is $8200 enough for housing????

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sonrisa
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is $8200 enough for housing????

Post by sonrisa » Thu, 30 Dec 2010 12:37 pm

Help, we are moving to Singapore in July and I've got a million questions I hope you can help with.
1) We have an $8200 a month housing allowance. I thought that would be plenty(we looked at housing when we visited last year and it seemed everything we looked at was about $7000) but when I looked in the area of the Woodlands for a detached or semi house it seemed like most of them were much more than that. Will we find a place for 2 kids and a dog in the Woodlands that is well within our price point? I just didn't see anything.

2) What do we ship over and what do we leave behind? Employer will pay for a 20 cubic feet (I think thats the right size) box. Do people bring furniture with them or buy it there? Do we need anything other than warm weather clothes?? (sweaters, long pants, coats)

3) How is the Singapore American School?? I have 2 kids that are both advanced for their grade here in the States but I read a couple of reviews of SAS and some were very favorable and some seemed a little iffy. I want them to go somewhere that they will be very challenged academically. Thanks a bunch for your help. I will be back with a billion more questions, including ones about the snakes and bugs!!

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Post by ksl » Thu, 30 Dec 2010 4:34 pm

I sure hope you are not telling agents your budget!

Try around Paya Leba Crescent and Jalan Lokam/Tai Keng Gardens nice quite area plenty of houses can find for 4/6K Though agents will bump the price if they know your budget. 10 minutes from City by Car KPE and 20/25 minutes MRT. Second largest 24 hr shopping in Fairprice. The mall opened a month ago in Serangoon central still very busy until the novelty wears off. 70/80 thousand shoppers a day when first opened, down to about 50k now.

We have factory at Woodlands, a little far out 30 minutes in busy traffic from Paya Leba, not much going on out there and the housing should be cheaper, so I guess they maybe showing you brand new units at the price you quote.
I have 2 kids that are both advanced for their grade here in the States
You can bet your life they will be challenged in Singapore in maths, language, and science, most students in the Country are getting extra tuition and are under pressure 24/7


You can use google earth to look at the locations, I mentioned.
Last edited by ksl on Thu, 30 Dec 2010 5:09 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by franky-MS » Thu, 30 Dec 2010 4:38 pm

hello sonrisa,
1.)
i had some different experiences when recently coming over with a similar budget. Most important is: take a big reserve on what you see in the net advertisements. usually the pictures are from brand- new houses and the real life might be different. I found a property close to the german International School, semi detached houses called "Binjaj Crest".
Also here: different pics than reality.
take care with the real- estate agencies: usually they do not listen to you, but show you anyway THEIR portfolio...
Tried a dozen before
I found a young agent who did a lot in front of the contract and even still after helped to get internet connection, cell phone, TV, furniture.
very seldom here!

2.) we came from eastern Europe and all our jackets and long sleeves stay in the wardrobe. What is quite bad, because the humidity is so high here. Do not take a lot, but check your sizes :-) you might be challenged to find your size here if not asian shaped :D

3.) just heard about the canadian, so no comment :-)

good luck!

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Re: is $8200 enough for housing????

Post by Mary Hatch Bailey » Mon, 03 Jan 2011 7:43 am

sonrisa wrote:Help, we are moving to Singapore in July and I've got a million questions I hope you can help with.
1) We have an $8200 a month housing allowance. I thought that would be plenty(we looked at housing when we visited last year and it seemed everything we looked at was about $7000) but when I looked in the area of the Woodlands for a detached or semi house it seemed like most of them were much more than that. Will we find a place for 2 kids and a dog in the Woodlands that is well within our price point? I just didn't see anything.

2) What do we ship over and what do we leave behind? Employer will pay for a 20 cubic feet (I think thats the right size) box. Do people bring furniture with them or buy it there? Do we need anything other than warm weather clothes?? (sweaters, long pants, coats)

3) How is the Singapore American School?? I have 2 kids that are both advanced for their grade here in the States but I read a couple of reviews of SAS and some were very favorable and some seemed a little iffy. I want them to go somewhere that they will be very challenged academically. Thanks a bunch for your help. I will be back with a billion more questions, including ones about the snakes and bugs!!
Hi sonrisa ~

Welcome to the Board. Well, you do have a lot of questions, and I can probably help you with some. Since you are American or coming from America I can answer from that perspective.

