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Need some advice for my upcoming relocation

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Freki
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Need some advice for my upcoming relocation

Postby Freki » Tue, 20 May 2014 1:29 pm

Hi everyone,

I’ve been offered a job in Singapore by one of our group companies. The relocation is currently scheduled to happen mid June, though I expect I won’t be leaving until end of June, or even July (which is actually not too bad at all, I don’t have clue yet how to manage expatriating from here within 4 weeks…). Regarding a relocation package, things are pretty simple: there isn’t one. I am more or less on my own organizing the entire thing, except for the visa: the IPA letter has already been issued. On the one hand, I’m happy organizing everything the way I want it to (including the choice of where I want to live), on the other hand, there are lots of open questions. It would be great if you could help me on some of these, especially regarding the choice of accommodation.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the possibility to come to Singapore to organize anything before my actual start of work. I was thinking of renting some short-term accommodation for 3 – 4 weeks. That should give me plenty of time to find something permanent (correct me if I’m wrong…). I’ve read about Serviced Apartments, but they seem to be rather expensive. I’m not on too tight a budget, but I’m not really willing to spend 1500 SGD or more per week on accommodation if not absolutely necessary. Is there a possibility to stay short term at lower costs? I don’t need an entire apartment to myself during that time, a room would do.

Regarding the permanent accommodation, I haven’t really made up my mind yet. Without ever having been to SG (except for stopovers on long haul flights), it’s almost impossible to decide for an area or a neighborhood from reading on the internet alone. Any advice would be much appreciated! Here are the basic facts:
[list]
[*]I will be working at Raffles Place
[*]I was thinking of spending around 3000 SGD per month for rent (excluding utilities). I know this is not very much by Singapore standards, but I do not want to tie up most of my salary in rent. I’m willing to go higher (3500 SGD) if the apartment is worth it.
[*]I won’t need that much space. 600 sqft (55 sqm) to 800 sqft (75 sqm) should be enough. I was thinking of 1 bedroom + study, or alternatively 2 bedrooms, where the second bedroom is actually only needed as a guestroom for occasional visitors from home. As I’m only moving in with some suitcases, the accommodation should come (partially) furnished. A balcony would be nice, as well as being on a high floor.
[*]Travel time to the office of up to half an hour (one way) would still be ok, including the walk to the nearest MRT station/bus stop. Shorter travel times would of course be welcome, but I guess in the end, it comes down to the budget I am willing to spend. I’m not going to buy a car, so travelling will happen via public transport.
[*]I would be looking for a “lively”

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Tue, 20 May 2014 2:49 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum!

Some brief, off-the-top-of-my-head comments/observations...
**- regarding the choice of accommodation.

Where to live? As it happens we’ve been collectively working on a Guide-topic for this very point just this week... here ...
ftopic101985.html [actually, late p.s., you seem to have picked up on this, but I’ll leave the link there for others that follow this topic in future with a similar set of questions].

**- Unfortunately, I don’t have the possibility to come to Singapore to organize anything before my actual start of work. I was thinking of renting some short-term accommodation for 3 – 4 weeks. That should give me plenty of time to find something permanent (correct me if I’m wrong…). I’ve read about Serviced Apartments, but they seem to be rather expensive. I’m not on too tight a budget, but I’m not really willing to spend 1500 SGD or more per week on accommodation if not absolutely necessary. Is there a possibility to stay short term at lower costs? I don’t need an entire apartment to myself during that time, a room would do.

Sub-letting as you allude to is illegal. A legal alternative, if your employer isn’t funding you, is staying in the most basic hotel/hostel that you can tolerate whilst flat-hunting.
If you’re going to be here a couple of years+, then time spent in advance finding a suitable home is time well spent. If you have a month, it will likely take 3-4 weeks. If you’re funding it yourself, I’m sure you could do it in two. A crunch comes when you’re fresh into a new job, everything is new and being loaded on you at work, and you need to take frequent 1/2 days off to view property. But, that’s just how it is, *esp* if the employer isn’t funding a relo agent for you! I’d start with an understanding that you have to take 2-3 1/2days off a week until you have your own accommodation identified and organised.

