Any expat consider HDB?

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Tammy138
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Any expat consider HDB?

Post by Tammy138 » Tue, 12 May 2009 3:52 am

Hi All,

My friend recommended me to look into the option of renting HDB flats rather than condos as its cheaper and just as convenient. Are there any expats out there who has done this? Good or bad idea if your new to Singapore?

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LoriW
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Post by LoriW » Tue, 12 May 2009 6:39 am

Absolutely!! That's what I'm going to be looking at since my job doesn't give a housing allowance and I don't much fancy spending out silly monry on a condo!

The going rate for an HDB flat - 2 bed is about $1500sgd, a condo would be double that.

There are certainly expats living in HDB-land and to be quite honest there are some pretty good places to live.

I quite like Clementi Central since there is a good sized shopping centre with hawker centre and MRT. It's not a million miles from Holland Village and Bukit Timah either by bus.

There's also a government sponsored scheme called "SHIFT" which is basically HDB flats for expats on EPs. There's some info about this somewhere on this website I think.

I'm going to be looking around when I'm in Singapore next week for a holiday. I've thought about flatshare in a condo but I think that I'm so used to my own space as well as a million and one friends promising to visit that I need a 2 bed flat really. A condo would be fab but the whole point of me going out there without my partner for 3 years is really to pay off some loans then do some serious saving!!

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 12 May 2009 7:03 am

I like the convenience to mature facilities like having MRT & Bus services at my doorstep, thereby, in my case, eliminating the need for a car at all. Additionally, I'm near to sports complexes so I have all the exercise facilities that I pay for only when I need it. Also HDB estates usually have all the amenities nearby, shopping complexes without needing to go to Orchard Road to pay inflated prices.

I've been living in HDB flats for 10 years now.
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

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Post by AngMoKio » Tue, 12 May 2009 7:59 am

I don't live in an HDB, but I have seen plenty that we considered.

I also like Clementi as one of my favorite neighborhoods - I would live there except for it being a long commute downtown for work.

Its a nice mix of convenience and green space.... not so overbuilt like Tampines.

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Post by Addadude » Tue, 12 May 2009 12:20 pm

HDB flats are fine. I've been living in one myself for the last 3 years after spending 12 years living in private apartments/condos.

The main negative to renting a HDB flat for me would be the initial selection process that you have to go through. Unlike condos (which obviously cost more), the turnaround for deciding on a HDB is very swift and brutal. They go really fast and because agents don't make a whole lot of money on any single transaction, they tend to handle it like an assembly line: lots of prospective tenants all viewing the place at the same time and the expectation that you will make up your mind immediately and hand over a cheque then and there.

If you do decide to go the HDB route, here's what i would suggest.

1. Bring along your cheque book - as mentioned above, the demand for HDB flats is quite high and if you see one you like, you will probably need to be decisive.

2. Bring along a local friend or colleague who should be helpful in spotting any 'dangers' or possible annoyances.

3. The best time to go flat viewing would be in the evening: you'll get a sense of what the immediate environment is like in terms of ambient noise and neighbours' habits.

4. Avoid flats whose immediate neighbours have lots of plants, laundry, junk, shoes, joss sticks/alters outside. There's a pretty good chance that they will have customs and practices that you won't appreciate.

5. Check out the lift lobbies and void decks for rubbish and graffiti (seeing O$P$ painted on walls is never a good sign...)

6. If you can, check out the more recently upgraded flats - these will be in the best condition.

Finally, think carefully about your budget. A HDB flat will cost you in the region of $1500 a month upwards. A 1-bedroom condo won't necessarily be a whole lot more expensive these days. Having such easy access to a swimming pool is really very nice... and will be a great 'upgrade' from what you are used to back home!
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Post by LoriW » Tue, 12 May 2009 3:09 pm

Yes, there are downsides to HDB flats such as customs you're not used to - but then, I'd say in my experience if you're careful about the area you should be fine.

While on holiday, we usually stay with a cousin in Sunset Way which is between Clementi Central and Bukit Timah. That is fairly out of the way but his neighbours have never been any problem - we've seen expats and I certainly haven't seen any of the more colourful characters which you may see in some places. The residents don't even bat an eyelid seeing us (a very "foreign looking" oriental accompanied by a bulky, hairy "ang moh"!!) and many even say hello!

