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House vs condo

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House vs condo

Post by kpapas » Mon, 20 Jun 2005 8:56 pm


We're moving to Singapore in 2 months time with two children under 2 and I could do with some advice on which is better in terms of accommodation for a young family, a house or a condo? And do townhouses come with private gardens or communal ones?


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Post by yoongf » Tue, 21 Jun 2005 12:22 pm

My opinion...

Landed properties require much more maintenance compared to condos. Kinda tough to do it while looking after 2 young kids, even with a domestic helper.

Townhouses, have a Private Enclosed Space (PES), sort of a small private garden or rooftop, alongside the communual space.

With 2 young kids, I would personally go for a condo with large communual facilities. U get more time with the kids at the pool/ bbq pits without the hassle of maintenance.

Ultimately, it depends on budget and the ability to accept communual condo living.

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Post by Sandpiper » Sat, 25 Jun 2005 5:20 pm

Many people, including us, do 2 years in a condo then as they feel more comfortable in Singapore and/or require more space / privacy move to a house. Some of my thoughts; which I hope are of some help:

Condo plus:

- company on your doorstep. If you look for a family friendly one you will be able to have playdates on site which is a lot easier with little ones, especially if you only want a "quickie!"...clues for family friendly - children's pool, play area. Have a visit on a weekend and see who is around the pool (unless it is raining or the middle of the day!)

- also if you follow my theory of many people doing condo then house...a condo is good place to find newcomers who will be looking for new friends and with whom you will have many shared settling experiences: a good starting point for friendships.

- maintained facilities - garden, fogging, pool are all looked after for you and included in the monthly maintenance fee which should be part of your rent (i.e. the landlord pays). I found a gym on site to be very handy as well. Also a function room is a big plus for kiddies birthday parties (save having them in your place if it rains!) and undercover BBQ / eating areas depending on the individual balcony situation of the condo. Note you do not want to live near the BBQ area though!

- easy access - condos are more likely than houses to be on main bus / taxi routes which is worth considering if you don't (plan to) have a car. But this may also mean more traffic noise.

- inside maintenance - if the condo is managed by an agent you may have access to a handyman on site, not necessarily free service though.

- generally all on one floor, depends if with little ones you would like to avoid stairs

- if husband travels a lot I imagine you will feel more secure than in a house. Not only from the security aspect but having friends on hand if you need them.

Condo minus:

- lack of privacy. Some condos are busier than others. It may be impossible to hang by the pool without feeling you have to chat with somebody. It can also feel kind of weird when you have friends to visit in the communal facilities and your condo friends are nearby watching you entertain...but maybe that is just me. Plus if you get a couple of grumpy child free residents you may have to put up with some bad karma poolside when they surface on weekends.

- on the otherhand I have a couple of friends who have stayed in very cliquey condos and constantly felt like an intruder in their own "backyard".

- while the facilities are great you have to go outside to enjoy them. Unless you have a courtyard you cannot just send the kids or one kid if another is sleeping outside to potter without supervision. Note that the condo pools are not generally fenced.

- cost/foot of floor space tends to be more in condos.

- the layout of a condo may not allow for much separation of living / sleeping space. Which may make it a bit of a pain if you have a day time napper and / or like having friends to dinner etc. But some are better then others, the older condos tend to be bigger and better in this regard. Don't let the pink bathrooms put you off - a new shower curtain can do wonders! And you really don't see it after a while.

- more adjoining neighbours - you could potentially share top / bottom / left and right walls...

- no immediate access to the outdoors, which I found hard to take.

- entertaining in the communal area means carrying everything down and back up again.

- if you live above ground floor you will need to safety proof your condo for the little ones - security locks on the windows & if you have a balcony that may be an issue. Depending on your children it may mean living in airconditioning most of the time (which you may prefer!)

- there are a number of developments around which have a cluster of townhouses with patios around a communal area. A great in between concept and popular as a result. Note that some have one apartment on top of another - the top being a walk up...which you may not fancy with little children, especially if the bottom apartment is two storey! Plus the walk ups do not have the courtyard.

House minus:
- you have to look after your own garden, fogging etc. Much easier of you have a maid as then you don't feel chained to the house so much waiting for people to call. Note that you can do packages for all these services (and pools) which are not unreasonable and can be rolled into the rent.

- you do have to work harder to get out and meet people and organise company (for yourself and kids)

- tend to be two storey

- a higher proportion are off the main roads, especially those with bigger gardens

- more expensive to aircondition, depending on size, design, breeze flow etc

- children can get very noisy in a garden - which may not be good for neighbourly relations :wink: Some houses are more private than others - we looked at some where the fences between each were chicken coop wire.

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