** - Regarding the permanent accommodation, I haven’t really made up my mind yet. Without ever having been to SG (except for stopovers on long haul flights), it’s almost impossible to decide for an area or a neighborhood from reading on the internet alone. Any advice would be much appreciated! Here are the basic facts:

Correct, it is impossible. And you would very likely regret making such a decision without time and on-the-ground viewings.
You are also likely to subconsciously steer for the known quantity of the central D9/10/11. But you will get a LOT more for you money by going a little further afield.

Almost anywhere will seem ‘lively’ after rural UK. But try and keep away from major roads as the almost 24/7 traffic might drive you nuts, esp. if you wish to keep windows open for ventilation.

Yes what you describe is eminently possible. Boiling it down, the target, as it might be advertised, condo with usual recreational facilities, 2 bed, 600-800ft, $3-3.5k, part-furnished, balcony, higher-floor, within 30 mins MRT/bus to Raffles Place.

Yes you can rent for a year, though they might load the rent somewhat. The usual tenancy is for two years with a ‘diplomatic’ break-clause (you can use it if you are leaving the country).

Which district? The big question.
This website has many help pages that you should look through. Perhaps start here http://www.singaporeexpats.com/guides-f ... -guide.htm
I could suggest a few areas, but they would be restricted to areas I know, so better you start casting a wide net, and see if anything sounds like it might work for you. Then, revert with your ideas, and we can try and Q+A them, and help you narrow it down. [note: it’s possible the prices in the Guide posts could be a bit out-dated ... don’t know... ].

p.s. Be aware that you might shortly attract a flock of raptor-like realtors... if possible get a personal recommendation on an agent...

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 20 May 2014 3:42 pm

pss: A realtor who recommends himself is not a recommendation. It's a solicitation and we frown on that here. In fact, we delete 'em as soon as we see 'em as they are a pox on forums.

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Postby dandamakem » Tue, 20 May 2014 6:00 pm

http://singapore.lmbhousing.com/ look ok. Perhaps a little studio one OK?? I know my husbands office is at Raffles Place so all I know when we rent a condo (arrive from Oz for 3 years end July 2014) I'll only look at places on the red or yellow MRT line as that's best.

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Postby Freki » Wed, 21 May 2014 1:43 pm

First of all, thank you for your responses!
Sub-letting as you allude to is illegal. A legal alternative, if your employer isn't funding you, is staying in the most basic hotel/hostel that you can tolerate whilst flat-hunting.

I guess that should not be a problem. I've always been budget travelling, so I'm used to this - although it's usually on vacations and not while I'm working.

A crunch comes when you're fresh into a new job, everything is new and being loaded on you at work, and you need to take frequent 1/2 days off to view property. But, that's just how it is, *esp* if the employer isn't funding a relo agent for you! I'd start with an understanding that you have to take 2-3 1/2days off a week until you have your own accommodation identified and organised.

The good thing is: the job isn't completely new. I know most of my colleagues already, as well as a good part of my tasks. But you're right: I'll probably have to carve out some free time to go property hunting. Is it actually possible to make late appointments for viewing apartments (say 7 pm or 8 pm), or is it usually happening during day time?

You are also likely to subconsciously steer for the known quantity of the central D9/10/11. But you will get a LOT more for you money by going a little further afield.

When I feed my requirements to the usual property websites, these districts tend to not come up anyway. Most of what I found so far is in D14 - D19 - with one exception which is Spottiswoode Residences in D02. Seems to be heavily marketed at the moment, but is on the pricey side (my minimum size, paired with my maximum budget).

Almost anywhere will seem 'lively' after rural UK. But try and keep away from major roads as the almost 24/7 traffic might drive you nuts, esp. if you wish to keep windows open for ventilation.

My rural UK is actually rural Germany, but I take it as a compliment ;). As to major roads: I'll keep it in mind.

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Postby Primrose Hill » Wed, 21 May 2014 3:57 pm

Welcome, Freki, I just came back from rural Germany, still jetlagged.
1. Accomodation -we rented a cheapish self Service Apartment for the first month to 6weeks. I found it on this site.
2. I have a friend that rented a decent size 1/2bed albiet with limited condo facilities in town, for example around Oxley Rise/Rd areas. West Coast should be a possibility, say D5.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 21 May 2014 9:13 pm

JR8 wrote:Sub-letting as you allude to is illegal.


