Tips finding apt in SG I wish I had known

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gcharusa
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Tips finding apt in SG I wish I had known

Post by gcharusa » Wed, 06 Aug 2008 12:14 am

After close to 4 weeks of searching, I finally landed a decent place. I wish someone had told me some of the things I found below before. So here are some of tips I learn the hard way -- I hope it's useful to some ppl here:

1) Negotiate temp housing as long as possible. Luckily I got 4 weeks. Most get 2, which is not enough in current rental market in SG. Within the 2 weeks, you are still just getting to know the different areas, condition of building, and prices. Not enough time to find a good deal.

2) Use more than one agent s-- don't listen to what the agents tell you. A couple of reasons:

2.1 Agents have access to different level of rental inventory. This is a truth, I have contacted close to 10 different agents. While many listing they show you will overlap, there are always units that the other agents do not have access to.

2.2 Different agents will get you different prices even for the same unit. Some times the difference is more then 20% in rental.

2.3 Most agents in SG today will charge you (tenant) anyway. It's a twisted system but landlord's agent will be paid by the landlord and you will pay for your agent. It's a significant amount since they often ask for 1 month of rent (that's to 10% increase in rental rate for 1-year lease).

So make then work their a** off for you.

2.4 Unless you get a referral of a trusted agent, there's good chance you will run into some bad ones if you just call up from the papers. If they know you have limited time on temp housing, what some of them will do is to show you some really crappy place with really high prices. You will be fooled into taking the next one that looks 'decent' and is at 'reasonable' price. This almost happen to me the first week of searching using just one agent. Luckily I wised up an call up other agents and look on my own.

3) Look on your own as well. Despite my usage of 10 different agents, I found stuff on my own through the internet and newspaper. These are unique inventory that the darn agents charging some ridiculous amount can't find for you.

4) If you a single professional like me looking for a nice (i.e. relatively new/nicely renovated) studio/one bed near CBD and walkable to MRT, you will not find anything less than S$3K per month. So prepare to negotiate with your company on salary. This rate is as of end of July'08.

5) Supply of flat share in SG is actually limited, unlike other big cities like NY or London. New/renovated flat share with 2-3 people near CBD and walkable to MRT will set you back at least S$1.5K but most likely S$1.8K.

6) Final advice, carefully consider option for relocating to SG these days. Cost of living here has gone up a lot. For the quality of living you will get and the price you will pay, think twice or negotiate like hell on salary before taking the offer!! If you are relocating from the US, do not buy in to the SG as lower tax rate, cheaper food, blah blah. To afford the same quality of living (w/ current property prices), I would argue you need to be paid 15%-20% more than what they would pay you in the US.

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sierra2469alpha
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Post by sierra2469alpha » Wed, 06 Aug 2008 12:50 pm

Very useful post, thanks for contributing!

Anybody else keen on adding to this list?

Cheers, P

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Post by skye » Wed, 06 Aug 2008 1:47 pm

If you like a place and are considering an offer, speak to the management office and make sure it is not about to undergo renovations. You don't want to find yourself living in a building site while the pool is drained for 6 months or all the lobbies are drilled and hacked up (and I speak from experience!). Don't expect tha agent to warn you.

Look around the area. Has the building next door gone en-bloc and is it about to be demolished? You may still want the apt, but the noise/dirt /disruption should be reflected in the rental you pay.

If you can, go back at different times of day and evening and try to speak to one or two of your prospective neighbours. If your neighbour upstairs turn out to be a karaoke fan, clog dancer or has a yapping dog, better to find out before you sign up for 2 years.

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Re: Tips finding apt in SG I wish I had known

Post by ashmika » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 12:19 pm

Its very useful post. Is it possible for you to provide me your agent details.

thanks in advance
gcharusa wrote:After close to 4 weeks of searching, I finally landed a decent place. I wish someone had told me some of the things I found below before. So here are some of tips I learn the hard way -- I hope it's useful to some ppl here:

1) Negotiate temp housing as long as possible. Luckily I got 4 weeks. Most get 2, which is not enough in current rental market in SG. Within the 2 weeks, you are still just getting to know the different areas, condition of building, and prices. Not enough time to find a good deal.

