First Time Condo Renting Questions

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cavemaner
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First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by cavemaner » Thu, 30 Apr 2015 1:35 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm a healthcare professional moving to Singapore in early June and am quite eager to secure a condo pretty much as soon as I arrive in the country. I'm looking at the Geylang, Eunos and Marine Parade areas for 1 bedroom condo, max $1900 month, fully furnished.

I have looked far and wide for answers on the net and on this forum to the following questions, but I have not been able to find answers. I'm hoping a few of you can help me.

1. How much movement is there at the moment in negotiating rental prices? eg. Condo listed as $2000 month negotiable, could I realistically get it down to something like $1850 per month without paying a few month's rent upfront?

2. How long is the whole view condos, write LoI, sign the TA and get government approval? Ideally I am hoping that this process takes less than 3 days, so I don't have to spend more money staying in a hotel, and can move in quickly.


Thanks everyone for your help!

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by renetk » Thu, 30 Apr 2015 5:38 pm

Hi actually negotiation is a good Idea currently as it is a tenants market now. You will probably not get away with the monthly deposit. Everything can Be arranged very fast as long as You have your ep approval and bank account. Good Luck!

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by JR8 » Thu, 30 Apr 2015 10:33 pm

cavemaner wrote:Hi everyone,
I'm a healthcare professional moving to Singapore in early June and am quite eager to secure a condo pretty much as soon as I arrive in the country. I'm looking at the Geylang, Eunos and Marine Parade areas for 1 bedroom condo, max $1900 month, fully furnished.
I have looked far and wide for answers on the net and on this forum to the following questions, but I have not been able to find answers. I'm hoping a few of you can help me.
1. How much movement is there at the moment in negotiating rental prices? eg. Condo listed as $2000 month negotiable, could I realistically get it down to something like $1850 per month without paying a few month's rent upfront?
2. How long is the whole view condos, write LoI, sign the TA and get government approval? Ideally I am hoping that this process takes less than 3 days, so I don't have to spend more money staying in a hotel, and can move in quickly.
Thanks everyone for your help!
There are essentially no 1-bed condos in the country (except at the v. upper/palatial end)
There are very few condos under say $3k/mo.
1) - Things are pretty plain vanilla here. I.e. landlords don't seem to like to negotiate (their stubborn pride would rather see a lengthy void, rather than take the 'moral loss' of negotiating an offer). So if you could find a condo offered at $2k (squint, can you link an example of such?), you might possibly get $100/mo off that, but the landlord is not planning on that scenario, and might resent you for it. It's personal here, rather than business as such, more so than in the West.
2) Depends how much you want to view. Does the agent have a car? Are you taking a few days off? Bear in mind the first day or two they'll likely show you all the duff old stuff left hanging on their inventory. I'd budget on a week as being the minimum. Then when you agree that (I think we got our current place after 2), prepare for it being being unfurnished, and you buying 1" foam pads to sleep on the floor while your shipping and IKEA delivery arrives...


--- I think this last time we spent 2 weeks sleeping on the floor, and it's err... like a throw-back to childhood, camping, novel, retro, but also Godforsaken after about the 2nd night. 1" foam mattresses c/o of Courts at about $50-70ea
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by thismyvoice » Sat, 02 May 2015 4:14 pm

1 bedroom condos used to be rare, but are mushrooming up all over Singapore the past few years. There should be some in Geylang, Balestier, Potong Pasir, etc. A quick search in the internet shows me that Gek Lim Mansions, Treasures @ G19 are places that may fit your requirements. I have not seen the units thus please don't take the above as recommendations. If you are willing to consider studio units, there will be more options.

Lastly, for your budget, you are probably looking at 500 square feet Mickey Mouse apartments, with minimal cooking facilities, and a 50 square feet balcony.

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by cavemaner » Sun, 03 May 2015 9:36 am

thismyvoice wrote:1 bedroom condos used to be rare, but are mushrooming up all over Singapore the past few years. There should be some in Geylang, Balestier, Potong Pasir, etc. A quick search in the internet shows me that Gek Lim Mansions, Treasures @ G19 are places that may fit your requirements. I have not seen the units thus please don't take the above as recommendations. If you are willing to consider studio units, there will be more options.

