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House or Condo?

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KathleenS
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House or Condo?

Postby KathleenS » Mon, 18 May 2015 9:32 pm

I am a writer for The Finder magazine. I am writing an article on living in a landed house vs. a condo and looking to speak to expats about their experiences. The article will present a neutral look at housing discussing things to consider and advantages and disadvantages of both options. Opinions from single men, women and/or families welcomed. If you are keen to help, please reply here or send me a private message. Thanks so much in advance!

Pal
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Re: House or Condo?

Postby Pal » Mon, 18 May 2015 9:39 pm

I am interested to hear the opinions too.
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Strong Eagle
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Re: House or Condo?

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 19 May 2015 1:27 am

I'm no longer in Singapore, having left at the end of 2012, and I lived in a semi-D for 8 years in Watten Estates. The majority of our friends lived in condos, a few in HDB flats.

We chose a semi-D for a few reasons. First, we left our home in Texas, with nearly a half acre of yard, and we wanted some kind of outdoor space that would permit us to lounge, eat outdoors, etc, and virtually no condo in Singapore has any kind of large size balcony or veranda to really permit such activities... mostly a couple of chairs and a round table. Although our yard in Singapore was small, it worked very well, giving my wife the opportunity to garden, which she loves to do. Also had lots of birds and other wildlife.

Second, we like to grill a lot outdoors and in most condos there are restrictions (never mind the space restrictions) in having a gas or charcoal grill on the condo premises, and we didn't want to go to use the common kitchen/grill facilities because we use the grill so often... just want to grill outside, bring the meat to the kitchen, prep the plates, and eat on the patio.

We also like the convenience of a semi-D... easy to park both car and motorcycle... no lifts or long walks in parking garages. No hassle with security gates. More open space around us with large trees and lots of greenery making for a very nice neighborhood.

Our friends who did live in condos also had their reasons. For those with children, having a pool and other recreational facilities was important. Most had already come from apartment or condo living and preferred this style of living. Some liked the security facilities. Some liked the view from the upper stories. And some liked the convenience of nearby amenities, although Greenwood Plaza was just a short walk away. Those of our friends who did live in landed properties did so for pretty much the same reason we did... a small yard, ability to cook outside, easy parking, more greenery.

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Re: House or Condo?

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 19 May 2015 8:43 am

I lived in Black & White landed properties for 15 years, for much the same reason as Strong Eagle. I come from a waterfront farm with 100 hectares of mixed land (tillable farm land, wetlands, woodland and homestead (1 hectare). So, for me, aside from the waterfront, the large compounds in Seletar Camp provided the necessary "country" living I was used to at a rent that was easy on the pocketbook. Sadly, when UDMC gave up management of those Black & Whites to Pidemco, things took a turn for the worse and my rent quadrupled in 2.5 years at at the last increase I said no. I refuse to pay higher rent than I could pay on a mortgage so bided my time and bought a resale HDB 5 room flat 17 years ago on a 16 years mortgage for less monthly than my rent was going to be.

Do I like living in an HDB? No. Do I like living in a condo? No. But this is Singapore and if one wants to continue to live here one has to be willing to make sacrifices (usually for the family). Of course, the flat is paid for now and that makes things a little more tenable. I have more amenities at my disposal (Seletar camp back in the 80~90s was still rather ulu and you needed a car as there was only one bus in and out and taxi's were loath to go out there late at night as then couldn't get a fare back to town. But, with the flat paid for, weren't the rentals of the B&Ws so high, we'd rent out the HDB and move back into the camp in a minute. Living in a condo OR hdb to me, in Singapore anyway, is like being incarcerated what with the bars all over the doors and windows and concrete walls. What to do?

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martincymru
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Re: House or Condo?

Postby martincymru » Tue, 19 May 2015 9:48 am

OP: You mean Singapore context only?

It's a very different experience in other countries hence my query.

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Re: House or Condo?

Postby Primrose Hill » Tue, 19 May 2015 4:00 pm

We rented a condo for 16/18 months. It was those 80s block, 2 up 2down. A huge mix development with condo in a tower block / those 2 up 2 down. semi-d town houses or the huge detach town houses. It was a foreigner eligible development. It has all the pre-requisite - huge pool, tennis courts, squash courts etc. This place is along Holland Rd.

We bought a house - no idea if you can call it landed or not. Its another mix development and another foreigner eligible development. Its a town house, I guess. We weren't keen on condo living and wanted our own space. Whilst we came from a big city, so used to not having much outside space, we have relish having a huge balcony whereby we can have our own BBQ set and not use the communal one, al fresco dining, though not done much of that recently due to the weather. We also have a roof terrace, which is our little zen oasis.

We pay a mortgage now rather than rent, other than a small top up compared to rent, not much of a difference, monetary wise. We also wanted our own house that we can put our own stamp on it without paying for the so-called interior design services that's ever so popular here but without needing to gut out an entire house and start again either. So, the house that we bought was a great compromise.

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Re: House or Condo?

Postby KathleenS » Thu, 21 May 2015 10:13 pm

These are great responses, thanks! Would anyone agree to go "on record" for me? I'd need to use your real name and include your photo with the article. It will likely appear in the August issue of the newly relaunched The Finder magazine (and maybe online). If you agree, may need to ask some follow up questions. Respond here or send me a private message. Thanks again!

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Re: House or Condo?

Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 21 May 2015 11:07 pm

Sure - contact me... I think you have access to my email as well.

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Re: House or Condo?

Postby rajagainstthemachine » Fri, 22 May 2015 4:32 am

I lived in houses all my life so the move from a house to hdb was quite difficult, i missed the open spaces and the terrace and balconies that come with a house. I also couldn't get used to living in a noisy environment that comes with hdb dwellings.
So after my contract expired I thankfully found a walkup type apartment, quite run down but its extremely spacious and I love it.
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late


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