2) Use more than one agent s-- don't listen to what the agents tell you. A couple of reasons:

2.1 Agents have access to different level of rental inventory. This is a truth, I have contacted close to 10 different agents. While many listing they show you will overlap, there are always units that the other agents do not have access to.

2.2 Different agents will get you different prices even for the same unit. Some times the difference is more then 20% in rental.

2.3 Most agents in SG today will charge you (tenant) anyway. It's a twisted system but landlord's agent will be paid by the landlord and you will pay for your agent. It's a significant amount since they often ask for 1 month of rent (that's to 10% increase in rental rate for 1-year lease).

So make then work their a** off for you.

2.4 Unless you get a referral of a trusted agent, there's good chance you will run into some bad ones if you just call up from the papers. If they know you have limited time on temp housing, what some of them will do is to show you some really crappy place with really high prices. You will be fooled into taking the next one that looks 'decent' and is at 'reasonable' price. This almost happen to me the first week of searching using just one agent. Luckily I wised up an call up other agents and look on my own.

3) Look on your own as well. Despite my usage of 10 different agents, I found stuff on my own through the internet and newspaper. These are unique inventory that the darn agents charging some ridiculous amount can't find for you.

4) If you a single professional like me looking for a nice (i.e. relatively new/nicely renovated) studio/one bed near CBD and walkable to MRT, you will not find anything less than S$3K per month. So prepare to negotiate with your company on salary. This rate is as of end of July'08.

5) Supply of flat share in SG is actually limited, unlike other big cities like NY or London. New/renovated flat share with 2-3 people near CBD and walkable to MRT will set you back at least S$1.5K but most likely S$1.8K.

6) Final advice, carefully consider option for relocating to SG these days. Cost of living here has gone up a lot. For the quality of living you will get and the price you will pay, think twice or negotiate like hell on salary before taking the offer!! If you are relocating from the US, do not buy in to the SG as lower tax rate, cheaper food, blah blah. To afford the same quality of living (w/ current property prices), I would argue you need to be paid 15%-20% more than what they would pay you in the US.

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Re: Tips finding apt in SG I wish I had known

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 1:14 pm

ashmika wrote:Its very useful post. Is it possible for you to provide me your agent details.

thanks in advance
They will not be able to send you a PM until they have made 5 posts (likewise, you will be able to receive but will need 5 posts in order to activate your send function.

I'm telling you this because we do not allow the posting of real estate agents names on the open board out of respect for our hosts of this site (they are a real estate portal and they provide this board at no cost so we have to abide by their wishes.

Thanks,
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SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

ashmika
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Re: Tips finding apt in SG I wish I had known

Post by ashmika » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 9:54 pm

Thanks a lot for letting me know. I apolozise for this.
sundaymorningstaple wrote:
ashmika wrote:Its very useful post. Is it possible for you to provide me your agent details.

thanks in advance
They will not be able to send you a PM until they have made 5 posts (likewise, you will be able to receive but will need 5 posts in order to activate your send function.

I'm telling you this because we do not allow the posting of real estate agents names on the open board out of respect for our hosts of this site (they are a real estate portal and they provide this board at no cost so we have to abide by their wishes.

Thanks,
moderator

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kimora
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Post by kimora » Tue, 12 Aug 2008 7:28 pm

i couldn't agree more on using at least two agents. we looked at about 25 properties with one agent, and each apartment we visited kept getting worse and worse from our 'wish list'

after searching on the internet, i found another agent, talked on the phone, gave our needs and wants, saw one place, MOVED IN ...living happily ever after in our condo :)

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Post by Hamsi80 » Wed, 13 Aug 2008 9:06 am

Great tips and very similar to our experience as well.

We were lucky that our temporary accomodation was 6 weeks as this gave us a good opportunity to make sure we really got to know the different neighborhoods before choosing where we wanted to live.

Remember, the apartment you get is only as good as the agent you have...the better your agent, the higher your chances of getting the place you want. We almost thought that we had lost out on the apartment that we wanted but the agent managed to find us an even nicer unit in the same condo and also negotiated the rental down by a few hundred dollars.

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Post by frenzal » Wed, 13 Aug 2008 1:51 pm

would you get an agent if you're looking for a room, rather than an entire appt?