That is not exactly correct, JR8. The relevant URA document only says, "should" and there are many rooms for rent on . that are available for one month's duration.

If this person has an EP, I'd think he would be able to avail himself of one of those offers, with the caveat... do some research on what this page means.

http://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/buy-property/ ... ntial.aspx

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 21 May 2014 10:05 pm

I agree there is an important difference between 'should' and 'must' ... [i.e. best practice vs legal obligation].
I know you can rent rooms for say a month, but my understanding is that this is 'not permitted', unless, perhaps, you own a rambling freehold house...?
From that linked page it says...
---------------
'Private residential properties or their rooms within the premises should not be rented out on a short-term basis for less than 6 months on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

Leasing of the whole unit or subletting of rooms for residential purposes is only allowed for long-term stays of 6 months or more if these conditions are met:'

----------------

I don't think the above is very well worded, as the two paragraphs appear (to me) to rather cross over. 'Should not' vs 'Is only allowed'. But... it does seem to suggest that 'property shouldn't be rented for under 6 months'; and that is presumably so that any Tenancy Agreement comes under Landlord + Tenant legislation .. ??

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 22 May 2014 12:26 am

It's hard to believe that that gahmen is not aware of e a s y r o o m m a t e as it has a .com.sg domain and has been around since at least 2008.

One would think that if the minimum length of stay were being clamped down upon, their website wouldn't let you enter anything less than 6 months. But, there is apparently no such restriction.

I certainly understand the rationale behind the URA rule... to keep someone in a HDB flat from renting out the rooms to 20 people, 2 weeks at a time.

OTOH, for someone like a OP, a singleton, searching for a Short Term Stay, and given the large number of rooms advertised on the aforementioned website, this seems to be less of an issue, especially for a landed property.

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Postby Freki » Fri, 23 May 2014 12:27 pm

From that linked page it says...
---------------
'Private residential properties or their rooms within the premises should not be rented out on a short-term basis for less than 6 months on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

Leasing of the whole unit or subletting of rooms for residential purposes is only allowed for long-term stays of 6 months or more if these conditions are met:'
----------------

I don't think the above is very well worded, as the two paragraphs appear (to me) to rather cross over. 'Should not' vs 'Is only allowed'. But... it does seem to suggest that 'property shouldn't be rented for under 6 months'; and that is presumably so that any Tenancy Agreement comes under Landlord + Tenant legislation .. ??


I agree, this isn't conclusive. The second paragraph could be interpreted as: only long-term rental is permitted if the conditions are met, but no conditions apply to short-term rental. On the other hand, this interpretation does not really go together with the actual conditions.

I'm actually none the wiser now... renting a room in a shared apartment seems tempting, not only from a cost point. It's probably also easier to find one's way around with someone nearby who has been in Singapore for a while. But entering a country and directly breaching a law is not my idea of a good start...

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 23 May 2014 1:13 pm

Freki wrote:---------------
'Private residential properties or their rooms within the premises should not be rented out on a short-term basis for less than 6 months on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. ----------------


So let a room on a bi-weekly, bi-monthly basis (etc), and everything is ok ? Let for 6 months but insert a bi-weekly break clause...

I mean that IS what the law suggests is ok. ....
It is very, very, poorly drafted legislation (if indeed that is what the quote is).

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 23 May 2014 9:27 pm

JR8 wrote:I mean that IS what the law suggests is ok. ....
It is very, very, poorly drafted legislation (if indeed that is what the quote is).


It is not legislation. There are many places on the URA website that specify "must". Were it I, I'd opt for one of the online searches for a temporary place to live.

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Postby alexy » Sun, 01 Jun 2014 11:32 am

My suggestion would be taking up a 6 months lease and decide during the 6 month to extend or looking for a new apartment .

Three years is not a short stay , hence it's worth considering
Place you are comfortable with.



Working in raffles is easily linked by circle line or the yellow
Line..You can get full furnish new apartment within
Your budget with 5 station away easily


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