Top 5 Tips for Apartment Hunting

Pool for blogAwesome flatmates, 25m pool, super wifi, BBQ pits, steam-room, tennis court. What parallel universe is this where a girl from Doncaster can say this is her deal-breaker list :) Singapore apartment hunting can seem daunting, but much like the rest of the world over, just ask yourself these 5 questions…

 

1)  Condo or HDB?

Also known as Condominiums or Public Housing.  It comes down to two main points: Pool or no pool? And is closely linked to point 4;  budget!

2) Buy,  leese or sublet? I went from having a mortgage aged 24 to freaking at the idea of being locked into a 3 month sublet. It’s amazing what backpacking can do! The official agencies normally charge a month’s rent as fees if you’re going to do the official thing, but there are a ton of great sublets that you can haggle all the way down to 3 – 6 month contracts. You won’t find a landlord in all the land that will look at you without a Employment/Dependents pass however so maybe sort this first! (click for pingback to previous post.)

3) Location Location Location – Here’s a quick run down:

Tiong Bahru – SG’s coolest neighborhood (but I’m bias!) It’s one of the original Chinese estates in the city now (of course) turned hipster-ville. Expect boho bakeries, a 6 mins MRT to the CBD and a generally a nice balance of authenticity.

Holland Village – ExPat ville, prices to boot. A little way out on the yellow/Circle line, but if you can afford it here I’m guessing you catch cabs! Great street of Western cafes and restaurants, and a pedestrianised main drag closed off like Benidorm on the weekend. Ok, nicer than Benidorm but you get my drift.

Club Street – Ann Siang Hill has to be one of SG’s best addresses. Surrounded by yuppie bars (in a nice way)and smack in the centre of Chinatown/CBD. The new MTR station is currently mid-construction too.

Citylights/CitySquare/The Sail – All very different locations (Lavender/Little India/Marina Bay) but all are the more famous 50metre pool super-condo types. You have to weigh up amazing shared facilities with slight anonymity that larger complexes have. How well do you want to know your neighbors?

These are a shortlist if you’re 20 – 30 something. There are other great places for families with more space out of the city in Bukit Timah, East Coast Park, & Sentosa island.

4) Budget

My single best advice is to NEVER convert your rent back to your home currency. It will only make you cry! It IS one of the world’s most expensive cities. Come to terms with that then think of it this way;  Wages are good. When are you EVER in your life going to be able to come back from work everyday and kickback in a pool. Yolo people. Yolo.

Here’s a ballpark:

‘Cheap Cheap’: If you’re willing to share a bed/bedroom, I’m sure you could find dirt cheap bedsit types near the Woodlands border or any ‘end of the MRT lines’ for $800 month ish.

Middle of the road: For your own common room (shared bathroom) in a 3 – 4 bedroom HDB apartment you’re looking at $1000 – 1400 month.  There are some great places out on the green line nearer to the airport if you don’t mind the 30 min commute.

Middle to High End: For your own room (common or master) in a nice Condo you’re looking at $1400 – 2000 month – depending on location.  MRT proximity, room size, location are your ultimate variables. Just get out and see a couple to compare. When you know you know.

High End – For master bedrooms at the Sail, Citylights, Emerald Gardens etc al you’re talking $2000 – 2500 easily. Room size is normally the X factor.

Sky’s the limit – $3000+ It’s not known as the city with more millionaires per sq foot for no reason. With bags full of cash you can start talking Sentosa Cove, Orchard Row postcodes.  You can but dream.

I should add: Bills (Wifi, air con, maid service, electricity, water) are more often than not $100 – 200 more.  Deposits and bonds can be 1 to 2 months rent upfront. Haggle.

5) Links

www.easyroommate.com.sg/

craigslist.com.sg/

The only way is Singapore Facebook group – just PM me for an invite.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Edna
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 14:37:26

    Super helpful, good stuff! Will be sending this link to all the readers who email me about finding housing in Singapore :)

    Reply

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