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Usmom
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Moving to Singapore in 45-60 days!

Postby Usmom » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 3:03 am

I posted a month ago, but now that we have finally accepted an offer and have done some research, we are in search of some specific suggestions of which places to look at. We have to use a company assigned agent who will take us around. We'll stay in a Service Apartment until our stuff arrives as we will be shipping contents of a 4 bed. home with no appliances. We will take a preliminary trip in a few weeks and would like to have a list of places for the agent to show us.

Priorities:
• Husband, wife, toddler and another baby expected early 2015, no pets
• Looking for 4bdrms, prefer 2500 sq ft or more
• Budget: $15K/month, use it or lose it, no excess money given if rent is lower, utilities are separate and are also paid by company, we pay for internet and cable, but hoping to negotiate into rent price
• Will not have a car and therefore must be within walking distance to mrt, husband will work in west jurong industrial area and total commute one way max is 1 hr. and 25 min. that we are willing to do (not interested in east coast or woodlands or ang ko mo or geylang areas, they are too far)
• Would also like to be within walking distance to hawker, wet and grocery stores
• Preference to private lift, quiet inside unit, don't care if in busy area, just need it to be quiet and private inside unit


Nice to Have:
• Newer property with all appliances included, though the company will buy us these things if needed
* close or within 40 min. taxi ride to hospital where most expats have their babies and has nicest facilities
* only husband will be working, so it would be nice to be in place with other expats or local moms who also stay at home
* would love to have a place that is on one floor but would be ok with 2 floors, would love a place that is at the top of the building
These places are on our list to look at from just researching online:
lumiere, ascentia sky, metropolitian, rochester, lakefront, marina bay suites, one shenton, sail of marina bay

Are there any others we should add to the list?? If anyone knows anything about the properties above, please give us your opinion.

Thanks!

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 5:18 am

A couple vague thoughts:

- 1hr 25 min one-way commute is 90% of the island to anywhere else. You say no East Coast or Geylang (Geylang is definitely not somewhere you'd consider anyway, maybe if your budget was 1/5th that), but they are WELL within 1hr 25 mins to West Jurong or even Tuas (far western tip of the country). All of the areas are that you mention really.

- 40 mins by Taxi is again almost half of the country. The hospitals you'd consider would probably be in the general vicinity of Novena MRT station (TTS), Orchard Rd MRT (Mt Elizabeth, Glen Eagles).

- For both of the items above, there is a great website called "http://gothere.sg". It will give you routes and commute times by MRT, MRT+Bus, Taxi, car, etc. Use it from areas you consider to where your husband works, and then to the two MRT stations I mention (for the nearby hospitals) to get an idea of areas you're considering.

- The places already on your list 'in the city' (near Marina Bay, etc) probably aren't particularly expat family friendly. You won't be easily taking your two kids our for walks to the park for example.

- In your case, given your very large budget but also complex (for Singapore) requirements, take advantage of the agent. They'll know the good locations.

- Given your budget, I imagine your husband's salary is quite high. Cable Internet/TV is rather cheap, I wouldn't worry too much if that is out of your own pocket. Go with Fiber internet from either MyRepublic or ViewQuest as they both make it easy to watch TV Online from places back in the US (I assume thats where you're from by your name) such as NetFlix, Hulu, ABC, CBS, Fox, HBO, etc. Most other providers you will find it blocked (by the US side, not the Singapore side). You can get internet from those two places that is quite fast for S$60/month or so.

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Postby Dert42 » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 8:28 am

I'll back up what ZZ said and add my own, but in reverse order for flair!

Internet and TV is silly cheap. With your housing budget, it's really insignificant. It's a seperate service with all kinds of bundle options that is so customized, i think it would be problematic to try and get that included in any kind of rent. And since it's so cheap, i would say don't get hung up on it.

Since your husband is working in the West, I agree you probably don't want to live in the East. But it's a great place for expats. At least I think. But via MRT, there is no way your husband will have a 1:25 commute. Also as an expat of the Midwest USA, I love not having a car. We very much enjoy the convenience of the MRT. So if he's willing to have a 1+ hour commute, you could live just about anywhere. But i'll wager a more appropriate commute expectation would be 20-30 min.

My wife is in a Singapore expat wife's club on FB and gets a lot of info/resources/meetups/playdates from there. I suggest you check that out as well. It's been very helpful to her.

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Postby Girl_Next_Door » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 8:58 am

In my opinion, I would suggest for you to skip lumiere, marina bay suites, one shenton and sail of marina bay. These properties are within the business district and if your husband is not working in the business district, its no fun to stay here for you & the kid/s.

