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Moving from San Francisco to Singapore: Apartment vs. Room?

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redforeva
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Moving from San Francisco to Singapore: Apartment vs. Room?

Postby redforeva » Sun, 08 Mar 2009 1:11 pm

I'm a grad student doing a year of research in Singapore with my husband tagging along. Here's the moving plan:

Arrive in Singapore in 1st week of April.
April: Short term lease somewhere Central-ish. Budget <800/wk.
May: Long-term (12-month) somewhere along the Green (East-West) Line. Budget <2500/mo. I will be working near Jurong East MRT and my husband might look for work in the CBD.

We travel light (our laptops and a couple suitcases) so won't need a big apartment. We're not picky although a decent pool+gym would be a plus. We also love the arts and nightlife.

Now the questions:
1. Is that moving plan overtly optimistic?
I read all these horror stories of spending months & months to look for a place but have heard that the rental market have considerably softened in 2009. Is that true?

2. Being on an academic stipend & supporting a spouse, I wouldn't mind going for a shared rental to save some cash. Where we came from (San Francisco), it is very difficult for couples to get into a roommate situation. What about in Singapore?

3. We might also be hosting a few close friends visiting from the US through the summers. Up to 2 people at a time. <3 day stay, usually to hop off to other countries w/ my husband. This practice is very common in the US. How open are roommates in Singapore with 'couch-surfers'?

Your introductions, comments, suggestions and even insults are much appreciated ;o)

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in my opinion

Postby 3g » Sun, 08 Mar 2009 5:58 pm

Hi and welcome to Singapore!

I think with a budget of 2500 (I'm assuming that is in SGD) will get you a very nice condo with probably 2-3 bedrooms, a nice kitchen and a spacious living room. Basically, here in Singapore, you can either live in an HDB flat which is government-owned and therefore a bit cheaper to rent, or a condominium where for a few extra hundred you can have a very very nice place with a swimming pool, gym, barbecue pits and beautiful landscape. If you're looking to live near Jurong, you should be able to find a lot of condo units there that will be within your budget. Paying for more than that is (for me) unnecessary since 2500 is already a good deal. If you only want two bedrooms (1 master bedroom and 1 common room that is the standard here) perhaps you can find units for 2000 SGD monthly.

We live in a very nice condo and I think it is a pretty decent deal since living in an HDB flat or just renting a room has a lot of disadvantages.

Hope this helps :)

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Postby durain » Sun, 08 Mar 2009 7:31 pm

1. yes.
2. for your budget, you can rent a whole apartment. or if you want to save money, rent a common room.
3. if you are in a common room, all depends on your room mates or how big is your room or if there's a living room! your friends/relatives will have to opt for hotels.

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Postby redforeva » Mon, 09 Mar 2009 3:46 am

durain wrote:1. yes.

Meaning the plan is overtly optimistic or it's true that rental market have softened? Sorry about the double-dagger question

Thanks for the reassuring replies! I agree with preferring the condo and just wanted to hear that my budget is reasonable.

BTW, what is up with the property listings here having $0 for price? Does that ever help any agent/owner get tenants? It's a huge turnoff for me when you don't put your price upfront...

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 09 Mar 2009 10:05 am

redforeva wrote: It's a huge turnoff for me when you don't put your price upfront...


Turnoff or not, you are not moving to San Francisco. There are a lot of things here that may or may not be a turnoff. That's one of the beauties of going overseas - seeing how other countries/peoples operate. You are coming here for an education correct? :wink:

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Postby andreaaadb » Wed, 11 Mar 2009 11:40 am

Welcome to Singapore Reforeva!

To answer your questions:

April: Short term lease somewhere Central-ish. Budget <800/wk.
Might be a little tough but can try Ascott in Shenton Way..they have been actively promoting themselves so I'm sure they wld be able to work out some good rates for you.

May: Long-term (12-month) somewhere along the Green (East-West) Line. Budget <2500/mo. I will be working near Jurong East MRT and my husband might look for work in the CBD.
If you want to stay nearer Jurong East, then $2,500 is not too bad a budget. Do note that although apts here are not as small as those in HK, which essentially are the size of walkinwardrobes!!!, they are gonna be rather small compared to San Fran. There shld be some nice apts along the green mrt belt..try Queenstown , Buona Vista area, Holland Village area.

If you dont mind an HDB flat, you wld be able to get a really nice pl in Holland Village...where you can get many amenities and there is a larger expat crowd in that area
.



We travel light (our laptops and a couple suitcases) so won't need a big apartment. We're not picky although a decent pool+gym would be a plus. We also love the arts and nightlife.
Most condos will have that ...but yu wont get any of that in a HDB flat


Now the questions:
1. Is that moving plan overtly optimistic?
I read all these horror stories of spending months & months to look for a place but have heard that the rental market have considerably softened in 2009. Is that true?

Don think you will have any problems finding a pl fast this time! You can say you've come at the right time!

2. Being on an academic stipend & supporting a spouse, I wouldn't mind going for a shared rental to save some cash. Where we came from (San Francisco), it is very difficult for couples to get into a roommate situation. What about in Singapore?

If you are looking at a condo, most landlords wont want that to happen..subletting in condo is really a nono in most situations.

If you are looking at HDB, make sure you find pple who are not gonna throw parties and such cos cops will be called on you by 2300hrs!

And with the economic situation it is right now, you dont want to have to be stuck with paying for an additional room which was intended to be rented out.

