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Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

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Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by UK2SG » Sun, 17 Jan 2016 7:40 pm

Hi all,

I will be relocating with my family (wife and two sons, 4 and 1) later this year, and am looking for specific housing advice. Here are my details in the standard template:

Priorities:
- your budget (approx range) $6k - $8k
- your workplace/s (don't name names, just approx neighbourhood) A serviced office in the CBD (not set up yet so could be filexible)
- the size and/or type of property that you are seeking (#bedrooms, on-site facilities etc) 3-4 bedroom, full condo facilities. As much space as possible, hopefully over 2000sqf
- will you have a car here? Ideally not
- proximity to transport required. MRT-subway/buses/the airport/Malay border post (if so, which one). walking distance to MRT (<1KM?)
- will you have any accompanying children needing to attend school? If so, age/s? Eldest son will start reception/K1 soon after arrival
- are you looking at private (international/fee-paying, or local schools?) Applying to Tanglin Trust, Dover Court, Dulwich College and UWC
- will your employer being funding any fees; or will you, 'out of pocket'? Will be personally covering all fees, however relocation salary will reflect additional costs of Singapore living
- is remaining within a national curriculum important; if so what nationality are you? Currently weighing up UK curriculum vs IB, leaning towards UK since high chance of returning in the future
- have you identified any such schools yet? See above

Nice to have:
- will you need to be able to say walk to the local shops, a library, your doctor, a market, and so on? All of the above amenities would ideally be within walking distance
- access to any specific sport, social, and recreation facilities? Nothing specific
- are you considering bringing any pets. If so what kind, and will they require outdoor access and/or exercise? Will be bringing one cat, currently spends some time outdoors
- are you considering bringing any parents/in-laws etc? Do they have specific needs (for example difficulty climbing stairs?) No

Your current home and commute:
- are you already a city dweller? i.e. Are you used to city-centre hustle and bustle, or would you hope for a bit more peace and quiet? Have previously lived in London, moved to the suburbs a few years ago
- what is the size and type (apartment, house+garden etc) of your current home? Quite large, 5 bedroom house
- what are any current commute times like? Currently have a long commute of 1hr 20mins. Would like to have a short commute in Singapore.

Bearing in mind the likely International School and my office location, we have identified Holland Village as an ideal place to live, however this is not set in stone.

I would really appreciate some specific condo/cluster house suggestions in HV (or other) that meet the criteria above.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by rarkins » Mon, 18 Jan 2016 12:33 am

There aren't many large apartments within easy walking distance of Holland Village MRT - the only I'm aware of are Jade Mansion, YGK Garden and Holland Peak.

Also, you didn't mention if you're looking for furnished or unfurnished, however if you are bringing a cat then owners with furnished flats may be hesitant (and even if not, you may end up losing a lot of deposit if you claim the cat caused wear and tear).

In terms of schools, Dulwich is located quite far from the others. Will you be aware of which school you get admittance to *prior* to deciding on an apartment?

Also, when you mention "flexible" about the serviced office, do you mean it doesn't need to be in the CBD? Because if you have flexibility of office location then it definitely opens up more options.

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by UK2SG » Mon, 18 Jan 2016 2:44 am

Hi rarkins,

Good point about furnished vs un-furnished. From what I can see, the definitions of furnished vary wildly! We don't intend to bring much/any furniture with us, but if it has white goods that would be sufficient. We are happy to then furnish from Ikea and/or expat auctions etc.

I am responsible for choosing the location and setting up the office for my company. Although flexible, due to the nature of the business it will almost certainly need to be in the CBD area.

I would expect that we would know which school my son would be attending prior to choosing an apartment.

I know there is a general view on here that expats default to Holland Village, and I am wary of that. However, based upon our desire (probably) for our children to study the UK curriculum and my office location, it seems like a good location. If it weren't for the British schools, we would be looking at the East Coast too.

Happy to hear other suggestions though which give us ease of access to both school and work and a good community for a young family!

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by JR8 » Mon, 18 Jan 2016 2:51 am

