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Relocating to Singapore from Texas

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ef11
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Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby ef11 » Tue, 22 Mar 2016 11:16 am

Hello all!

I will possibly have the opportunity to relocate from Texas to Singapore for two years and am beginning the process of getting things together. Probably wouldn't be moving until the end of this year so there is time to plan.

A few key details:
- I work for a large company, relocation support, living/rent expenses, etc will all be taken care of by my company. The dollar amount per month is unknown at this point though.
- I am a 27 year old male and will be moving with my 25 year old wife that works for the same company, so we will be working in the same location in Singapore which will be nice (trailing spouse).
- Rarkins asked questions regarding wife/family, my wife and I will work in the same location and work will be our number 1 priority. No plans for kids while there, so family friendly location is not required.
- I will be working on Orchard street by the YMCA north of Fort Canning Park.
- Being close to work and not having a long/wet/hot commute is probably the number one most important thing on my list. I am used to the climate due to living in Texas most of my life, but I only spend 3 minutes outside of air conditioning in my commute now since I am able to drive. I will be allowed to take a trip there to tour different living arrangements before making a decision and actually moving.

Just a couple of questions to start off:
1. I did use the keylocation.sg website and it seems really good for finding living close to the area I will be working in. Are there any other websites to note or any other key things to look out for? I also see so many of the listings show $4,000 SGD negotiable, how negotiable are these prices? Down to $3,900 or $3,500? A big negotiation or a little, I guess is my question.
2. Are there any FAQs or guides for people moving from the US to Singapore that I should be aware of?
3. Any things I should begin researching now while I am still several months away from the move?

Thank you!

EDIT - I've added the below Where should I live template questions:

Priorities:
- your budget $3000-$4000 SGD
- your workplace/s Near YMCA, 5 minute walk from Dhoby Ghaut station
- the size and/or type of property that you are seeking 1-2 bedrooms (I see some listings that just show 1/2 bedroom and no bathroom, is that a shared bathroom situation or they just don't list it?), would like to have a gym onsite and probably a pool. I would like to live fairly upscale, wood floors in living area, granite, etc
- will you have a car here? No
- proximity to transport required. Would like to get to work in around 15-20 minutes if possible. Main concern is being out of the elements, so 15 minutes on the train would be fine but 15 minutes walking not so much.
- will you have any accompanying children needing to attend school? No
- are you looking at private No
- will your employer being funding any fees; or will you, 'out of pocket'? Employer will provide set amount for rent expense, will include large raise to cover living expenses, will pay for all relocation costs, will pay for a pre-move trip to explore locations
- is remaining within a national curriculum important; if so what nationality are you? No
- have you identified any such schools yet? N/A

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? Train is fine, don't go shopping much and grocery store once a week. Would be nice to be able to walk to a few restaurants though
- access to any specific sport, social, and recreation facilities? Not a big deal, don't mind taking the train or walking far to do a sport.
- are you considering bringing any pets. If so what kind, and will they require outdoor access and/or exercise? No
- 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? I live in Houston, which is a big city but doesn't really have the big city feel. In general I'm open to any type of living I believe.
- what is the size and type (apartment, house+garden etc) of your current home? Large 2500 sq/ft multi-story townhome. Obviously will be changing a lot and moving to a smaller apartment. I don't think room is too big of a deal. We don't have furniture now so keeping the space small is probably preferred so it's less to furnish and easier to take care of.
- what are any current commute times like? Current commute is about 25 minutes each way in air conditioning the entire time (car).
Last edited by ef11 on Tue, 22 Mar 2016 9:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby rarkins » Tue, 22 Mar 2016 1:34 pm

Based on your description, it sounds like a major consideration when picking a place to live will be your wife's situation. Instead of asking personal questions, I'll throw some examples out there:

- If she's going to be able to work too, then not much to worry about
- If she's not going to be working for those two years, then a condo that's in a "social" location with plenty of 1-2 bedrooms is more likely to be populated with people of similar demographics to yourselves. Also consider if any hobbies are relevant and if some locations are better than others for that.
- If there's a chance you'll start a family then picking a condo with lots of other families is a good idea so she can hopefully have an instant mommy group. Certain condos are practically like a creche with babies arriving every week or two. We had our first child after moving to Singapore and were lucky to have multiple other babies within weeks apart, with friendly families to socialise with. Ways to spot family-friendly condos include looking for ones that have mostly 3 or more bedrooms (or at least, a low percentage of 1 bedrooms), and have a kids playground as well as wading pool.

Regarding weather, it's the *humidity* that can really hit you in Singapore rather than the heat. Many in Singapore consider a comfortable walk (e.g. to MRT station, in business clothes) to be about 10 minutes or less but after a while it's possible to get more used to it.

From your description it sounds like you might be within comfortable walking distance of Dhoby Ghaut MRT stop. This is convenient because it's connected to three MRT lines, meaning there's lots of locations reachable within 20-30 minutes in most directions.

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby JR8 » Tue, 22 Mar 2016 7:00 pm

Howdy ef11, welcome to the forum.