Which will bring us to your last question


3. We might also be hosting a few close friends visiting from the US through the summers. Up to 2 people at a time. <3 day stay, usually to hop off to other countries w/ my husband. This practice is very common in the US. How open are roommates in Singapore with 'couch-surfers'?


If HDB, not a real prob if you meet with nice neighbours..can thay can help look out for your friends too....so once you move in, I'd suggest you bring them some flowers and cookies and intro yourself to them!

If it's condo, you will have to register each of your guests as some condo security guards can be quite hound dogs!


Hope that helps!

PS: I received a flyer via email abt an apt near Holland Village a few days ago..will see if I've still got it and can email that to you.

All the best!

redforeva
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Postby redforeva » Wed, 11 Mar 2009 2:35 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote: You are coming here for an education correct? :wink:

I consider my self schooled! :lol:

Andreaaadb,

Thanks for being so thorough. After a few more days of asking around, we're probably not looking into HDB since having access to a pool is beginning to look super tempting. They are quite rare in SF...

We have stayed in really tiny apartments in SF, too [The Victorians sure love tiny salons, fainting closets and hallways...] so I think the size of the place won't be a problem. I guess it's a matter of meeting people and seeing the places once we get to the island.

Reading this forum has been reassuring, though...

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Re: Moving from San Francisco to Singapore: Apartment vs. Ro

Postby promil625 » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 12:00 am

Hi!

i just arrived in Singapore last Sunday. I spent my whole monday and Tuesday visiting flats within my budget, max S$3k/month. I contacted an agent.

In terms of choices, there are so many to choose from. I guess it all boils down on what you want re: "decent pool+gym would be a plus. We also love the arts and nightlife"

The agent told me that a lot of expats and locals are changing flats from high end ones to mid-range (within 3k budget) that is why despite the economic downturn, there are still not too many flats within this range or the available ones easily get taken. Just like what happened to me last monday, i visited the unit at 10 in the morning, and it was already taken by 3 pm!!!

Most condos have swimming pool and other facilities (gym, sauna, jacuzzi, etc). There are very nice refurbished old singaporean houses that are within the 2800-3200 budget. They are old outside but have very modern and chic furnishing inside...designs that fit for magazines!....but no facilities!...they are normally 1-2 bedroom...

The Kerrisdale at Sturdee road have $2800 flats yesterday..fully furnished and the condo has amazing facilities and the vicinity have lots of pre-war buildings and indian temples..accessible to green line MRT (Lavender).....but i managed to find a 3k flat yesterday at City square residence...same area but very new...similar facilities (except bowling alley!)...I checked it yesterday, sorting the documentation until tomorrow and this friday, i can move in!...pretty quick...

I can give you the name of the agent who helped me if you like.

redforeva
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Re: Moving from San Francisco to Singapore: Apartment vs. Ro

Postby redforeva » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 1:30 am

promil625 wrote:Hi!
The agent told me that a lot of expats and locals are changing flats from high end ones to mid-range (within 3k budget) that is why despite the economic downturn, there are still not too many flats within this range or the available ones easily get taken.


That's great information to be aware of just so we'll be extra-decisive during our search.

I have a friend-recommended agent that I have not contacted. But your agent seems pretty on the ball so I would be happy to contact him/her.

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Re: Moving from San Francisco to Singapore: Apartment vs. Ro

Postby promil625 » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 2:22 am

promil625

Sorry, but you will have to use your PM function to do that. As this site is hosted by a real estate portal, we have to respect that. Therefore it is this board's policy to not allow the posting of other real estate agents or agencies here. I know it seems unfair, but this is a business venue first and foremost. Do you think a Mercedes dealer should let a Toyota salesman or for that matter anybody come into their showroom and start advertising their brand or their preferences? Hope you understand.

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Postby Cindy812 » Tue, 24 Mar 2009 4:21 pm

My husband and I came here in a very similar situation, with the same budget for 1 year a couple months ago.
We ended up finding a private condo in the Holland Village area for 2600/mo. (This is fully furnished, and with internet.) It has a small swimming pool, and is a 10-minute walk to the Commonwealth MRT station. (Other areas in Holland Village are closer to the Buona Vista station- both on the green line and close to your work.)
The area has a lot of expats, great restaurants and culture, and we are very happy here. Our building also does short-term leases and is flexible, and still has open apartments since they just renovated everything- let me know if you'd like more information.
Hope that helped!

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Postby fizzprof » Thu, 09 Apr 2009 10:25 am

Cindy812 wrote:My husband and I came here in a very similar situation, with the same budget for 1 year a couple months ago.
We ended up finding a private condo in the Holland Village area for 2600/mo. (This is fully furnished, and with internet.) It has a small swimming pool, and is a 10-minute walk to the Commonwealth MRT station. (Other areas in Holland Village are closer to the Buona Vista station- both on the green line and close to your work.)
The area has a lot of expats, great restaurants and culture, and we are very happy here. Our building also does short-term leases and is flexible, and still has open apartments since they just renovated everything- let me know if you'd like more information.
Hope that helped!


Cindy812, can you give the name of the building? I am starting to look for something for my family of four beginning in Aug, and what you describe sounds about right for us. Thanks.

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Postby Cindy812 » Sat, 11 Apr 2009 4:31 pm

The building name is Holland Crest. I don't think I can give you more information because it will be flagged as an advertisement- but I think if you google it you can find some sort of information or phone number for the building. Good luck.


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