Where to stay that is near "everything" ?

Discuss about where to live, renting a property, tenancy issues, property trend and property investment in Singapore.
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jgarnett
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Where to stay that is near "everything" ?

Post by jgarnett » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 10:15 am

Hi,
My first post so be gentle :D.

Initial info :

a) I have never been to Singapore but a potential work opportunity is brewing so I am coming first week of November to have a look.
b) I am a 6 year ( Cambodia based ) expat already so I am more than au fait with heat, humidity and all the pros and cons of expat life in Asia
c ) I have spent weeks googling so I have a good idea of rents and areas ( i think !? ).
d) Job I might come for is professional one paying I guess what you'd call higher upper end of the scale.

So i have some questions that I cant really answer from Google or trawling the forums and I hope you might help me :

1) I understand from what I have read that if one intends to go down the local school route that one should wait until you know where the school you are allocated is before renting so you are not miles away. Makes sense. We have a 4 year old and a one year old so 4 year old ( 5 next October ) will need to go to a pre-school which I believe I can choose myself so maybe we can rent wherever we want for a year before she has to go to primary school at 6. So first question is where is a nice place to live with the following stipulations;

- Budget to $6000 but id rather spend $4000. Prefer a terrace house or something with even a small yard as we "might" bring your German Shepherd. I do not have or really want to live in an exclusively white ghetto as I like living amongst locals and have been doing it here in Cambodia for years. If we don't bring the dog and we live in a condo ( i have never done this before - always houses ! ) I would prefer something in a low rise development as I cant get my head around living on the 20th story !!
- Must be close ( easy walk ) to a good fresh food market so my wife can shop ( she does not drive and I am unsure whether we will get a car as it seems a waste of money and the name of the game is saving money )and a hawker market I think you call them for cheap eats for our family when we want
- Near to transport ( easy walk ) such as bus or better still the MRT. I would be working in Raffles Plaza downtown and I don't mind if the commute takes me 30 mins ++ or if i have to walk to a bus, then train etc. More important my family have everything close.
- Near to green space ( easy walk ) for leisure. We have NO green space here in Phnom Penh so this idea is very novel to me. I would like to be able to mountain bike , walk the dog if she comes, walk with my kids FISH ! ?, picnic easily etc. From googling I like the Bishan,Upper Thompson area near the big MacRitchie reservoir and then also I really like the look of the East Coast as far up as Changi ( but then I have never been there so have no ide3a what realities of getting downtown are ? ).
- Going back to my schooling .....Ill put this last but if anyone HA HA HA could recommend somewhere that meets all the above AND knows where there is a reasonable local school that doesn't get slammed with applications that would be AHEM ideal :oops:

So really - for the above question - some recommendations on areas or even better still - if some of you live in low rise condos that are nice can you give me the names so i can Google please. I have looked extensively at propertyguro.com.sg and it seems there are lots of places in the $4-6 range .

2) Schooling issue again - how many of you have two children say 3 years apart going through local Singapore Schools together ? Or is that just insanely impossible to chance the same school ?

3) Transport : In general what are the realities of getting around as a family with two kids using PT in Singapore ? Here in Cambodia we have a car and motorscooters as there are no buses or trains at all. We go where we want where we want but sometimes the traffic is INSANE especially at peak hours. No adherence to any rules whatsoever , Phnom Penh is strange . Sometimes you can get across the city in 15 minutes another times it takes two hours. One bad accident or motorcade and BANG it stops. I love having a car as I have always had one and like bundling the family into the car for days or weekends away but I gather you don't do weekends away inside Singapore !! :lol: so how do those of you with small kids handle going out for a family day ? If you live west and want to go east tot he beaches do you just taxi it ? Do you need to have baby seats etc ? Just general comments. I would like to get a motorbike for my own occasional fun time but i have read up on that.