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Post by squash » Fri, 22 Aug 2008 7:55 pm

Hamsi80 wrote:Great tips and very similar to our experience as well.

We were lucky that our temporary accomodation was 6 weeks as this gave us a good opportunity to make sure we really got to know the different neighborhoods before choosing where we wanted to live.

Remember, the apartment you get is only as good as the agent you have...the better your agent, the higher your chances of getting the place you want. We almost thought that we had lost out on the apartment that we wanted but the agent managed to find us an even nicer unit in the same condo and also negotiated the rental down by a few hundred dollars.
Hi we are due to arrive at the end of the month from South Africa to Singapore and we have been reading all your comments on finding a decent place to stay. I am very concerned about this and was wondering if you could email me the agent you dealt with as they sounded rather good. We are a white family (Saying that cause everyone thinks you have to be black coming from South Africa) I have a 12 year old little girl who for now is booked into Emaar not sure if this is the correct schooling choice and my 18 year old son who we will look for a Tech for him to study. My hubby will be working on the refinery and not sure where that is to be honest. I am at a loss trying to pack up this side and worrying about finding a place that side to call home. I have never posted before so any and all help would be so great.
Squash for KZN South Africa

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Post by squash » Fri, 22 Aug 2008 8:00 pm

squash wrote:
Hamsi80 wrote:Great tips and very similar to our experience as well.

We were lucky that our temporary accomodation was 6 weeks as this gave us a good opportunity to make sure we really got to know the different neighborhoods before choosing where we wanted to live.

Remember, the apartment you get is only as good as the agent you have...the better your agent, the higher your chances of getting the place you want. We almost thought that we had lost out on the apartment that we wanted but the agent managed to find us an even nicer unit in the same condo and also negotiated the rental down by a few hundred dollars.
Hi we are due to arrive at the end of the month from South Africa to Singapore and we have been reading all your comments on finding a decent place to stay. I am very concerned about this and was wondering if you could email me the agent you dealt with as they sounded rather good. We are a white family (Saying that cause everyone thinks you have to be black coming from South Africa) I have a 12 year old little girl who for now is booked into Emaar not sure if this is the correct schooling choice and my 18 year old son who we will look for a Tech for him to study. My hubby will be working on the refinery and not sure where that is to be honest. I am at a loss trying to pack up this side and worrying about finding a place that side to call home. I have never posted before so any and all help would be so great.
I have sent you a post and was wondering if you need my email address? Your help would be a great help.
Squash for KZN South Africa

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Post by CarBaby » Wed, 27 Aug 2008 3:49 am

beware of some agents sending u nice interior pictures stating house for rent.....but when u go to view on that day..... the unit was taken, then showing u some others which is not your expectation.

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Post by pixel8 » Tue, 02 Sep 2008 4:32 pm

I may be looking out for a place soon. Just wondering. Are those listed on singaporeexpats accurate in price or is it marked up, negotiable?

I looked up places I knew 10 years before and it does show some increases of up to 50%. Expected worse.

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Re: Tips finding apt in SG I wish I had known

Post by pixel8 » Wed, 03 Sep 2008 11:49 am

Is this true or dependent on agent? The usual practice should be landlord to pay their commission. Also heard feedback that if rental > 3k, landlord bears.
gcharusa wrote: 2.3 Most agents in SG today will charge you (tenant) anyway. It's a twisted system but landlord's agent will be paid by the landlord and you will pay for your agent. It's a significant amount since they often ask for 1 month of rent (that's to 10% increase in rental rate for 1-year lease).

So make then work their a** off for you.

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Post by HunBunny80 » Thu, 04 Sep 2008 10:01 pm

Make sure you have a diplomatic clause whether you are an expat or a local!
There is no standard tenancy agreement and they are mostly skewed towards the benefits of the landlord so get a solicitor to look over the clauses to make it favourable to yourself too.
Agents here will play all tricks in their books to make you sign the tenancy ASAP but take your time to negotiate as the rent market is falling at the moment.
Ask the agents and potential neighbours if the neighbouring development are going through en-bloc as well.
Sorry I am terribly sceptical. Learn it the hard way!

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