advice about housing costs, re-locating

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ts1978
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advice about housing costs, re-locating

Post by ts1978 » Sat, 05 May 2007 1:56 pm

I've just accepted an offer from a local company. It's a bit of a hybrid between a local and the "expat" packages I've been reading about here. I'm looking for any advice with the following:

1) How to best go about finding a flat, HDB, or private apartment? Did most of you use online listings such as the one found on this site, classifieds in the ST, or through an agent?

2) I'm having a hard time sorting out what my budget really is. I'll be earning S$10,000/month (pre-tax), single, no kids, but also no housing allowance. If I find a place for live for, say, S$2,000/mo what sort of additional costs should I expect in terms of utilities, insurance (besides medical+dental which is included)?

3) My company is located in the CBD (Tanjong Pagar) but most of the listings I've seen in this area have eye-popping rental prices (3000,4000+). Are there any areas anyone could suggest looking for a plcae to live that are more affordable but still within reasonable distance of my place of work?

Any help would be very much appreciated! :)

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rubysg
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Post by rubysg » Sat, 05 May 2007 5:07 pm

Renting a condo is advantageous if :
1) safety is important to you especially if you are a femaleas it usually comes with security services.
2) you are a sporty person as most condos here, especially newer ones have gym and swimming pool

Advantage of renting a HDB apartment is that it is definitely less pricey.

Which location?
If you do not drive or cook, then it's important to stay near some amenities such as supermarkets, food centres, MRT (train) station or bus stops as it is easier for you to get round and travelling is less costly and more convenient. The problem in Singapore is that during peak hours, it's hard to catch a cab unless you are willing to pay more to book one.

Tanjong Pagar has a train station there. Thus it depends on where your exact working place is, whether it's within walking distance to the train station. You are working in CBD, central of Singapore, where rentals are expensive. Choice locations nearby is currently very expensive as property market in Singapore is booming now, and rentals have accelerate by quite a bit in recent months.

You may rent a studio apartment at locations such as Bukit Timah, Novena, Marine Parade or Holland Village. Marine Parade is near the beach and it can be quite a happening place during the weekend. Holland V has a lot of eating and drinking places.


For HDB flats, you can stay in nearby Tiong Bahru, Kim Tian, or Clementi.

If you drive, you have to take a theory test in Singapore and obtain a licence to drive here. Only tourists need not take the test. But do keep in mind that there is a long queue for the test and it can take weeks before you get a time slot.

I personally think that an agent from a agency should be able to match a place for you well but do look for a few agents to narrow down your search and ignore agents who provide you bad service. If you know of friends who know of people who are renting out, that will be even better. Do read your tenancy contract carefully and ensure that there's a diplomatic clause in there, that is, allow to terminate if you decide to relocate anytime.

Enjoy your stay in Singapore!

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joop
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Re: advice about housing costs, re-locating

Post by joop » Sat, 05 May 2007 11:04 pm

ts1978 wrote:I've just accepted an offer from a local company. It's a bit of a hybrid between a local and the "expat" packages I've been reading about here. I'm looking for any advice with the following:

1) How to best go about finding a flat, HDB, or private apartment? Did most of you use online listings such as the one found on this site, classifieds in the ST, or through an agent?

2) I'm having a hard time sorting out what my budget really is. I'll be earning S$10,000/month (pre-tax), single, no kids, but also no housing allowance. If I find a place for live for, say, S$2,000/mo what sort of additional costs should I expect in terms of utilities, insurance (besides medical+dental which is included)?

3) My company is located in the CBD (Tanjong Pagar) but most of the listings I've seen in this area have eye-popping rental prices (3000,4000+). Are there any areas anyone could suggest looking for a plcae to live that are more affordable but still within reasonable distance of my place of work?

Any help would be very much appreciated! :)
Expats source for housing in different ways, some would find their houses their the local newspapers Classifieds, while others use the online systems to guide them to what they're looking for. The search is easier from online databases, as they help you to narrow down your requirements like budget and sizes. One agent would normally do the job, to find you what you need so long as you keep as 'open' as possible with them by telling them your preferences.

Do expect for unexpected costs like minor repairs within the house, purchasing or furniture and consumable items like household items, as most leases do not come with such items. Your LAN lines, cable TV subscription and internet access with also set you aside about S$100-200 a month. If you're taking public transport like the MRT and buses, you'll do quite a bit of saving compared to owning a car in Singapore which is rather costly. Averagely $40,000-$80,000 for a brand new Japanese car.

There are not many housing around Tanjong Pagar, but if you have to select from the location, the following may be feasible, but depending on how much you would want to spend - International Plaza, Emerald Gardens, Landmark Towers.

A few good housing areas with easy assess to MRT stations within walking distance are Bishan, Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok.

It would best to start off with what you want by establishing the budget you would be allocating for housing rent.
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ts1978
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Post by ts1978 » Sun, 06 May 2007 1:06 am

rubysg, joop: thanks much, both your replies help considerably.

I'm almost certainly going to try and find an HDB flat. From what I can tell they seem to go for about 1300-1500/mo for a 3-bedroom flat in a non-remote area, which should be well within my budget.

I'm a 28 y/o male, so the lack of additional safety (private guards, etc.) isn't of particular concern.

On paper, from what you've indicated about costs of living, what I've read about income taxes, and an HDB-level of rent, it seems like I'll be reasonably well off here with budget. Definitely will need to find a flat near to the metro though, as car prices seem well out of my budget.

Thanks again for the advice!

rubysg
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Post by rubysg » Sun, 06 May 2007 9:36 pm

Hi TS1978, just found another website with useful information about driving in Singapore with regard to legal requirements for foreigners. Do click on this website in case you need to drive in future :-

http://driving-in-singapore.spf.gov.sg/ ... ersion.htm

Yes, I agree with you, a HDB flat will do just fine for you. Just find one near the metro (known as MRT in Singapore) as having to take a bus to a metro station can at times set you back by another 15 to 20 mins in your travelling time. But of course that will translate to higher rents. (By the way, I am not a property agent, haha, just an individual who loves to search for info on the web to help others ... do you term it being resourceful? :D )

Tanjong Pagar MRT station is in the East West Line, with HDB estates such as Tiong Bahru or Clementi within that line.

The locations that Joop mentioned, ie. Ang Mo Kio, Bishan and Toa Payoh are in the North South Line but it's fine because changing lines in Singapore is quite easy. NS Line to EW Line - you can just walk across the platform. NE Line to NS Line - you may need to walk about 5 to 8 mins.
For your info., NS Line passes the shopping belt too, that is Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut.

All the best in your search and enjoy your stay here.

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Post by Jeppo » Tue, 08 May 2007 11:28 am

Just to add, I live in Clementi and used to work at Raffles, one stop further than TP, and the mrt ride was only 20 mins each way. With both my unit and work less than 5 mins walk from the respective mrt stations my total door to door time was only 30 mins, if I timed it right :)

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