4) I have read alot on these forums and I sense a hint of despair at the way things are going for expatriates in Singapore. Harder to get visas, harder to get local schooling, higher rents, etc. Seems to be a bit of despondency creeping in and " the good old days are over" but then I have seen that happen here too. Ill know a bit more about the place after my visit as I have good mates there who have been there for years but after 6 years in third world Cambodia and with two little ones now....I "think" Singapore might provide the kids especially with a nicer environment for playing and learning etc. I would certainly miss the funk factor of Cambodia and the $8 cases of beer but career-wise Singapore would be a huge upward move for me and I know my Khmer wife would love a change of scenery. Comments ?

5) Someone told me that Singaporeans are very Xenophobic and in particular have a real superiority complex with other Asian races. My wife is Cambodian ( Khmer ) and his comment was that she would probably get treated very poorly . Over here in Phnom Penh there is NO racism of any kind and doors are opened by strangers at every opportunity. It is a wonderful place to live in that respect and I simply love the locals here. Comments ?

So that's it for now.....sorry for such a long post and thanks for any help you can give me .

j :P

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 10:56 am

Center your search on the East Coast Area. Look at the SMRT Schedules and pick a 30 minute ride from City Hall Station in all directions and then base your search from there, inwards. The shorter you reduce your travel time to City Hall Station the higher your rents. Start on the East coast as that most closely tallies with the area/housing/lifestyle you are aiming for. And you might be able to find a lowrise between 4~6K/mo or possibly a bungalow but that might be a wee bit higher (I'm an owner so have been out of the property market over a dozen years. Some of our regulars here live on the East Coast so can give better info than I. Saint and nutnut are two who readily come to mind.
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 jgarnett » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 11:08 am

Well that's a brilliant recommendation right there !

Went to the SMRT website, clicked Orange Line Raffles to Tanah Merah and it takes 24 minutes and under $2 !!

OK what am I missing ? Sounds like a dream to me ?

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Post by nakatago » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 11:37 am

jgarnett wrote:Well that's a brilliant recommendation right there !

Went to the SMRT website, clicked Orange Line Raffles to Tanah Merah and it takes 24 minutes and under $2 !!

OK what am I missing ? Sounds like a dream to me ?
Use Google maps or gothere.sg instead. They have transport directions and can give you travel time estimates based on traffic conditions (for buses). Also, by looking at the map, you can more-or-less tell if you have to contend with the horde in your commute. Both sites have Street View available. Just note that Singapore always has construction going on and it's been years since the last time those Street View cars roamed the streets. Better than nothing, though.

Case in point, the Circle line always seems to be crowded during the morning commute.
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by jgarnett » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 12:00 pm

Thanks very much gothere is brilliant.

Can someone tell me how overinflated ( if at all ) retnal websites are.

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Post by ecureilx » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 12:14 pm

jgarnett wrote:Thanks very much gothere is brilliant.

Can someone tell me how overinflated ( if at all ) retnal websites are.
dubdubdubd ?????????????????

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Post by nakatago » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 12:19 pm

ecureilx wrote:
jgarnett wrote:Thanks very much gothere is brilliant.

Can someone tell me how overinflated ( if at all ) retnal websites are.
dubdubdubd ?????????????????
It's dubstep, duh.

:roll:


/s
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by skipper » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 12:37 pm

jgarnett wrote:Thanks very much gothere is brilliant.

Can someone tell me how overinflated ( if at all ) retnal websites are.
I have lived in the East Coast for almost 5 years -- D16 then D15 and will finally settle in D16 (so I'm familiar with the area you're looking at). Terraced/landed houses are typically more than $5K but there's a reason why this listing is relatively cheap -- accessibility. Have used gothere many times; in this case, I don't think you can really just walk less than 400 m to the bus stop. Then again, if you can save $1K to rent a landed property, just buy or lease a car.