We have also stayed with an aunt who lives right in Clementi Central which is fabulous - NTUC supermarket right across the road, as well as the food centre, 5 mins walk from the MRT. We did draw some curious wide eyed stares from the children of the Malay family living opposite! I suppose that's one thing you might need to get used to is the metal sliding gates where people tend to leave their main front doors open and the gate locked so you can see straight into their front rooms!

Then again condos and cluster houses are lovely - visiting cousins who live in condos means beautiful carpeted air conditioned entrance lobbies, immaculately kept "resort" themed pools, private underground parking, etc etc. For condos, I think Bukit Timah is fab even though it's a little out of the way!! (fantastic dressmaker near there too!!)

If money were no object, I'd probably choose to live in a detached house somewhere like Upper Thomson Road or the little roads off it. I spent many happy summers as a child playing in my aunt's garden - that house was sold a few years ago when she was considered too infirm to live alone. It has now been bulldozed and rebuilt with a modern and bigger house! An uncle still lives in the mid-terrace house he bought some 50 years ago in a quiet side road near Thomson Plaza - again fabulous neighbourhood.

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Post by Addadude » Tue, 12 May 2009 4:21 pm

Well, despite living in the same flat for the last 3 years I still get bewildered stares from the same particular neighbours every time they see me! I've taken to staring back at them with an equally bewildered expression...
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

Tammy138
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Post by Tammy138 » Tue, 12 May 2009 5:07 pm

Thanks everyone. Sounds like HDB is definitely an option. Do you go through the same agents as you do with condos? Apologies I am sure I can find this somewhere on this site given its a rental place.

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Post by LoriW » Tue, 12 May 2009 6:42 pm

Do you go through the same agents as you do with condos?
Ask me next week!!

One of my cousins is going to rent out her HDB flat - as income to pay for a condo they're buying and she mentioned an agent ............ I have first refusal on that one at $1500/pcm - I think it may be part owned by the agent.

The SHIFT scheme is different - when I have some time I'll find the link - or just Google JTC SHIFT

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Post by jolonicc » Tue, 12 May 2009 8:18 pm

If we were not bringing two dogs with us the government housing is the way we would go. I am not going to Singapore to live among expats....I am going to experience another culture and work.

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Post by Quasimodo » Tue, 12 May 2009 8:37 pm

HDBs are ok, but you do miss out on some of the things that makes living in the tropics so enjoyable . . . like a pool.

As for living where locals live . . . where do you think they live?

In condos! As well as HDB, landed etc . . .
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 12 May 2009 10:01 pm

Here's the link for the SHiFT scheme at JTC. But it's really not all that good of a deal and the restrictions are tight.

http://www.jtc.gov.sg/products/readybui ... index.aspx
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

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Post by LoriW » Wed, 13 May 2009 12:13 am

So, if a flat is $1300 pcm via the Shift scheme and my cousin is asking $1500 for her flat, would I be better off taking that? They have said that they will throw in phone and broadband for that if I take it.

The flat's in Bukit Batok which is reasonable travelling to Jurong Island where I will be based

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 13 May 2009 6:49 am

I suppose, if you are never going to want to have anybody else living there or the fact that they're supposed to be barebones unfurnished and they are usually way out in the boondocks it's okay. But you rarely find one available and from what I've been told, the condition is pretty rough. Also, because they have to rent to anybody, often the place reeks of aromas from cooking by previous tenants. I guess the only way is to apply for one and few. I'm sure that it's always possible to find something decent if you wait long enough and are willing to travel far enough. I am only going by anecdotal evidence only as I've not tried it myself so I cannot really give a valid opinion/judgment.
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

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Post by evergreen21 » Wed, 13 May 2009 11:24 am

for HDB, i wud pick 2 or 3 areas that i think are convenient to get to my working place.

from those area I wud then take time to recce the place and take note of blocks that are cleaner and newer (perhaps newly renovated/painted etc)

and only then wud i surf the web to see if theres a unit available in those areas.

Recently theres a lot of ad regarding block 28-33 TOA PAYOH.. ive been there.
and hv seen the show unit. it is actually quite nice. Tho it does not seem that way rite now but the govt has taken over those blocks. Emptied ,renovate , furnish each unit. Price is between 1.5 to 1.6.

You may want to take that into consideration. 10mnts walk frm nearest MRT

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