You have indicated a baby expected in 2015 as the top priority, so I assumed hospital (for the purpose of giving birth) is a top priority for you. In Singapore, Mt Elizabeth, Mt Alvernia and Gleneagles are the favorite hospitals by the affluent and upper medium class in Singapore. All private hospitals have a maternity tour, so if you are coming to Singapore for a preliminary trip, you should consider signing up to them, to have a feel on your preferred hospital.

Other hospitals are listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ho ... _Singapore

If your preferred location should be within walking distance to hawker, wet and grocery stores as well as other expats or local moms who also stay at home, Holland Village and Novena will be the closet match. There is a huge expat community in both areas, with train station nearby as well as many schools/education centers/activity centers targeted for kids. Once you search both areas with your budget, you would be able to identify the various properties that you should consider viewing. Google ., and you should be able to search for the properties online.

For appliances, its all down to negotiation with your landlord. You should highlight to your agent that you want a property that comes with good quality appliances (you have to explicitly request for good quality brands or they might just give you the really cheap ones that is easily broken), and they will do the necessary to sort out with the landlord directly. Some landlord will also give you $XXXX to shop for your own appliances, but they ultimately belong to the landlord. You just get to pick them.

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Postby the lynx » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 9:53 am

Girl_Next_Door wrote:In my opinion, I would suggest for you to skip lumiere, marina bay suites, one shenton and sail of marina bay. These properties are within the business district and if your husband is not working in the business district, its no fun to stay here for you & the kid/s.

You have indicated a baby expected in 2015 as the top priority, so I assumed hospital (for the purpose of giving birth) is a top priority for you. In Singapore, Mt Elizabeth, Mt Alvernia and Gleneagles are the favorite hospitals by the affluent and upper medium class in Singapore. All private hospitals have a maternity tour, so if you are coming to Singapore for a preliminary trip, you should consider signing up to them, to have a feel on your preferred hospital.

Other hospitals are listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ho ... _Singapore

If your preferred location should be within walking distance to hawker, wet and grocery stores as well as other expats or local moms who also stay at home, Holland Village and Novena will be the closet match. There is a huge expat community in both areas, with train station nearby as well as many schools/education centers/activity centers targeted for kids. Once you search both areas with your budget, you would be able to identify the various properties that you should consider viewing. Google ., and you should be able to search for the properties online.

For appliances, its all down to negotiation with your landlord. You should highlight to your agent that you want a property that comes with good quality appliances (you have to explicitly request for good quality brands or they might just give you the really cheap ones that is easily broken), and they will do the necessary to sort out with the landlord directly. Some landlord will also give you $XXXX to shop for your own appliances, but they ultimately belong to the landlord. You just get to pick them.


I agree with Girl_Next_Door.

To add, let me break down by area:

1. Holland Village
- Closest to Jurong area
- Very homey neighbourhood that is expat-friendly
- Small quaint (and mature) condominiums with amenities (don't know about private lifts)
- It has expat-friendly restaurants, bakeries, two Cold Storage supermarkets, one 24/7 Fair Price supermarket, local wet market at Ghim Moh, Jason's Butcher if you have high expectation on your meat, pubs, arts/crafts and home decor stuff
- Easy to zip through Holland Road to hospitals in Orchard area, or Lornie Road/PIE for Mt Alvernia Hospitals (and further up, hospitals in Novena area)
- Holland Village MRT station (Circle Line) and lots of bus routes through Holland Village. To get to Jurong via public transport, take Circle Line to Buona Vista station and change to East-West Line towards Jurong East station and onwards.
- Able to get together with other expats moms through this forum. Many of them live here.
- Rochester is good.
- Botanic Gardens down Holland Road (enroute to Orchard) is nice for families
- Keyword: Convenient for husband to travel to work, homey and mature neighbourhood for expat families

2. Novena
- Pretty OK in terms of distance to Jurong (depending on which part of Jurong he will work). Just zip through Pan Island Expressway from Moulmein Road exit.
- Has Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Novena Medical Centre for your pregnancy needs
- Quite expat-friendly although the neighbourhood is getting more concrete-looking than Holland Village
- Malls and supermarkets (United Square is a children mall, Novena Square is a sports mall, you have three Cold Storage, two Fair Price supermarkets and.
- Novena MRT station (North-South Line). Getting to Jurong via public transport is a little far. You have to take the train up to Bishan station, change to Circle Line and all the way to Buona Vista station and repeat in #1.
- Getting to Orchard for other hospitals is easy enough by short cab rides.
- Close enough to Little India and local wet markets and restaurants in Pek Kio area or Balestier Road/Whampoa Road area. Or even the famous Newton Circus Food Centre for tourist experience.
- Able to get together with other expats moms through this forum. Many of them live here.
- Keyword: Accessibility to good hospitals, access to amenities and shopping