Lastly, for your budget, you are probably looking at 500 square feet Mickey Mouse apartments, with minimal cooking facilities, and a 50 square feet balcony.
Thanks for the detailed reply. I do see quite a few one-bedroom condos are available in these areas. You wouldn't happen to know any details about movement in condo rent prices that are listed as 'Negotiable'? Really, how negotiable are places with this listed?

Thanks Renetk for your reply. Being a renters market currently, how much could I realistically negotiate a monthly rent down to?

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by thismyvoice » Sun, 03 May 2015 11:03 pm

cavemaner wrote:
thismyvoice wrote:1 bedroom condos used to be rare, but are mushrooming up all over Singapore the past few years. There should be some in Geylang, Balestier, Potong Pasir, etc. A quick search in the internet shows me that Gek Lim Mansions, Treasures @ G19 are places that may fit your requirements. I have not seen the units thus please don't take the above as recommendations. If you are willing to consider studio units, there will be more options.

Lastly, for your budget, you are probably looking at 500 square feet Mickey Mouse apartments, with minimal cooking facilities, and a 50 square feet balcony.
Thanks for the detailed reply. I do see quite a few one-bedroom condos are available in these areas. You wouldn't happen to know any details about movement in condo rent prices that are listed as 'Negotiable'? Really, how negotiable are places with this listed?

Thanks Renetk for your reply. Being a renters market currently, how much could I realistically negotiate a monthly rent down to?
How negotiable will depend on the landlord. My thoughts as follows. If the landlord is already putting a unit up for rent 1 month before previous tenant leave, he may want a quick deal so slight discount may be given. If unit is just vacant, some landlords may want to wait for better deal so discount may not be given. If unit empty for 3 months, landlord may give good discount.

Good deals can be found in "take over" units. Some tenants sign up a 2 years lease but need to leave Singapore after 6 months, or wish to rent a bigger unit at another area. You take over the remaining lease from them at a discount (given by previous tenant).

For a start, my suggestion is to look up URA website for past rental transaction. Compare that with the quoted price. Bear in mind that rental price may differ due to furnishing, the floor level, tenant profile, etc.

Good luck.

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by cavemaner » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 7:41 am

Thank you TMY for your detailed reply! Advice that I am taking into consideration now that I be moving to Singapore soon.

I read in another thread when applying to offer 20% under the advertised/listed rental price. Is this realistic? and secondly, do offers like this regularly get accepted?

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by Addadude » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 9:37 am

cavemaner wrote:I read in another thread when applying to offer 20% under the advertised/listed rental price. Is this realistic? and secondly, do offers like this regularly get accepted?
That was probably something I wrote. Yes it is realistic - I've done it many times. At the very least it should get negotiations started in the right way.

And, like it or not, you will have to put down a few months rent upfront. There's no getting around that. The best you can hope for is a one year rental with 1 month's rent paid in advance and a 1 month security deposit.
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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by JR8 » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 4:59 pm

Addadude wrote:
cavemaner wrote:I read in another thread when applying to offer 20% under the advertised/listed rental price. Is this realistic? and secondly, do offers like this regularly get accepted?
That was probably something I wrote. Yes it is realistic - I've done it many times. At the very least it should get negotiations started in the right way.
And, like it or not, you will have to put down a few months rent upfront. There's no getting around that. The best you can hope for is a one year rental with 1 month's rent paid in advance and a 1 month security deposit.
I think you can do that if the market is weakening, and the listed prices (of flats) have been on the market a while without reducing their prices. BUT keep in mind that there is a SGn landlord gene which comes over as stubborn pride. This can translate - perverse as it is - into a landlord preferring to maintain their pipe-dream asking price and have an empty unit, than 'be defeated' and negotiate a lower price. That ties with the perceived LL<>Tenant status, i.e. they're owners, you're merely tenants, so the tenant 'winning' against the LL can leave the LL with a grudge, one he might try and recoup later, and hence 'win'. [There's a parallel in car-owner vs cyclist!].

Anyhowz. Judging a price to offer can be something of an art. This is where having your own agent can sometimes help. Or, watching prices for that building on the URA (govt) listings so you're familiar with their recent direction.

