Any expat consider HDB?

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 May 2009 9:30 pm

Lori,

There are a lot of reasonable priced condo and such out around Jurong East or Bukit Batok/Clementi triangle. These are a lot closer to Jurong Island and would free up a lot of travel time. Some of them are older units so the price would come down considerably. There are a few on this board here who are living out in that area and Chua Chu Kang as well. If travel time and cost issues are paramount I would look at that as those are the journeys you will be making daily.
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Post by Tammy138 » Thu, 14 May 2009 9:46 pm

Lori....you have put things in perspective when you talk about the shoes...i am really at a stretch with 2k for rent too, but as i have never been to Singapore before, i am worried about finding a bad HDB to live. So thought i might have to sacrifice nice clothes and shoes for a year to live somewhere i hope is ok. oh, might have to sacrifice nice food and a life really.

i will work at Raffles place...so i presume east coast is a bit far for me right?

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 May 2009 10:10 pm

Tammy,

East Coast is ideal for working in the CBD. It's far enough away to allow some decrease in the cost and it's only around 20-30 minutes to town using feeder buses or MRT or combination of both. Easy-Peasy. Plus if you are an outdoor type soul, then East Coast Park is the place to spend your leisure time (I was going to say beach but it's not really what you would call a beach if you are from an area that has natural beaches.
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 » Thu, 14 May 2009 11:29 pm

Tammy, East coast for working in the CBD (Raffles Place) is good I'd say. Also remember that if you are closer to changi side, it's a lovely short boat trip out to Pulau Ubin for REAL open spaces and a bit of mountain biking! To be quite honest, you could live anywhere and reach the CBD fairly easily!

SMS, I've got an offer of my cousin's HDB flat in Bukit Batok at $1500pcm with broadband thrown in. Might end up going for that really - it's a reasonable sized flat - or they said it's bigger than the condo they were living at in Bukit Timah (which incidentally was TINY!!). They're buying a different, slightly bigger condo now and the HDB flat is for income.

My experience of visiting people in a huge variety of houses and flats in Singapore is pretty wide and I've never been to an HDB flat where I've felt unsafe or uncomfortable.

I grew up in West London in the 1970s in a suburb where there were one or two rather dodgy council estates on the edges. In the 1980s as a student, I lived in a squat in the East End of London so perhaps my idea of "dodgy" is seriously "dodgy". HDB land is light years away from that!!

Yes, you may well see locals wandering around wearing rather grubby shorts, singlet and flip flops in some of the more "local-ish" and older blocks, they may well give you rather funny looks but I'd say they wouldn't be a threat!

Singaporeans DO talk loudly, middle class families do almost all have a piano which they force their children to sit at every evening and thud out their exam pieces and scales. you'll find that in a condo as well as a HDB flat though.
Lori....you have put things in perspective when you talk about the shoes...
Heehee we're talking the same language!

See I don't see the point of moving halfway across the world to suffer. I'm happy to give up a lot for my career - at 45 this is my one last chance really to do something "amazing". However, surely one is entitled to spend one's earnings on a little bit of fun rather than simple survival??

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Post by Tammy138 » Fri, 15 May 2009 1:12 am

Lori...thanks for this. If you know anyone that also has some good HDBs, please let me know. Your right, a nice life is just as important especially being in somewhere new for such a long period of time.

I have to say, I am currently living in East London now...so I think I'll do well :)

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Post by Tammy138 » Fri, 15 May 2009 1:14 am

BTW, congrats Lori on the HDB place..sounds like a really good deal!

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Post by LoriW » Fri, 15 May 2009 2:55 am

Fingers crossed that the flat hasn't gone - firstly I said to my cousin I was 99% sure, then when she said that the agent they were going through wanted to start showing prospective tenants around - even though the flat isn't available until july, I did say to show people around anyway!

Tammy, I'm sure you'll be just fine - I'd probably want a place with full aircon though rather than just fans! HDB flats are absolutely nothinglike british council flats. Don't let the fact that they are "government built" put you off! They are frequently "owner occupied" - people buy the flats from the government.

I think the only area I'm not sure about is Toah Payoh simply because the flats are very old and also .......... I don't know ....... there's just something I can't put my finger on........

Some of the flats are very nice and many have marble or ceramic tiled floors. some have balconies, some have had their balconies knocked through to give extra living room space.

Queenstown again is old but OK I'd say - my grandfather used to live there back in the 1970s. I do really like Clementi Central (as opposed to Sunset Way) - I supoose because it really is a very well served and friendly little town. We will be staying with my cousin in Sunset Way when we visit next week. That is lovely, but it's a 10 minute bus ride from the MRT. My cousin works in the CBD so manages the commute well enough. He does drive but it's just far easier to travel on public transport.

The thought of a pool at home is lovely, but I'm not a great swimmer anyway. As far as I can see with a condo you would be paying for a pool, a lovely carpeted entrance lobby, a guaranteed "better class" of neighbour, oh a "function room" if you're going to throw parties.

A few years ago, we had a great family barbecue at the function room of one of my cousin's condo - it's basicaly an A/C room with use of a big barbecue. However, for me, if I did want to throw a big party, I'd just talk nicely to someone I'm related too! :wink:

I'd rather spend the extra cash I'd end up spending on a condo with a pool on lovely Javanese massages or exercise classes.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 15 May 2009 7:04 am

LoriW wrote:
Tammy, I'm sure you'll be just fine - I'd probably want a place with full aircon though rather than just fans! HDB flats are absolutely nothinglike british council flats. Don't let the fact that they are "government built" put you off! They are frequently "owner occupied" - people buy the flats from the government.

They are more than frequently "owner occupied" 94% of the nation lives in HDB Flats.

