moving to Singapore on a budget

Discuss about where to live, renting a property, tenancy issues, property trend and property investment in Singapore.
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amer_almohssen
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moving to Singapore on a budget

Post by amer_almohssen » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 12:51 pm

Hi everyone,

I am a long time reader, first time writer, and Thank you in advance for any advice.

I am moving to Singapore with my wife, and 3 kids, 8 years, 6 years, and 20 months.

I am on a tight budget, as I will be working as resident doctor at the National University hospital. So every dollar has to count.

I would like to find a place to rent with in 20-40 min walk to the hospital, and I know that area 21,10, & 11 should be the place to search, but I am not sure where to start my search, as I am looking at spending 1800-2300 S$ per month, and I am planing that the kids would go to a public school.

I hope you can help me with the following:

1- do you think that my monthly rent budget is enough to get me a clean 3-bedroom apartment ?

2- in terms of monthly bills, does it make a difference if I find a place with central AC, Vs. a window AC ? is it common to have the monthly water, and electricity bills included in the rent?

3-if we can not find a place with in walking distance from the hospital, where would you guys recommend that we search?

4-while we are searching for an apartment, where would be a good place to stay? I was thinking of trying to find a hotel, as I was not able to find something like an extended stay America, or a reasonably priced Serviced Apartment

5-how much is the usual Agent fee? is there a way to find a place fast and still avoid paying an agent?

many thanks for all your time, and efforts

Singapore Property Search

 

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zzm9980
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Post by zzm9980 » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 1:41 pm

1) No. You might get lucky, but i'd plan at least 2500-3000 to rent an HDB. You might find one cheaper though. What you want to search for is "Four Room or Five Room" HDB. Despite the names, both of those are 3 bedroom. Five room just has a much larger "living area".

2) Almost all AC in Singapore (and most of Asia that I've seen) are outdoor condensers with "head" units in specific rooms. Not quite window units, but not quite central air. Your water+power (same bill) will most likely not be included in rent.

3) Use google maps or gothere.sg to plot out a route via bus or MRT from various locations to the hospital.

4) Service Apartment. No recommendations, but I've seen them from $3000-10000+ per month. I'm sure they go higher too.

5) The agent fee is negotiable, but is commonly half of a month's rent per year of the lease, plus GST. So a $3000/month 2-yr lease will be $3210. It isn't hard to find units without involving an agent if you search various online sites. However, it is easy to get scammed, and be familiar with the paperwork you'll be required to complete. A common scam is for someone to try to rent you a unit they don't own or have permission to rent. Google around for ways to protect yourself from that.

Also, in addition to the agent's fee, there is a stamp duty you need to pay. I don't recall the rates, but it isn't much.

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zzm9980
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Post by zzm9980 » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 1:44 pm

Oh, and I just realized you said D10,11 and 21. Everywhere in Singapore is expensive, but 10 and 11 especially even more so. You should strongly consider expanding your search area.

amer_almohssen
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Post by amer_almohssen » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 4:06 pm

Many thanks for the advice zzm9980,

it seems I still have a lot of reading to do.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 4:33 pm

Some 5 room HDB flats are 4 BRs as well. I know. I've got one. Others are 3 BR with a Den/Study (or small bedroom). Both obviously cut down on the "living area"
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 Miss Swan » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 9:18 pm

Hi amer_almohssen, hope this post didn't come too late! It seems like your budget of $1800-2300 is really on the low end, as shared by the other members here.

If you're going on a budget then yes a government-owned flat would be your best bet. Set aside a budget of $3500 (tops) and that should be fine. It'd be challenging to find a flat for 3 grand, but it's possible.

What other kinds of amenities are you looking at, besides being close to NUH?

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zzm9980
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Post by zzm9980 » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 9:36 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Some 5 room HDB flats are 4 BRs as well. I know. I've got one. Others are 3 BR with a Den/Study (or small bedroom). Both obviously cut down on the "living area"
Good point. And on the other side, some "3 Rooms" claim to be 3 bedroom. Note that the third "bedroom" is a tiny room off the kitchen that most people call the utility room. I keep my empty luggage, a few boxes, and a mountain bike in mine. Not much else will fit :P

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Post by JR8 » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 10:41 pm

It would be interesting to know who edited Miss Swan's post, and deleted my one subsequent to that.

