A Beginner’s Guide To Renting A Place In Singapore

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Living alone comes with many tempting features, one of which is the sense of freedom. For example, you do not have to answer to anyone when it comes to your eating and sleeping habits along with the lack of curfew. You also get to have your very own credit card! If you’re looking for the best credit card, read our article here!

But on the other hand, this also means that you have to keep yourself in check and disciplined all the time so that you do not slip into an unhealthy lifestyle, especially with your finances.

The interactions that occur when you live independently can be rewarding too, be it talking professionally with landlords and property agents, or the interactions with your new roommates and new neighbors – everything can be enticing.

If you just started a new job, started managing your finances, and are toying with the idea of having your own place; or if you are a foreigner who just moved to Singapore for their new job while seeking a long-term stay in Singapore – renting an apartment is a more profitable option than buying a home.

Before renting, here’s a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Where can I rent in Singapore?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Is it better to get a roommate or to be living alone?

Then fret not. We are here to help you with renting an apartment in Singapore. So without further ado, let’s get right to it.

What are the things to consider before renting an apartment in Singapore?

Renting your first property can be an intimidating process for a newbie, and that is why here are some helpful considerations if you are serious about going on a house hunt:

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#1. Types of accommodation available

From public housing like HBDs and private housing like studio apartments and condos, Singapore has tons of options when it comes to available accommodation. Therefore, it becomes very important that you weigh the pros and cons of each type of rental space in Singapore, and choose the one that is best suited for your needs.

HBD flats

HBD flats never disappoint when it comes to providing convenience and are usually cheaper too.

HBD flats are most likely to be located at central locations where, with centralized rubbish chutes, your household’s waste disposal is easy. The common areas are generally clean. And because of the location, you get a good blend of grocery stores, convenience stores, and eateries near you.

Private properties (condos and landed houses)

Renting a private property comes with its fair share of perks although they are much pricier. Renting a Condo can grant some really good facilities like pools, gyms, BBQ pits, and round-the-clock security. Renting a landed property would provide you with larger space.

So, if your budget allows you to pay for added comfort and security, this is a suitable option for you.

Knowing what you need before committing

Having your own priorities and preferences clear from the beginning always helps, as it enables you to separate the wheat from the chaff. For example, if you’re unsure of whether or not you will ever own pets, then you are more likely to waste more time because you will be thinking about both possibilities – with pets and without pets.

That’s why you should first iron out the details and the exact preferences and requirements that you have so that it becomes remarkably easier for you to filter out spaces that have insufficient likeability.

#2. Utilities

While renting in Singapore, you have to consider the cost of basic utilities and whether they are included in the rental price or not. You can easily secure water, gas, and electricity through a single account on Singapore Power Services if you are renting a whole unit that comes without basic utilities.

#3. Location

When moving out and renting your future home, one of the most important factors to think about is the location. It is understandable that you would want your new living space to be located near your workplace or school with easily accessible public transport and a safe environment.

If you own a car, we suggest you look into seasonal parking tickets within your next neighborhood. Also, look out for easy access to your day-to-day material needs, essential amenities, and entertainment spots like supermarkets, restaurants, convenience stores, malls, movie theaters, and so on.

#4. Comfort

After pinning down the suitable locations you might want to do a little bit of research on the area around your housing. For instance, living right next to shopping malls or the MRT station that causes noise pollution may disrupt your resting hours which will disrupt your ability to concentrate while you work or study. This includes homes adjacent to major roadways, public attractions, and other features of a city that generally produce a lot of noise.

#5. Having a budget plan

Before you head out on the journey of your solo living, draw up a budget plan which details your monthly expenses such as your internet and utility fees, rentals, your daily necessities, and your savings including your financial capabilities.

If you’re caught in a tricky financial situation, getting a fast personal loan might just be able to help.

Doing this will positively help you narrow down various choices of accommodation whilst giving you a greater sense of how to manage your finances responsibly.

#6. Lifestyle condition

Not all landlords will allow certain things like pets and smoking or there may be other tenants who will be sharing units with you that might have pets and smoking habits, these may eliminate some of your rental choices. Even if your landlord/landlady has no pet restrictions you have to make sure your pet is on HBD’s list of approved dog breeds.

If you have plans on renting a room within a shared space, you might want to make sure that there are no limitations regarding the use of the common space. Like, policies on having guests, sharing of the living room and fridge, if there is anything off-limits to cook, and so on.

Remember that all the allowances should be clearly and transparently mentioned in the Tenancy Agreement.