If you look in the Sticky topics above your post you’ll find several links that will help you at this stage, examples...

GUIDE: Where should I/we consider living? [this is marked as a draft FAQ, it originally was when posted, but this version is now revised and final]
viewtopic.php?t=101985
[FAQ] Relocating? What to Bring To Singapore
viewtopic.php?t=103156

You could also scroll back through topic titles in this Relo section for some months and read through any that sound relevant to you. You’ve a huge lead-time which is a real advantage!

YMCA, so around SMU... Look at an exit map for the MRT and you’ll see how close you are to those. It wouldn't surprise me if there is an exit for SMU itself. It’s interesting that you’re from Texas and are concerned about the heat/humidity :) But most transport is (very) air-con so you can keep away from the elements most time you choose to.

It’s good you get a pre-relo look-see trip. You can help maximise your use of that time by pre-defining candidates areas, or even buildings, that will fit your budget.
re: Keylocation. IIRC I’ve looked at that site before, but the advantage of the above Guide is that you can list more factors and then rather than an algorithm get human feedback to triangulate down, so it’s far more holistic...
Anyway the above should give you a good starting point for all 3 of your questions
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 22 Mar 2016 7:59 pm

JR8, not when the owner of that site posts above you. ;-) Sounds pretty human to me. And yes, I know. he doesn't mention his company in his posts as per our guidelines, just gives good stuff and let's the passive link do the rest as it did in this particular case. He went by the book and contacted me before hand about the link in his signature (in fact I told him the best way to present it and gave him the link to the sticky on the subject as well. So he's cool. (You needn't fire a red tinted warning shot across the bow). I told him in the beginning to research ksl's links and posts and he would be good to go. - mod ;-)

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby JR8 » Tue, 22 Mar 2016 8:17 pm

Ohhhh! :lol:

Well if he's pukka, then he might like to know I hadn't even noticed his tag-line link, since it blurred/camouflaged against the identical font colour of the adjacent message title. And/or it was added after I posted. But either way I didn't see it before and he might wish to make it a little bit more prominent...
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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby rarkins » Tue, 22 Mar 2016 8:20 pm

I thought it would be too much to make it the same colour as SMS's right away :D

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 22 Mar 2016 8:27 pm

The link has been in rarkins sig line since the 11 of Feb. but yeah, it is subtle in it's shading. But as per our guidelines it's not blinky-blinky lights, or oversized fonts. ;-)

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby ef11 » Tue, 22 Mar 2016 9:39 pm

JR8, thanks for your suggestion. I have added that template to my original post and provided details.

As far as the pre-move trip, yes I would like to define a few buildings/locations I would like to look at and then go see them.

I guess as long as I am a 5-10 minute train ride from the Dhoby Ghaut station, I will be able to meet my criteria of getting to work within 15-20 minutes. That should allow me to branch out a bit more than I was thinking originally.

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby JR8 » Wed, 23 Mar 2016 6:46 pm

Hopefully I've captured the core of it ->

$3-4k
Workplace MRT: Dhoby Ghaut
1-2 beds, want gym, probably a pool, upscale, wood-floors, granite
No car, pref. 15-20minute commute
No children/schooling needs
Present: Houston, TX – ‘Large 2500 sq/ft multi-story townhome’ – not bringing furniture, and smaller place is prob preferred anyway.
Commute: 25mins e/w in a/c car.


As that's first-pass on your outline wishes, I don't see any obvious compromises needed. In fact I reckon you have a lot of options. Added to which DhobyG is a major transport intersection further adding to your choices. Often a workplace suggests one best MRT route and hence housing spots; you can come from several directions, hugely so if using buses i/o MRT is an option.

Anything really close to your work area is considered primo-central, esp up around the top end of Orchard Road. Things like good swimming pools and facilities are rarer around there unless you're spending really big-$. Beyond this area you'll get exponentially more space and facilities for your budget. So it could be down to how much space below your current 2500ft would work for you, and the answer to that might dictate how close into town you can get. Rooms in modern apartments in SG can be very small, so a 1-bed flat might be say 450ft and up, 2-bed perhaps 650ft and up. Older buildings seem to tend towards larger rooms. Quite how urban/central/crowded can you tolerate around your home?

Also Google for the version of the latest MRT map, the one that shows travel times between individual stops. Since you're so close to the MRT at destination I'd start by say drawing the zone that lies with say 30mins train-ride. Start with that wider net, then narrow it down.

Dhoby Ghaut/Orchard are *right* in the central hubba. It's the main shopping and tourist drag. I can't translate that to Houston but in London it'd be like Oxford Street, and personally I'd need some space between that and my home as it'd be busy/noisy about 18-20/7.

You could afford our previous place, probably more so now rents have recently eased. District 12 up the red line, c30mins door-to-door to your work, gym, pools, 3-bed but it was modern hence compact, maybe 800-850ft.