I've not been watching SGn pxs for most of this year, but going in at -20% would be pretty bullish, unless you're well briefed that that might work. It would tend to get more traction if you have seen a couple or even a few units in one block, or immediate proximity. That way the LLs each know they are competing against each other (and don't be shy in making it clear), and it can be down to which is willing to bite first. Hand in hand with that do your best not to fall head over heels with one unit, and even if you do do not show a micron of inkling that you have!


--- Going in low and hard-ball comes with another risk. That you kill any prospect by offending the LL, and then later what ever you offer later they won't entertain you. That's not just in SG by the way, I've experienced that back home too. Either I'm letting or selling a flat, and some smart-arse comes in with an insultingly opportunistic offer... it just paints them as amateurish and they probably can't afford it anyway. BTW I have taken low-ball offers before, but they're where as a whole it's mutually beneficial, i.e. low-ball offer, but say a 2 year tenancy with full rent up-front; or a low-ball offer to buy, but with the depo down in 7 days, and all legals (exchange and completion) within 2-4 weeks. ... So that's another thing to think about if you're low-balling, i.e. what can you do to sweeten the offer in other ways.



good luck!
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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by Addadude » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 5:54 pm

JR, I agree that this 'aggressive' approach usually only works in a weakening market, but that's precisely the case here. On that well-known property site that we can't mention here, virtually all the condos advertised have listed their prices as negotiable.

The 20% figure was suggested to me by a local property agent friend who has negotiated very successfully for me in the past. In fact he said that he (a local Chinese Singaporean) could and would start off at 30% below the asking price without any issues with the landlord - even when the prices were listed as 'non-negotiable'. He reckoned that a non-local, especially an "ang moh", would only get away with a 20% 'discount'.

I find that locals (my missus included) are pretty shameless when asking for - and getting - discounts on anything and everything. Local landlords have no business getting p!ssed off when foreigners follow suit. If they do, no big deal. It's a renter's market at the moment.
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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by cavemaner » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 6:07 pm

Thank you everyone for your advice. There are many things to consider, and getting a competent real estate agent I believe should make the whole process easier and cheaper for me in the long run.

I don't want to rub a potential land lord up the wrong way by low balling an asking price. But the advice given in this thread has given me a few pointers on how to get a fair deal on a rental.

Addadude, if you don't mind, could you PM the details for your real estate friend.

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by JR8 » Tue, 11 Aug 2015 6:09 pm

hmmm useful grist to the mill, and all well and good then. Perhaps this is why our ex-LL is trying to suck us dry on our depo, since she probably still has a void since our departure.

Interesting your comments re: negotiability of local vs 'FT'; and I can totally believe it. If you haven't a local spouse or reliable and informed local contact, maybe there are market conditions where it does pay to have your own agent.
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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by Addadude » Wed, 12 Aug 2015 12:18 pm

cavemaner wrote:
Addadude, if you don't mind, could you PM the details for your real estate friend.
I'm afraid that my RE friend focuses exclusively on sales and large corporate rentals. He was doing me a favour with my housing quest at the time.

What I would recommend however is something that has been suggested on this forum before: Get a property agent to help you look for your new home and incentivise them by offering to top up whatever commission they might make with an amount equal the discount they get you off the asking price. For example, if they negotiate an asking price of $2300 PM down to $1900, top up whatever commission they make by the $400 they saved you. You might even want to make it $800 - 2 months worth of savings from the asking price. Yes. It's extra money up front but it saves you a considerable amount over a full year or two years' rental.
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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by cavemaner » Sat, 15 Aug 2015 7:53 am

Excellent advise Adda! Many thanks.

Can anyone on this forum recommend a reputable and competent real estate agent that they have used previously? Agents appear to be a dime a dozen on the like of .. I want to work with an agent who has been recommended to me, and will negotiate a good deal -with a little incentive thrown in by myself for good measure ;)

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Re: First Time Condo Renting Questions

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 15 Aug 2015 8:14 am

You could do much worse if you don't at least start with our hosts of this forum.

http://www.singaporeexpats.com/guides-f ... -guide.htm
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