Hi and welcome to the forum!
So boiling it down...
-----
I will be relocating with my family (wife and two sons, 4 and 1) later this year, and am looking for specific housing advice. Here are my details in the standard template:
Priorities:
- Budget: $6k - $8k
- Workplace: A serviced office in the CBD (not set up yet so could be filexible)
- Size and/or type of property that you are seeking: 3-4 bedroom, full condo facilities. As much space as possible, hopefully over 2000sqf
- Car?: Ideally not
- Proximity to transport required: MRT (<1KM?)
- Accompanying children/school?: Eldest son will start reception/K1 soon after arrival
- Private (international/fee-paying), or local schools?: Applying to Tanglin Trust, Dover Court, Dulwich College and UWC
- Employer funding fees; or will you, 'out of pocket'?: Will be personally covering all fees, however relocation salary will reflect additional costs of Singapore living
- Curriculum?: Currently weighing up UK curriculum vs IB, leaning towards UK since high chance of returning in the future
Nice to have:
- Need to be able to say walk to the local shops/library/doctor/market, and so on?: All of the above amenities would ideally be within walking distance
- Pets?: One cat, currently spends some time outdoors
Your current home and commute:
- Already a city dweller? i.e. Are you used to city-centre hustle and bustle, or would you hope for a bit more peace and quiet?: Have previously lived in London, moved to the suburbs a few years ago
- Size and type (apartment, house+garden etc) of your current home?: Quite large, 5 bedroom house
- Current commute times?: Currently have a long commute of 1hr 20mins. Would like to have a short commute in Singapore.
-----

I was looking at the criteria, $6-8k, 2000ft/+ and 4-bed condo in the suggested Holland/central areas and thinking that might be asking a lot. But I was surprised quite how much there is listed that ticks those boxes. [Though it's not helped by the huge proportion of listings marked as 'Price on Ask', but I don't see a problem with your proposition]. So much so that I hesitate to give suggestions, as the parameters move it from the macro to the micro, the more nuanced. An example of that might be, where your son will go to school, do they have a daily shuttle bus to the condo of your choice? i.e. The International Schools do have such shuttles that cover a wide area, and if you haven't a car that might prove a bonus.

Bearing in mind the likely International School and my office location, we have identified Holland Village as an ideal place to live, however this is not set in stone.

I've not lived in HV, and TBH I don't think I'd want to, but that's just IMPO. The centre itself is rather an expat ghetto, i.e. cliched and $$$. Other friends I've known in the wider HV/Holland area seem to live in blocks facing big and noisy roads which reduced access to amenities such as doing the grocery shopping via going on foot. Facilities like swimming pools tend to be small > extremely small. I'm sure you could figure out a balance though, good proximity etc, without being right on a main road.

A question that might be added to the template is... 'Have you already visited Singapore, and if so where did you stay, and have a chance to experience?'. It might provide useful context. The reason being as HV might be considered 'the expat ghetto'. A lot of people moving to SG and around your budget think or are told it's 'where all expats live', and the step to hence making that your primary choice can be a small one.

I would really appreciate some specific condo/cluster house suggestions in HV (or other) that meet the criteria above.


As suggested, I spent some time browsing via the search function above (condos only) and found loads of options. Almost too many to x-ref versus a map, and hence list those that might work for you.
I'd be considering some 2ndary aspects, like school-bus (as above), size of swimming pool, distance away from a big/noisy roads, proximity to bus routes, directness of MRT route to work, and so on...


p.s. Usual caution - beware agents PMing you off-board and promising you the moon on a stick.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by JR8 » Mon, 18 Jan 2016 3:06 am

UK2SG wrote:I know there is a general view on here that expats default to Holland Village, and I am wary of that.
Hehehe.... you must have been writing that whilst I was writing my reply to your original :)
But it's great you already done some reading-up on the subject!
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by UK2SG » Mon, 18 Jan 2016 4:18 am

Hi JR8,

Thanks for the considered and detailed response.

I visited Singapore in December on a business trip, but was only there for a few days. I was staying at a hotel on Tanglin Road so got to look around the Orchard Road area (crazy busy, too busy to live IMO). Other than that spent most of my time in the CBD but did get up to Dempsey Hill which I thought was great.

I'll be back again next month and will be visiting the schools I mentioned and looking at office space and hopefully scouting some areas to live in.

I've been looking online at areas such as Keppel Bay and Mount Sinai as alternative to HV, as they will still be well positioned for travel to school and work.

I'm not purposely aiming for an area with a high concentration of expats, but I do want somewhere that my wife and kids can make friends easily. One of the things I am afraid of is choosing a condo only to find it is deserted during the day or full of students rather than families.

I will definitely take your advice and ask the schools what condos they already have a bus shuttle service to.

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by Primrose Hill » Mon, 18 Jan 2016 8:35 am

What about a place nearer to Tanglin Trust School ie One North or Buono Vista? If looking at HV, try nearer to Chip Bee, Holland Peak is good, Holland Hill is ok, Leedon? There are cluster houses along Sixth Avenue or further down Holland Rd towards Ulu Pandan.