Or is it summary moderation now, a la Angry Board?

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Post by amer_almohssen » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 3:52 am

I hear you guys.
I spoke to another doctor, who rented a 2 bedroom apartment, and ended up not being able to fit a single mattress in the 2nd "Bedroom"!

Miss Swan, Many Thanks for your kind offer to help, I wish I could send you a PM, but I do not have enough posts to send a PM yet.
regarding amenities we are looking for something that is
1- an area around 900 sq ft
2- washer and dryer would be a great plus
3- 2 bathrooms is a must especially for the wife
4- a public school, and daycare near by the home


Many thanks again to all of your great advice, and kindness


amer

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 6:49 am

It twernt me JR8, but based on the OP's reply, it would appear that our frield Miss Swann is now trying to play realtor as well as her other guises over the years. Your post? I dunno. I didn't see either.
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 JR8 » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 7:03 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:It twernt me JR8, but based on the OP's reply, it would appear that our frield Miss Swann is now trying to play realtor as well as her other guises over the years. Your post? I dunno. I didn't see either.
I'm not suggesting it was you SMS, rather I'm hinting that the Mods/Admins show a little more clarity, or graciousness if you like :)

Miss Swan originally ended off roughly...

'What other kinds of amenities are you looking at, besides being close to NUH?'.... [deleted] 'I have some friends that live down in that area so if you like PM me and I can ask them if there are any free units available in the vicinity' [deleted]

This is why you will see the OP thanking her for her direct offer of help, despite that offer no longer existing.


Noticing Miss Swan's rather over-zealous offer to help I posted the usual kind of throw-away but sometimes perspicacious JR8 remark 'Are your friends agents?', which was later deleted.


If Miss Swan's reply had have been visibly sanitised by a Mod I think that would have done. I would then understand why my post got taken out too - logical cleaning up and fair dos. For it all to be unspoken and behind the scenes just doesn't feel quite right. This comes on the back of another episode of this kind a modding a few weeks ago...

This isn't a whinge, more a constructive recap for those who missed what happened..

Onwards ho...

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Post by nutnut » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 9:11 am

Everyone has friends who are agents though, I have at least 3 friends who are agents (or should that be agents who bother me on What's App and SMS all the time!)

:)
nutnut

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zzm9980
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Post by zzm9980 » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 9:19 am

amer_almohssen wrote: 1- an area around 900 sq ft
2- washer and dryer would be a great plus
3- 2 bathrooms is a must especially for the wife
4- a public school, and daycare near by the home
1) My 3-room HDB is just under 800sq/ft, to give you an idea on size. What you'll probably want to search for are 4-room HDBs, as this should include three "proper" bedrooms.

2) It's pretty normal in Singapore to have two dryers! You'll get your standard washer/dryer combo unit (spin dry, not heat dry, pretty worthless) and you get your standard Asian dryer:
http://i.imgur.com/N2Fr5.jpg
(Note: Effectiveness reduced during rain)

3) From what I've seen, maybe half the units will have two bathrooms. Just depends on the complex. Note that a most of the units will have bathrooms off the kitchen, and sometimes that "bathroom" doesn't even have a sink in it. The sink will be outside in the kitchen.

4) you'll have both, but you may not be able to use the public school closest to you as a foreigner. Go read up in the parenting/school section for details on how this works.

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nearby school

Post by PhoenixT » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 9:19 am

Just wanted to make sure that you're aware that just because there may be a nearby local school to the housing you find, it doesn't mean that your children will be placed there.

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Post by the lynx » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 9:20 am

You should look into district 13 instead. It won't hurt your budget too much and it is the so-called 'school' district with about 2 primary schools, 3 high schools, few local kindergartens and few polytechnic schools and NUS/NUH is right behind across the highway (AYE). You can Google the map and take a look.

Since you are looking into HDBs, the likelihood of you getting one with washer AND dryer without busting your budget is unlikely. You should consider air-drying the way locals do.

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