#7. Living space

The usable living space also plays a significant role when you go on house hunting. Keeping in mind all your belongings and needs, you need to choose a house wisely so that it can suitably and comfortably accommodate everything you own. If you are single, you will need a unit that is around 500-600 sq. ft. On the other hand, families require bigger spaces, so the unit needs to be at least 1,100 sq. ft.

#8. Facilities

There are some important amenities and facilities you have to keep in mind while finalizing your new rental space.

For example, make sure the supermarkets and grocery stores are near your location, healthcare facilities are available, ATMs are nearby and stay always open, the hangout places that you frequent like malls, pubs, cafes, cinema halls, and so on are nearby and well within your budget. The level of the expensiveness of the facilities around a spot is also determined by the affluence of the neighborhood and the population in the area. It always helps to stick to neighborhoods that fall in your affordability bracket.

#9. Lease length

There is no daily or weekly leasing allowed in Singapore, the minimum lease for HBD flats is six months and goes to a maximum of three years. For private properties, it is for three months at the least.

#10. Neighborhood

Good neighborhood and neighbors can affect your happiness and the kind of time you will have in your new place. We advise you to visit the property you are planning to rent and meet your potential neighbors to know what kind of neighborhood you are getting into. Also, check how noisy it gets as it could be a major problem in the future.

Explaining The Renting Lingo In Singapore

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There is a lot of jargon and technical terminology in the world of renting. It’s easy for even long-time renters to get overwhelmed by all these fancy terms. Let’s make sure you know about everything before you rent an apartment.

Viewing Properties

You can search properties and units of your liking on the internet and make an appointment with the landlord/landlady to view them or you can either hire a property agent who can show you the property suitable for your needs.

Letter of Intent (LOI)

A Letter of Intent includes all the agreements between the agents or landlords and the tenant, which is provided by the tenant highlighting the genuine plans on renting the property. It usually involves whether you can cook, use a common area with a live-in landlord/landlady present, at what timings you are allowed visitors, etc.

Note that this is not a legally binding document. Also, giving an LOI requires a Good Faith deposit, which, for a 12-month lease, is a sum equal to one month’s rent.

Rental Stamp Duty

This has to be done before you sign the TA, the cost is 0.4% of the total rent for the lease period if it is four years or below. So, if you rent at $2,500/month for a year it is (0.4% of $30,000) = $120.

If you are renting for more than four years, it is 0.4% of four times the Average Annual Rent (AAR). If the annual rent is below $1,000, then there is no stamp duty.

Tenancy Agreement (TA)

A Tenancy Agreement is a contract between you and the landlord, which includes details of your personal particulars, the landlord’s or landlady’s particulars, and the tenets of your agreement, which is irrevocable. That is why you should always make sure that the terms stated in the LOI match the TA before you sign it.

The TA also confines a security deposit which is basically your Good Faith deposit, along with your first month’s rent. Unless you damage the property or back out completely, this sum will be returned to you at the end of your tenancy.

The TA also specifies when and how you pay the landlord/landlady, and whether or not you pay the utility bills.

Co-living Arrangement: An Alternative Form Of Renting In Singapore

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This may be a new concept to many of you, but co-living arrangements and spaces are actually quite popular amongst young millennials due to the beautifully furnished and picture-worthy homes.

A co-living arrangement also provides the opportunity to stay, meet, and bond with new people.

You can prefer co-living spaces if you enjoy sharing an apartment with some friends. Most co-living rooms come fully furnished and at prime locations. This means that you don’t have to purchase your own furniture.

However, you need to establish a common ground with your co-living buddies because problems and disputes may arise the longer you stay close, which happens in all kinds of relationships. So, before you co-sign that lease, come up with some reasonable house rules, negotiate beforehand how are you going to split chores and bills, and make it very clear how long each of you will stay. It also helps to understand what the other person or persons do.

Take Your Time To Sort Out Your Finances

You should take your time, look for different units and sort out your finances.

Make sure to consider all the pros and cons of the units or properties you visit.

Do not rush your decisions and calmly analyze your choices. With patience, choosing a place to rent can be a very easy process in Singapore. After looking around and setting your budgets straight, make a plan to proceed with all the precautions.

To solve your financial issues, feel free to speak with us here.

Time For A Happy Start

After you seal the deal with your landlord/landlady or agent, all that is left is preparing for the big move to your new independent start.

Make a list of all the belongings and necessary items you will be needing, for example, bathroom supplies, electronics, kitchen supplies, furniture, and so on to avoid any kind of inconvenience.

You may also want to liven up the space and add your own personal touch to the space you are living in so we suggest you spend responsibly. After all, you are taking a big step in your life by choosing to live alone.

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