Obvious things for househunting in Singapore?

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Andaman
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Post by Andaman » Tue, 20 Dec 2011 3:05 am

JR8 wrote:South facing can get extremely hot during the day, and the heat just carries over into a generally hot unit.
South facing? Was that a typo? You meant to write west-facing, right?

Singapore is basically right on the equator. For six months a year (March through September), you will not get any direct sunshine at all through windows facing south. In the middle of the southern hemisphere summer (i.e., right about now in December), you will get some mid-day sunshine falling onto your floor through south-facing windows, but that is usually not a big deal.

What you really want to avoid in Singapore is a unit facing west. Those can get scorching hot during the afternoon, when the sun blasts straight onto and into your unit. You will have to either close all your blinds during the day or keep the aircon running on high to keep the temperature under control.

Be aware that a common trick by agents and landlords trying to rent out west-facing units is to show them during the morning or evening (or, alternatively, the agent will arrive half an hour early and crank up the aircon to max, to cool down the unit before you show up). So, if you are interested in a particular unit, try to view it at least once during a sunny afternoon, and don't allow the agent to turn on the aircon beforehand, to truly get an idea of how hot the unit can get.

I have lived in a number of Singapore condo units and HDBs over the years. The coolest one I ever lived in, temperature-wise, was a 15th-floor condo unit that faced North-South (i.e., no windows or external walls to either the east or west). That unit received plenty of light through the many windows to the North and South, but very little direct sunshine into the unit. Also, the unit was extremely breezy due to the north-south orientation; both the northeast and southwest monsoon winds would sweep straight through the unit if you simply opened a window on each side of the unit. That has been the only Singapore housing that I have had where I could comfortably leave the aircon turned off for weeks at a time.

So, my recommendation is to look for a south-facing or north-facing unit. Avoid west-facing at almost all cost, and similarly avoid east-facing units unless you are not concerned about bright light in the early morning.

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sanjivvohra
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Post by sanjivvohra » Tue, 20 Dec 2011 7:37 pm

villagewife wrote:Thank you for all your replies - lots of things I never would have thought about (like the basketball court issue)!

As people have brought up the issue of agents, can I ask how quickly the market normally moves? In other words, how quickly do you need to offer on the place that you are interested in? Our relocation people (who we are having some doubts about) keep harping on about how fast things move, but I am not sure if that isn't a ploy to get us to sign on the dotted line as fast as possible to ensure the money in their pockets. Thoughts welcome! :D
Its important to know what sort of a lifestyle you are interested in. Life in the East Coast is more relaxed, specially near the East Coast Park and the houses tend to be bigger and more cost effective.

We didnt pay any commission to our realtor (he was paid by the landlord) since we are renting at >3000S$ per month. That seems to be the norm so dont fall for any selling otherwise!

No need to hurry, but if you like something after viewing, go for it. There's no such thing as a perfect flat/house!
Sanjiv

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BillyB
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Post by BillyB » Tue, 20 Dec 2011 9:16 pm

sanjivvohra wrote:
villagewife wrote:Thank you for all your replies - lots of things I never would have thought about (like the basketball court issue)!

As people have brought up the issue of agents, can I ask how quickly the market normally moves? In other words, how quickly do you need to offer on the place that you are interested in? Our relocation people (who we are having some doubts about) keep harping on about how fast things move, but I am not sure if that isn't a ploy to get us to sign on the dotted line as fast as possible to ensure the money in their pockets. Thoughts welcome! :D
Its important to know what sort of a lifestyle you are interested in. Life in the East Coast is more relaxed, specially near the East Coast Park and the houses tend to be bigger and more cost effective.

We didnt pay any commission to our realtor (he was paid by the landlord) since we are renting at >3000S$ per month. That seems to be the norm so dont fall for any selling otherwise!

No need to hurry, but if you like something after viewing, go for it. There's no such thing as a perfect flat/house!
That statement isn't strictly true. If you take a two year rental, you shouldn't pay any commission full stop, but it also can hold true for 1 year rentals. The rental price has absolutely nothing to do with whether you pay a commission or not.