Regarding schools, just wanted to share that I also put my 2 kids (2 years apart) to local schools. Went through the Primary One registration exercise on the last phase (Phase 3) for the younger one and he got into a neighborhood school (not popular so there were still places). The school also accepted the elder one for Primary 3 (again, places were available). We wanted a better school but no chance as we were foreigners. Luckily my kids did well in this neighborhood school and after 3 years of applying to these "better" (or mainstream) schools, both got accepted on the 3rd try. Their still in the same school and I dare to say that it is true why most the locals shy away from neighborhood schools -- while education ministry says that the curriculum is fairly standard, the quality of teaching, pace/level and the students are better. You need patience, persistence and the realization that putting your kids in the local school system will be frustrating. Hope this helps..

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Post by ecureilx » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 12:45 pm

nakatago wrote:
ecureilx wrote:
jgarnett wrote:Thanks very much gothere is brilliant.

Can someone tell me how overinflated ( if at all ) retnal websites are.
dubdubdubd ?????????????????
It's dubstep, duh.

:roll:


/s
Oh, I thought it is dub dub dee dub dee dub dub dee dub ..



Coat, Hat, Brolly ..

jgarnett
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Post by jgarnett » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 1:13 pm

skipper wrote: I don't think you can really just walk less than 400 m to the bus stop. Then again, if you can save $1K to rent a landed property, just buy or lease a car.
Too hot ?:???:
skipper wrote: I dare to say that it is true why most the locals shy away from neighborhood schools -- while education ministry says that the curriculum is fairly standard, the quality of teaching, pace/level and the students are better. .
Locals shy away from schools that have better quality of teaching, pace/level and students ?
:???:

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Post by skipper » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 1:19 pm

jgarnett wrote:
skipper wrote: I don't think you can really just walk less than 400 m to the bus stop. Then again, if you can save $1K to rent a landed property, just buy or lease a car.
Too hot ?:???:
skipper wrote: I dare to say that it is true why most the locals shy away from neighborhood schools -- while education ministry says that the curriculum is fairly standard, the quality of teaching, pace/level and the students are better. .
Locals shy away from schools that have better quality of teaching, pace/level and students ?
:???:
Of course you know what I meant. Please read the whole paragraph and not just the last sentence. Do you want me to spell out the context for you?

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Post by jgarnett » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 2:02 pm

I seriously cannot make out what you meant .

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 2:42 pm

skipper thinks that the neighbourhood schools cannot produce top level students. Unfortunately, the locals cannot shy away from them as they are hamstrung by where they live so if they live outside the 1 km radius, then they are also subjected to balloting for the remaining places. Fortunately, most of the neighbourhood school can still produce local students who will kick most expat kids butts academically at most any given age up through A levels. I know this is going to rub some the wrong way, but the only downside is the fact that they won't really get a well rounded education, per se (but that is the same even with the "good" schools that tend to produce more elitest snobs then brilliant scholars). However, they will be very advanced in the Sciences & Maths and possibly bilingual as well if started early enough.

Both of mine when through their entire schooling in the local system with no adverse effects and are effectively trilingual as they speak English, Mandarin & singlish. The also understand Tamil but will not speak the language. It's a good leg up in today's world. My 2¢......
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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schools and proximity to MRT

Post by cw1483 » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 2:43 pm

I have only been here over a month, but I think what Skipper is trying to say is....if you get a car, it opens up the entire Singapore and you can move a little further away from MRT and thus save on rental costs.

Singapore is just a little red dot. The most expensive cab ride I did with some traffic was only $40 from literally northwest to southeast. Most rides are under $20.

Initially I looked at landed houses too, but can't find anything within my price range and walking distance to MRT (most are at least bus ride from MRT). If you have a car, you open yourself an option to rent the cheaper landed houses further away from MRT that other foriegners would not even look at.

Also, locals here look at rankings by popularity. I had coworkers tell me their child had went X school but they have been trying to get to A school so they bought a condo near that Y school. When I asked why, what was wrong with the old school, they merely said it wasn't top ranked. I just keep hearing Nanyang Primary (where the prime minister had attended). Who knows, maybe that school can transfer your child to the next prime minister.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 11 Oct 2012 2:58 pm

The locals put their kids in certain schools for not much more than bragging rights, sad to say. Face is everything.
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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