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by JR8 » Mon, 18 Jan 2016 6:31 pm

UK2SG wrote:I'm not purposely aiming for an area with a high concentration of expats, but I do want somewhere that my wife and kids can make friends easily. One of the things I am afraid of is choosing a condo only to find it is deserted during the day or full of students rather than families.
Sure, I understand that. Just an 'IME' observation:
In a way expats can be a bit of a funny lot, and your wife will likely feel it more than you. That said, your work-plans won't provide an office and 'instant social life' either. I conclude it's down to the transience of an expats time abroad, ie. why make friends when you'll shortly be gone. With an added twist of snobbery 'desperate gushing newbies, vs I've been here so long I'm almost native'.

In some ways this still surprises me, despite 3 stints in SG, but it's mainly the long work hours and perceived transience behind it IME. The last two places I lived I got to know *zero* other people in the condos despite going to the pool most days. A big bonus you have is young children who tend to act as an ice-breaker, especially pool-side on weekends. So in your shoes it might be useful if you can to observe the social mix around the pool on weekends. And/or on weekdays about an hour or two after school has ended for the day. And a decent pool will draw more residents, which again suggests getting right out of the centre of town where pools can be the size of postage stamps.

This forum has a social side too (meet-ups for dinner and beers, and other younger groups who organise social activities), and being a 'trailing/work-from-home spouse' it provided access to a social side that I might not have otherwise had. In an ironic way despite the anonymity of the internet I got to make more 'real/in-the-flesh' friends via this forum, when in the last condo even the Aussie in the very next door flat couldn't manage more than an occasional smile-free and grudging "Morning" :)
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by Primrose Hill » Tue, 19 Jan 2016 9:31 am

UK2SG wrote:Hi JR8,

Thanks for the considered and detailed response.

I visited Singapore in December on a business trip, but was only there for a few days. I was staying at a hotel on Tanglin Road so got to look around the Orchard Road area (crazy busy, too busy to live IMO). Other than that spent most of my time in the CBD but did get up to Dempsey Hill which I thought was great.

I'll be back again next month and will be visiting the schools I mentioned and looking at office space and hopefully scouting some areas to live in.

I've been looking online at areas such as Keppel Bay and Mount Sinai as alternative to HV, as they will still be well positioned for travel to school and work.

I'm not purposely aiming for an area with a high concentration of expats, but I do want somewhere that my wife and kids can make friends easily. One of the things I am afraid of is choosing a condo only to find it is deserted during the day or full of students rather than families.

I will definitely take your advice and ask the schools what condos they already have a bus shuttle service to.
Keppel Bay area - The Interlace/Carribean/Reflection - these are nice but you will end up always going to Vivocity for everything. These places have shuttle services to Vivocity.
Mount Sinai is nice - Whitely/Mount Sinai residences/Illoura but a stretch to MRT and the Cold Storage there is a tad small.
The thing about not being within the expat enclave - your kids will be playing and spending time with their friends from school. Those kids will be expat kids, generally. Unless you / your wife wants to spend your time ferrying them back and forth, somewhere where most parents and kids tend to congregate would be better.

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by UK2SG » Tue, 19 Jan 2016 7:35 pm

Thanks Primrose Hill, I will check out your suggestions.

Looks like TTS has a waiting list for reception that will mean no place until some point in 2017. I've heard Dover Court is very good for younger kids so am leaning towards that at the moment (all dependent on when I visit the schools next month, of course), with a view to maybe move in a few years if we remain in SG.

Therefore, I will look around areas that give us the best transport options. Buona Vista is certainly convenient for the MRT since it is an intersection for two lines...


JR8, you make some excellent points and I will certainly take your comments about the pool and best times to assess the condo community.

I just don't want to make a bad decision and be on a two year lease!

I will definitely make an effort to use the forum for social meetups once we hit the ground, it will be great to make some new friends once we arrive.

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by maneo » Wed, 20 Jan 2016 10:44 am

UK2SG wrote:Looks like TTS has a waiting list for reception that will mean no place until some point in 2017. I've heard Dover Court is very good for younger kids so am leaning towards that at the moment (all dependent on when I visit the schools next month, of course), with a view to maybe move in a few years if we remain in SG.

Therefore, I will look around areas that give us the best transport options. Buona Vista is certainly convenient for the MRT since it is an intersection for two lines...
This on-line handbook might be useful for the list of roads on the bus routes:
http://img.nordangliaeducation.com/reso ... 5-2016.pdf

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Re: Moving to Singapore from London in a few months, Condo advice please!

Post by yukiko84 » Wed, 12 Apr 2017 1:05 pm

Primrose Hill wrote:What about a place nearer to Tanglin Trust School ie One North or Buono Vista? If looking at HV, try nearer to Chip Bee, Holland Peak is good, Holland Hill is ok, Leedon? There are cluster houses along Sixth Avenue or further down Holland Rd towards Ulu Pandan.
Does anyone know the waiting queue at Tanglin Trust for 2018 primary one entry?

Thank you

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