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Keys to your dream home | © mastersenaiper/Pixabay
Keys to your dream home | © mastersenaiper/Pixabay
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The Ultimate Renter's Guide to Singapore

Picture of Sadali Mawi
Updated: 18 September 2017

If you’re a digital nomad or an expat looking for the perfect apartment in Singapore to call home, look no further. In our guide below, we’ve rounded up the best tips for you to land your dream enclave in no time.

Determine Your Needs and Budget

Before you do any research, it is best to think about what your needs are and what your budget is like. Will you be living alone or relocating with your family? Do you want to stay in the heart of the city, or away from the hustle and bustle? Most importantly, what is your realistic budget?

Apartment-styled homes or condominiums are popular with expats in Singapore, while landed properties are also in abundance if you are looking for a bigger space and a nice front yard. Be sure to think long and hard about this before proceeding.

An SMRT train passes by a row of houses | © alantankenghoe /Flickr

Choosing The Right Location

Numerous studies have ranked Singapore as one of the most expensive cities to live in the world. Despite its high rental costs, Singapore remains as one of the most well-connected cities in the world, which also means that transportation is hassle-free and you can find a speedy Wi-Fi hotspot pretty much anywhere.

That said, if you are looking for a property that is closer to the CBD (Central Business District), expect to pay a higher price tag. Districts like River Valley, Marina Bay and Orchard offer unrivaled accessibility to the city, which means getting to the office is that much quicker.

Less expensive apartments are also available in suburban areas like Jurong, Tiong Bahru, Bedok and Payar Lebar. These areas are great for families as they are close to neighborhood schools, clinics, grocery stores and malls.

However, if you are looking to reside in a neighbourhood with a rustic charm, relive Singapore’s heritage in refurbished shophouses along Joo Chiat, Killiney and Farrer Park. As these units are usually conservation houses, do expect to pay a premium, but if it fits within your budget, it is worth it.

Shophouses near Joo Chiat Road | © Su–May/Flickr

Start Searching!

Searching for properties in Singapore is quite a straightforward process as the majority of information is available on the internet. We recommend using websites like Property Guru or 99.c0, a Singaporean startup that has helped many homeowners search and filter various properties according to their budget and preferred district.

Pictures speak a thousand words, but photographs can also be fake. If a listing has beautiful images of the property yet has a suspiciously low price tag, you ought to be concerned. The best way to determine a listing’s legitimacy is to compare the property on several websites and notice how it varies.

Once you’ve contacted a seller, it is then time to view your property and start your negotiations to ensure you are getting the best deal.

Viewing and Negotiating

When viewing your property for the first time, be mindful about your initial requirements and ask as many questions as possible. Is the grocery store nearby? Is public transport within close proximity? Where’s the nearest clinic? Are pets allowed? The aim is to make the most informed decision you can.

Do inspect the property thoroughly too for leakages, uneven flooring or any other physical faults with the space. If your realtor is honest he/she might have notified you of these issues during the viewing. Also, it doesn’t hurt to know the history of the space. Properties usually cost much less if an unfortunate incident has happened in an apartment before (best to avoid any bad juju).

Once you’ve narrowed down your dream property, it’s time to negotiate! Ensure that everything is in black and white, and be thorough to ensure that no cracks and loopholes are detected.

Couple viewing their home | © iPrice Group/Pexels

Settling In

Congratulations! The key to your dream home is now in your hands, which means it is time to settle in. Start by looking through options for furnishing. Breathe life into your space with modern furniture and funky home accessories from retailers like Crate & Barrel and FortyTwo. If a vintage style suits you better, be sure to check out Second Charm or Hock Siong & Co. for unique, refurbished pieces that will make you the envy of your friends.

Get acquainted with your neighborhood by hopping on one of the many bike sharing apps available, or simply take a stroll to the nearest park or shopping mall and learn the many ins and outs of your area.

All the best!