Serene Heights beginnings

Today marks our one month anniversary since moving into this new house. I still can't believe we're able to afford this but here we are, living in this relatively expensive new home. One which is triple the price of our former home. I suppose if we really want something, we will find a way.

We've been slowly moving some of our things to the new house about one month before, bit by bit, one Alza trip at a time. We got the grills installed and lighting and other electrical fixture installed just 2 weeks before moving in. The grills was acceptable, could be better. We got the cheapest quotation for the lights and electrical wiring and the wireman had this habit of scratching our walls and leaving dirty prints everywhere while doing his work. How do you politely tell someone to keep his damn dirty fingers off our walls and be careful when cutting holes on our plaster ceiling? Other than those the wireman did a pretty decent job but for his nonchalant attitude when it comes to cleanliness and craftsmanship, I simply can't recommend him to anybody else. And typical smoker, he literally throw his cigarette butts all over the house including above our porch. I actually had to climb over the porch in the hot sun to remove those cigarette butts.

As always, we booked our movers a week in advance. But to our dismay, on the day we're moving out, the mover decided to do a no show on us. I whatsapped, texted and called a dozen times but the lady in charge decided to go into hiding. I didn't know what were their problem but I suspect they were overbooked and elected to take the more lucrative offer, which if it's true I would like to say damn you. Fortunate for us, I got a few other movers number on hand and one agreed to help us for an extra cost of course. It took them an hour for this 4 man crew to load up their truck with 8 years worth of our stuff, all in the pouring rain. When it’s finally done, the truck was surprisingly only 3/4 full. My wife drove the car along with the kids while I had to ride my bike from Casa Riana for the last time.

At the new house in Serene Heights, it took just 30 minutes for the movers to unload our stuff. I cringed quietly every time the furniture scratched some parts of our wall during the transportation. Rather than lecture them on the spot and annoy everybody, I’ve decided to let it pass. Can always repaint the walls afterward. So we spent our first night away from Casa Riana and in Serene Height for the first time that night. The kids slept on their own brand new beds. Adam was still away in school. As for my wife and I, we still don’t have any new beds yet so it’s just the mattress on the floor. Our old bed was reassigned to the guest room. Yes it feels strange to be sleeping in a new place but satisfying and a relief at the same time. Downstairs in the living room, there’s not much new furniture to show for. All that we have are mostly old furniture from the old house. We can’t afford to buy shiny new things unlike our wealthy neighbours. For one thing it is much more spacious, our new home. One of the reason we bought the house in the first place. Casa Riana is fine as it is, strategic location, cool neighbours, variety of shops and amenities around the neighbourhood. But our main grouse was lack of space. 813 square feet just wouldn’t cut it for our ever-growing family.

How do we come about buying a home in Serene Heights? You can thank my wife for that. She’s been actively looking for a prospective house for a while now. I thought our existing house at the time was fine so I didn’t do much searching. But the thing about marriage is, once your wife made up her mind to buy a new house, it’s only a matter of time before you’re dragged into it. Our main reference was the billboards along the PLUS highway that we occasionally drive on. There were a few housing projects that caught our attention and we visited some of their show galleries. The ones that we really liked were either too far away or priced out of our budget. The ones that were somewhat affordable to us were in an area that we thought were too secluded. Serene Heights were one of the last show gallery that we visited. It ticked some of the right boxes although the price tag of 640k is still intimidating for us (especially for me). As I say once my wife made up her mind, very few things could change her conviction. It is build by a reputable developer (UEM Sunrise), it is located next to Bangi and more importantly, the developer was willing to facilitate our EPF withdrawal to pay for the deposit. Some developers like SP Setia demands 10% upfront, cash. The fact that the show house is so well furnished an the park around the gallery is quite inviting also helped to sway our opinion in favour of the project.

So how do we find living in Serene Heights so far? One month is still a short time to reflect on the whole experience. One thing for sure, travel time to school and work is slightly longer for all of us. In the first week, my journey to work consist of a 45 minutes ride along the PLUS highway via the Seri Putra exit. When it rains, it’ll be extra long (not to mention extra cold), and it’s been raining a lot this rainy season. Getting the kids to school is another one hour plus another 20 minutes for the wife to get to her office. Since it is almost the end of the year, it’s a bit pointless to switch schools now and we might as well do it next year. Sending Adam to school? Now it’s a 90 minutes trip instead of the usual hour. After I found out about the Alam Sari shortcut route though, I saved about 5 minutes of my journey to work plus riding through the trunk road for the first 10 minutes does not feel as tiring as riding on the highway. My wife also saved at least 10 minutes of her commute time by using the Alam Sari route. Truly this Alam Sari shortcut road is godsend. At the time of writing it is not open to the public yet this back road and residents of Serene Heights need to get a special pass issued by the developer to use the road. Alam Sari next door is actually located in Bangi proper and it’s a wonder why we never heard of that housing project before.

As for our neighbours I would say only around 30% of them had actually moved in to their new homes. The rest are still vacant, either working on their renovations or waiting for the right time to move in. I’ve met a few of my immediate neighbours during my occasional run. Didn’t have the chance to talk much yet (ha ha sure) but most of them are about my age. Early forties with young kids. Running from my house to the Alam Sari show gallery is a 5 kilometre round trip route so it’s perfect for my routine. And since the area is still relatively new, there’s sparse traffic and well-lit road at night.

Since the loan tenure for this Serene Heights unit is 35 long years, it is most likely to be our final resting place until we retire and die. Yes most of the basic amenities like schools, kindergartens or shops are still lacking and public transport is totally non-existent but surely they will gradually come as the area progresses. At the moment, this housing area is still its early phase and the construction of the next phase currently ongoing featuring new units such as Dahlia and Eugenia. I would say the entire township is only 1/3 finished and when they finally do, we’ll have a proper upscale neighbourhood complete with all the modern amenities and facilities. Yes 640k is a lot to pay for now but wait till you see the house prices in the next decade. I daresay landed properties will start upwards of 1 million since despite what the naysayers or experts are saying, properties price will never go down. This is an investment for our future as well as our children’s future. They will be thankful to us for this one.