I think the only area I'm not sure about is Toah Payoh simply because the flats are very old and also .......... I don't know ....... there's just something I can't put my finger on........

Some of the flats are very nice and many have marble or ceramic tiled floors. some have balconies, some have had their balconies knocked through to give extra living room space.

Queenstown again is old but OK I'd say - my grandfather used to live there back in the 1970s. I do really like Clementi Central (as opposed to Sunset Way) - I supoose because it really is a very well served and friendly little town. We will be staying with my cousin in Sunset Way when we visit next week. That is lovely, but it's a 10 minute bus ride from the MRT. My cousin works in the CBD so manages the commute well enough. He does drive but it's just far easier to travel on public transport.

The thought of a pool at home is lovely, but I'm not a great swimmer anyway. As far as I can see with a condo you would be paying for a pool, a lovely carpeted entrance lobby, a guaranteed "better class" of neighbour, oh a "function room" if you're going to throw parties.

A guaranteed "better class" of neighbour? You gotta be kidding. :lol: Most of the Condo owner in Singapore are former HDB dwellers who have, due to various property booms over the years, mananged to purchase a condo in the hopes that it would raise them up a social class in doing so. But they still play their piano's badly at all hours, hang their dripping clothes over the balcony railings and snort & spit everywhere. Oh, they still pee in the pool just like they did in the public pools as well.


A few years ago, we had a great family barbecue at the function room of one of my cousin's condo - it's basicaly an A/C room with use of a big barbecue. However, for me, if I did want to throw a big party, I'd just talk nicely to someone I'm related too! :wink:

I'd rather spend the extra cash I'd end up spending on a condo with a pool on lovely Javanese massages or exercise classes.

That's the way. Use the money for something that will give you memories, not for a place to park your head when you sleep. :wink:


Lots of the newer HDB flats are on a par with condos as well but it's harder to find one of those for rental as they would need to be 5 years old before they can be rented out. The first five years of ownership MUST be owner occupied. (They cannot just be bought for investment purposes like a condo can.)
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 Addadude » Fri, 15 May 2009 10:23 am

Lori, I just plucked the East Coast out of my head as I happened to come across an online ad for a 2-bedroom apartment at Bayshore Park for $2,300 per month - which means you could probably get it for $2k.

Having lived at Bayshore Park myself I know that these 2-bedroom apartments are around 956 sq ft (although some of the rooms do have an odd shape) which could hardly be described as a shoebox.

The shoe comparison is something only a woman could make! (I tend to think in terms of how many beers I'll have to sacrifice...)

Tammy, I think you are starting to panic yourself unnecessarily. While the 'net is useful, sometimes there is just too much information available to really comprehend - and you'll often get conflicting advice.

Come over here first and take a couple of weeks to get some idea of what we are all talking about. Trust me, you simply won't get an accurate picture in your head from reading everything here. East Coast. West Coast. Queenstown. HDB flats. condos... You need to actually be here to see these things and places in their proper context.

There is no need to alarm yoursef any further. Singapore is a VERY liveable place no matter where you stay. I promise you - it won't nearly be as complicated or difficult as you think! They don't call Singapore "Asia For Beginners" for nothing...
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 15 May 2009 11:55 am

Ain't it the truth! :cool:
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 » Fri, 15 May 2009 1:53 pm

Oh, they still pee in the pool just like they did in the public pools as well.
Eeeekkkwwwwww aaaaarrgghhh Thank you soooo much for that SMS!! Did you know that I NEVER go swimming in the UK because of that, and because a friend got some sort of skin complaint from something nasty in a public pool!???!

Other than the occasional surf trip to North Devon, I've been swimming in singapore - at the Airforce Club or whatever it's called (my cousin did his national service in the SAF), at a couple of condo pools and in a couple of hotel pools! Now ........ with that thought sown into my tiny little brain NEVER again!!

I've just heard that my cousin's flat is still available - she thinks I'll hate it because it's 64 sq metres (690 sq ft) which I'm afraid doesn't mean much to me! We're going to see it next week!
Tammy, I think you are starting to panic yourself unnecessarily
Yes probably, but i'm freaking and panicking too and I KNOW the country!! It's the systems and stuff - yes I know a lot of it is very much like the UK, but even still ..........

Seriously though, Tammy, even with SMS's horror stories, living in singapore may be expensive but it is fairly civilised!

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Post by Myrona » Fri, 15 May 2009 2:00 pm

With all this talk about condos and government housing, I thought I'd ask a relevant, yet not, question: what are the fees required before moving in? In HK it's two months deposit, one month up-front and an agents fee (which is usually equal to one months rent split between tenant and owner) - so essentially before moving in we paid 3.5 months rent beforehand - is it the same in Singapore?

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Post by LoriW » Fri, 15 May 2009 3:48 pm

Oooooh exciting ........ just spoke to my cousin. The flat's available mid july-ish - depending on when their new condo has been built.

Apparently it's tiny but with a long galley kitchen with new units. They're leaving it furnished :)

She has just said that the normal up front payment is the previous month's rent, a month's deposit and a month's rent in advance - so 3 months essentially.

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Post by Addadude » Fri, 15 May 2009 4:09 pm

Lori, if you care to google around, you'll be able to find photos of typical 3-room HDB flats.
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Post by LoriW » Fri, 15 May 2009 5:31 pm

I'm going to have a look at this flat next week anyway.

The only HDB flats I've actually been in have been quite big and spacious - are they called 4-room/5-room flats? They don't say bedroom/reception/ study/ dining do they? They seem count anything which isn't a bathroom or kitchen as a "room"

My cousin ahs already said that I might well fall over when I see the flat! Then again, it's only going to be me and the occasional visitors from the UK and beloved for 3 or 4 weeks a year.

Obviously, if he gets a job too then we will look for something more comfortable and bigger!

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