It's dependent on the agent / agents collaborating together, your negotiating skills, length of tenancy, and greed of the parties involved.

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JR8
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Post by JR8 » Tue, 20 Dec 2011 9:21 pm

Andaman wrote: South facing? Was that a typo? You meant to write west-facing, right?
Fair enough and hands up, it looks like I'm conflating living experience of SG together with specific architectural knowledge from Europe.

From what you say it would make perfect sense that a west facing unit is going to be the hottest.

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sanjivvohra
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Post by sanjivvohra » Wed, 21 Dec 2011 9:47 pm

BillyB wrote: That statement isn't strictly true. If you take a two year rental, you shouldn't pay any commission full stop, but it also can hold true for 1 year rentals. The rental price has absolutely nothing to do with whether you pay a commission or not.

It's dependent on the agent / agents collaborating together, your negotiating skills, length of tenancy, and greed of the parties involved.
You are probably right but we were informed by the relocating agency that this is the norm (>S$3000 rent = no commission) but then we had asked them to recommend a 2 year lease upfront anyway. Best is to clarify the commercials upfront with the agent.
Sanjiv

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Post by curiousgeorge » Thu, 22 Dec 2011 7:24 am

Well I will throw in my 2p, also a an expat Brit living here...

Hot Water. You might want to specify that the kitchen has hot water. Lots of places including new builds simply don't have any kind of hot water heating system in the kitchen. In my first place I got used to it, but have it again in my second place and prefer it this way :D

Also balconies. Lots of people arriving from temperate climes have this notion that moving to the topics they will spend the evenings sitting on the balcony sipping Pimms. I made that mistake on my first place, where a large part of the rent was for a roof terrace, which I think I used to entertain only a handful of times in two years. My current place doesnt have a balcony at all, and I don't miss it. YMMV.

And neighbours...view at a time when Neighbours will be home. The sound of chairs scraping across a floor above, or children in genral can drive you nuts if the floors/walls are thin. Check the lobby on the floors above/below and the assemblage of shoes/pushchairs etc outside the apartment doors will give you a clue as to who lives thru the keyhole.

And be aware that if you are near a main road, it does not matter how high you are, with the windows open you WILL hear the traffic. Especially those souped-up little motorbikes with loud exhausts, who all seem to go to work an hour before your alarm goes off.

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Post by uscate » Thu, 29 Dec 2011 10:05 am

This forum is awesome for a new person like me....we're looking at an August move, so this is all GREAT info!!

THANK YOU!!!!

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Housing

Post by logo1234 » Wed, 18 Jan 2012 12:05 am

Let me share my 02 bits.
WHile you may have an agent, do you own search. Always helps.
In our case, we ended up recommending leads to our agent who would then if those were available (should have been the other way around)
Dont take properties at face value. Do a thorough check.
Be aware of last minute cancellations. Thought we had closed on a house when 24 hours before moving the land-lord changed his mind and rented to someone else. Apparently because the offer was 5% better (we would have matched it). So if you like a place, make sure you close early with a letter and deposit.
Make sure you read the contract and include specific clauses which you want. We included clauses which allow for moderate drilling for hanging paintings and stuff.
You will have the 1st month to observe and report issues. Use this time to check on everything. We realised that there was water seeping out of the wooden floor and then led us to discover that there was water trapped in our walls which was seeping out (6 feet deep). this for a new house which was recently renovated and with a new flooring.....always keep a watch out. When you see issues, take a snap and highlight to the agent and the land-lord
Be prepared that there will be issues which will come up. I thought that SG houses would be hassle free (or less hassles)....I have never had so many issues in any house as I have had here....maybe bad luck of the draw
All the best
R

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Post by Sir » Fri, 27 Jan 2012 11:36 pm

loads of great replies, one thing i can think of

higher floors often have good ventilation especially HDBS as the flat spans the whole building.

find an high enough floor and you might not even need aircon if the wind is right.

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