Your budget is fine, not too high - not too low. If your kids end up at SAS, it's not enough for a house in the Woodlands, but you should still be able to get into a townhouse or Semi-D in the neighborhood immediately surrounding the school. I would not look farther afield in the North of Singapore if SAS is your choice of school, since they will be surrounded by playmates if you stick to the Woodlands (Woodlands in this context is not the broader, bigger definition used by Singaporeans and non-Americans, it is the neighborhood adjacent to the school built to house SAS families ~ Woodgrove, Pinewood, Beechwood, etc...).

I have friends scattered all over Singapore, but they have been here 10 or more years, when you first move here, I think it's better to move into an established expat community if at all possible, makes the transition much easier for your kids (and you). Not all will agree with me, that's just my take on it. Your kids can go to SAS and you can live in the Woodlands and still immerse yourself in as much Singapore culture as you wish. don't let anyone tell you differently.

A 20ft container is plenty for most families, 40ft is common as well. Ship everything the kids and you will need to make this feel like home and just bring a handful of wintery clothes for travel - think layers. I wouldn't bring anything that plugs in, I'd replace it when I got here. Beds are a different size here, so bringing your own mattresses and linens is advised. If you have big leather furniture ~ sofas, etc... I'd leave them behind. Mold loves leather. I would stock up on all summer clothes in May/June so you have plenty when you move here. There is no Target, Kohl's, etc.. and the Gap here costs a bomb. Clothes in Singapore tend to be extremely cheap or wildly expensive, same for shoes.

There are lots of great antiques and reproductions to buy here and in the region, so I think most people will tell you that they have collected some interesting pieces while living here. Our original employer moved us with nothing and we had to furnish our whole lives when we got here. A daunting task.

The American School... Maybe it's best you PM me. I have lots of experience there, may be too much at this point. I guess I would caution you from thinking it's all Americans, and shuns the International experience. This is a common, pervasive misconception. SAS takes advantage of it's geography and definitely provides kids with a rich international experience. The student body is extremely diverse; your children will have friends from all over the world. If I had to sum it up, I'd say for an American family, it's still your best bet. I do however, have huge issues with some aspects of the school which we can discuss less publicly if you wish. There are many gifted children at SAS, different divisions/teachers handle it better than others.

You know your dog will have to go through quarantine :( I've done it a few times and it is a long month, but if you are moving into a new place and getting settled, then it's not too terrible to have your dog somewhere else while you figure it all out. You can visit them almost everyday. It's a heartbreak, but it's part of what we signed up for as pet owners. I would load up on toys, a bed etc... for your dog as well as good quality pet supplies are pricey here.

This site and others have search engines that allow you to look at real estate currently available. Many brokers mislead either with price or square footage, so take everything you see with a grain of salt. Internet browsing can help you get a general sense of things though.

Good luck with everything~ at least you have some lead time and you've been here on a look-see, that helps a lot and is a luxury in this day and age. Singapore is a wonderful place for families and kids. It's not all perfect and it's not the US (despite the huge influx of US franchises lately), but it's great in it's own right if you work at it.

MHB

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 03 Jan 2011 10:00 am

^^^
+1

Oh, MHB, before I forget it, I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas & and a Happy New Year!
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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relocating

Post by sonrisa » Mon, 03 Jan 2011 1:44 pm

Thanks everyone for your insight.
MHB, I'd love to hear more from you regarding SAS and if that will be the right place for my kids to attend. I do understand that it is not a school filled with "American" kids but it is a diverse school run by "American" rules etc..I would love to hear more about it. Thank you for all the info regarding what to bring and where to live etc...I have read some horror stories regarding places to live (bug infestations-mainly, which I am certain will put me over the edge, I'm sure I can deal with ANYTHING but that). Please tell me the bugs will not invade our lives!! When we visited we did not see a single bug but now I've read some crazy things!! As far as the dog goes, it is my understanding that if we can get things in order at this end he will only need to do a 10 day quar. rather than 30. I hope that is the case. He will break my heart to visit him in quar. and not take him home but I am actually more nervous about the flight over. He is old and that is such a loooonngggg flight for him. Thanks for any info. and I'm not sure how to get in touch with you on a less public forum for more info.