Red MRT line between Newton and Bishan (kinda the 'Zone-2' band heading out northwards), plenty of options.
Red line/south - might be a bit of a non-starter.
Purple/east - DhobyG to Serangoon (I don't know the area beyond Little India well. DG<>LI is 'right in the hubba'/urban but you'd certainly get the real SGn experience there).
Purple/west - Clarke Quay and Chinatown. The former v expensive and touristy, the latter a blend of quaint <> a bit gritty [IME :)].

A commute with one connection opens up the east and west coasts. Of which the former seems generally very popular.

Anyway, that's a starting point for now. I think the most important consideration might be how much space would be enough? Then, you'd have to keep in mind that in SG a lot of stuff is included into quoted 'GFA/ft2' that wouldn't be in other countries, balconies, bomb-shelter, air-cons ledges are all included. So on a quoted GFA, as a rule of thumb I'd take 20% off to get a realistic sense of 'habitable space'.

Mull over that and give any thoughts.... and thus the process develops :)
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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby JR8 » Wed, 23 Mar 2016 6:49 pm

p.s. you asked: '‘(I see some listings that just show 1/2 bedroom and no bathroom, is that a shared bathroom situation or they just don't list it?)’

It’s hard to divine, as some ads are just not well written, and unfortunately floorplans are a rarity. Perhaps post an example if it matters, and people can opine.
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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 23 Mar 2016 7:14 pm

There's also the Circle Line to Dhoby Ghaut, e.g. Mountbatten, Dakota, Paya Lebar. Google thinks Mountbatten to Dhoby Ghaut is a 13 minute train ride, 17 minutes from Paya Lebar. There's no change of train on that segment unless you catch the wrong train during the weekday morning rush hour, and then you'd just change at Promenade to the next train on the same platform.

There are a couple private developments stretched between Mountbatten and Dakota, closer to Dakota: Waterbank at Dakota and the Dakota Residences. Those would be worth a look, I'd say. 2 Dunman Road might be good, too. It's not an area chock full of shops and restaurants, as I recall, but the commute would be short.

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby dreamyjez » Wed, 06 Apr 2016 5:26 pm

I like to add on to BBCWatcher's reply:

There are actually shopping malls nearby for Mountbatten/Dakota/Paya lebar areas, so you can have access to supermarket and restaurants.

Mountbatten - one stop away from Stadium (Kallang Leisure Park & Kallang Wave Mall - both have supermarkets, and restaurants)
Dakota - two stops away from Stadium and one stop from Paya Lebar
Paya Lebar - has 2 malls (Paya Lebar Square right above the MRT and OneKM Square, less than 15 minutes walk from MRT)

If you want swimming pool or gym that is not available in the condo, there is sports hub at Stadium with indoor swimming pool, and gym.
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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby ef11 » Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:17 am

Wanted to thank you all for the replies, I have been doing some research! I'm finding the KeyLocation website to be very good! Overall I want to have a short commute to work, that is a bigger concern than being right by restaurants and shops etc.

Question 1 - Instead of taking trains, how feasible is it to take a bus? I think a bus that would take me from the door of my apartment to the door of my work would be a great benefit. Is there a way to see a bus schedule and routes? Disadvantages to this?

Question 2 - I've heard that many apartments are partially furnished. What does that typically mean? What things can I almost always count on being in my apartment? I had planned to bring my own couch, bed, etc but I've heard a lot of places already have beds and couches. Any way to tell? I find apartments that look good but it seems hard to find out what is actually included and how much it will be since they don't seem to have functinoning websites and you have to go through Agents.

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:30 am

http://gothere.sg/about

This is a pretty cool site if you know where you are and where you want to go. the app available from iTunes or Android Play Store. Give methods of travel, various combos, and taxi/train/bus costs.
(I'm an android user).....
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... e.sg&hl=en

There are other similar apps there as well, I'd suggest you try a couple of them to see which is to your liking.

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Re: Relocating to Singapore from Texas

Postby dreamyjez » Thu, 14 Apr 2016 4:12 pm

Q1 - Well this depends on which condo you are staying at. Not all condos are located right in front of the bus stops or MRT station. However, bear in the mind the weather here, it can be common that you'll be sweating while waiting for the bus to arrive. I guess most of the members here advise you to take the MRT also due to this, since most MRT stations are air-conditioned.

If you are still keen on taking the bus, then check out which condos are nearer to the bus stop. I noticed that Key Location site also has this useful function whereby you can check how you can travel from the specified condo to another location. Example for Waterbank @ Dakota: https://keylocation.sg/condos/waterbank-at-dakota
You can key in the nearest landmark to your workplace and see if there is bus that can bring you directly to work.

Alternatively, i always love to use Google Map for checking out directions. Just take note that the duration quoted by Google may not always be accurate. So err on the safe side please. Usually I give 50% top up to whatever Google shows (e.g. 8 mins walk stated by Google, I will take it to mean 16 mins walk - which of course depends on your walking speed)

Q2 - this varies from landlord to landlord, especially for rentals. if you don't want to involve agents, then shortlist a few condos and maybe email those owners about what kind of furnishings they be providing. I
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