3. Orchard
- Shopping belt of Singapore
- Hospitals (Gleneagles and Mt Elizabeth) very close by
- Supermarkets (Fair Price Finest, Cold Storage, regular Fair Price)
- Many nice condominiums and many have private lifts.
- Three MRT stations in North-South Line depending on which part of Orchard (Orchard station, Somerset station or Dhoby Ghaut station).
- To get to Jurong, take North-South Line to Raffles Place or City Hall station, change to East-West Line and travel westward to Jurong East station and onwards.
- This one is too concrete for a local wet market.
- Able to get together with other expats moms through this forum. Many of them live here.
- There is Botanic Garden on Tanglin side of Orchard.
- Key word: Convenience for pregnancy care, daily needs and amenities.

No to The Sail, One Shenton, Marina Bay Suites (those are in the Financial District area, very miserable place for stay-at-home moms).

I didn't factor in pre-schools because you're not looking for one for your toddler yet. But in case you're staying here longer, all three places have decent pre-schools for expat children but I will let experience parents in this forum to elaborate.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:11 am

Wow, some fantastic advice above!

I had to chuckle at the conflicting desires - '$15k/mo budget, condo with private lift, plus proximity to wet market' :lol: Sorry :-|

It's a toughie, wanting to live somewhere that's likely very central, but then family friendly, and the bread-winner having to commute by public transport to West Jurong. The latter is going to be putting in a lot of loooong days!

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Postby nakatago » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:54 pm

Add Bukit Timah to your list.

Reasons: look at gothere.sg, google maps or street directory.

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 1:58 pm

the lynx wrote:- It has expat-friendly restaurants, bakeries, two Cold Storage supermarkets, one 24/7 Fair Price supermarket, local wet market at Ghim Moh, Jason's Butcher if you have high expectation on your meat, pubs, arts/crafts and home decor stuff


To translate this into US equivalents for the OP:

ColdStorage is considered the "Western" super market. It is very comparable to a Safeway / Lucky's / Albertson's / Kroger / Etc.

Fair Price is a 'local' Super Market chain. If you've ever been to an Asian grocery store in the US (99 Ranch, H-Mart, etc), this is what it is like.

Lynx "High Expectations" is relative for Singapore. If you want something comparable to a typical butcher in the US, your expectations are high end :D
Last edited by zzm9980 on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 5:57 pm

Hahah... that's so true. It's amazing how low your expectations (foodwise) become after a while here.

Don't forget the Swiss Butcher. http://www.swiss-butchery.com.sg/
That's the closest I'd compare to a proper butcher like back home, where you can speak to him, he'll cut your stuff to order, and perhaps throw in a couple of preparation tips as well... but by heavens you have to pay big-time for it here. It's a bit like going to Harrods Food Hall for your weekly shopping. Very OTT!

[The butcher at Isetan/Scotts is pretty impressive too. Likewise the gourmet grocer '365' at the top of Ion. But all of these have prices that will make most people's eyes water... ]

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Postby taxico » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 6:20 pm

here's a location pic i made for a friend who relocated.

Image

there are two other places i like but did not add on the list because they are (as of now) quite noisy due to surrounding construction sites...
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 6:29 pm

Weird/deja vu.

Only this morning I was staring into space and thinking, 'Wouldn't it be useful if you could take a Google Streetmap and highlight areas on it... '

And here we are... !

That's not only re: this subject question, but also re: the next house-hunt that I'm getting underway back home, where several disparate all-over the place small grids of streets fit our criteria, and I keep forgetting which they are, as they get lost within the blur of the city as a whole, as it's so long ago I lived there it's pretty unfamiliar!! Grrr...


p.s. Did you simply Paint/Photoshop that that onto a Google map, or how?

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taxico
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Postby taxico » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 6:51 pm

i grabbed a screen shot, used paint and saved it as an image...

i know for a fact that google maps allow you to share map locations with someone else but they come out as little tacks on the map - i don't know how to circle an area though.

someone wiser than me can chime in if that's possible...!!!
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 8:45 pm

Thx, that's useful,
and yes I know what you mean re: Google-Tacks!

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 8:54 pm

taxico wrote:i grabbed a screen shot, used paint and saved it as an image...

i know for a fact that google maps allow you to share map locations with someone else but they come out as little tacks on the map - i don't know how to circle an area though.

someone wiser than me can chime in if that's possible...!!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyXTvj-Mm9k
(I did not try it so far)
Last edited by x9200 on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nakatago
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Postby nakatago » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 8:55 pm

JR8 wrote:Weird/deja vu.

Only this morning I was staring into space and thinking, 'Wouldn't it be useful if you could take a Google Streetmap and highlight areas on it... '

And here we are... !


Little-known feature: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/


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