anne and her family love staying at The Vales Condominium. She said she has lots of things to like about living there. But if she can narrow them down, that would be because of these four elements: convenience, connectivity, schools, and nature.
“Northeast is very developed, and honestly, there’s nothing really lacking,” she said, “but if you want to nitpick, we are missing a Zara and Shake Shack.” For her and many of us, we deem convenience as if you’re able to access your favourite shops and destinations just a short walk away.
“We have a 24H Prime supermarket to our left, Cold Storage at Compassone, a wet market at Kopitiam Square, and Sheng Siong and UStars to our right.”
Connectivity for both drivers and commuters is also one of the estate’s strong points. TPE is just next to the development, and the LRT station is at their doorstep. She said there are even buses that can bring you to Changi Village and Jewel Changi Airport in 20 to 30 minutes.
New families will enjoy having The Vales within 1 kilometre from Nan Chiau Primary. She added that since they’re a non-mature estate, many of these preschools are newly built within the last three to four years. As such, this means the facilities are still new.
Finally, Sengkang and Punggol have the advantage of being surrounded by nature. “The Sengkang parks are very beautiful, and there’s even a preschool inside the park itself,” she said.
Anne told us that if it was just her, her husband, and her son, they would have continued staying at The Vales for a long time. However, they are planning on expanding their family and thus, they need a larger space. “We are planning to move, and hopefully, our next place will be a good investment too.”
Here’s one final and meaningful piece of advice from Anne for those who are interested in The Vales.
“If you’re looking for an ultra-quiet environment, then this is not for you,” Anne said. “But if you’re starting a family and want a good location plus convenience and proximity to nature, this is a good option to consider.”
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