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can't pm

Post by sonrisa » Mon, 03 Jan 2011 1:50 pm

PS, mhb, I found the pm button so I tried to pm you but I don't have enough posts so maybe if you pm I can respond to you. Not sure.

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Re: can't pm

Post by singaporeflyer » Mon, 03 Jan 2011 2:17 pm

sonrisa wrote:PS, mhb, I found the pm button so I tried to pm you but I don't have enough posts so maybe if you pm I can respond to you. Not sure.
You can PM once you make 5 posts.

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pm

Post by sonrisa » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 12:38 am

Thanks for the pm info.

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one more

Post by sonrisa » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 12:42 am

And this should be 5. Now I'll try to pm. thanks And, what do you all think? I seem to be getting mixed messages on bringing furniture. I think we will leave most behind and buy there the only thing I'm wondering about are our beds/mattresses??? Should we bring them or leave them? Someone said bring the mattresses but it sounds like mattresses there are different sizes so I'm thinking if we just bring the mattresses from the US how will we find beds in Singapore that fit our US sized mattresses???

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 12:49 am

That is a valid point. Although there are Picket & Rail stores here and I believe they may carry US sized beds, etc. But the other problem you have to be aware of it a lot of newer condo's bedrooms will not hold a US sized bed due to the added length (well, it will, but you will need to go sideways around the bed). So, when viewing places, ensure that the beddrooms as the needed length & width (especially if you use a king or calif king sized bed.)
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 x9200 » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 8:36 am

The furniture: if you like teakwood, mangowood, rattan, abaca furniture or would like to have it some SE style including Chinese antics and "antics", Zen-like etc. and are willing to spend some money then probably do not bring anything - there is a lot of really good stuff here.

We bought some teak and abaca furniture from these two:
http://www.unicane.com/bedroom.asp
http://www.scanteak.com.sg/

and I can recommend them but there are many many more selling nice things and perhaps to get a flavour just do this:

http://www.google.com.sg/images?q=teak+ ... =countrySG
http://www.google.com.sg/images?q=antic ... =countrySG
...

The only more serious drawback here is that some of the stuff is not stocked locally or simply is made on request and it may take some time (1-3 months) to get it delivered.

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furniture

Post by sonrisa » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 12:17 pm

Thanks so much for the heads up on the bed and room sizes. We will keep that in mind. My husband is 6foot so I'm sure he will want to be sure he can get a bed where his feet don't hang off!
I looove the idea of buying some new furniture over there that is unique to that area (teak wood, mango etc...) We've never spent any "money" on furniture so it would be fun but then again we are very frugal and I can't picture us spending too much in particular because we don't know how long we will be there and if we will want to bring it back with us. Because there are so many expats coming and going is there a large second-hand market?? Is there a concern if you buy second hand that it is infested with bugs (yes, I'm paranoid)?
Are those sites you posted actual brick and mortar stores or just websites?

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Post by Mary Hatch Bailey » Tue, 04 Jan 2011 12:22 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:^^^
+1

Oh, MHB, before I forget it, I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas & and a Happy New Year!
Indeed, we did. First one here in Singapore! Missing my blast of cold weather though.

Regarding what to bring and what not to bring:
And this should be 5. Now I'll try to pm. thanks And, what do you all think? I seem to be getting mixed messages on bringing furniture. I think we will leave most behind and buy there the only thing I'm wondering about are our beds/mattresses??? Should we bring them or leave them? Someone said bring the mattresses but it sounds like mattresses there are different sizes so I'm thinking if we just bring the mattresses from the US how will we find beds in Singapore that fit our US sized mattresses???
You can have custom furniture made in Singapore or Thailand or Malaysia, which is what you'd need to do outside a very few outlets offering furniture in US sizes (and then believe me, it isn't always right and it is always either poorer quality or much more expensive than in the US). If you have a 20ft container provided, I would bring the contents of your home except for appliances, or anything else that plugs in, leather furniture and most of your winter wardrobe.

Another point to ponder ~ what are you going to do with everything you buy here? We will soon be liquidating 16 years worth of furniture and collectibles after starting here from scratch. I keep wondering how on earth I'm going to sort all this stuff out. I can tell you the secondhand furniture/appliance market here is terrible, and it is very stressful to have to deal with it all when planning an overseas move.

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