Find Your Happy Place
Here’s how to decide where to stay.
Set Your Priorities
Lest you want to spend more of your day commuting than necessary, pick a place that’s close to transport hubs as well as your route to work or your kids’ schools (see below). Look for nabes with amenities that matter to you. (Flip back to page 12 for our roundup of ’hoods to consider.) Likewise, if you want an open balcony and space of at least 1,000 square feet, know that up front. Ditto on whether a swimming pool and on-site gym are must-haves or just nice-to-haves.
Get Some Help
The benefits of hiring a realtor or property agent? They can help you to navigate the island, especially if you’re fresh off the boat. They also negotiate with the landlord’s agent, and handle paperwork such as the Letter of Intent (LOI), Stamp Duty and more. Plus, if you sign a two-year tenancy agreement (TA) or lease, you typically won’t have to pay to engage an agent, as the landlord’s agent will split the commission.
If you’d rather do your own home hunting, try free apps such as PropertyGuru (www.property guru.com.sg), 99.co or iProperty. com.sg. They offer listings by housing type, neighbourhoods or nearby MRT stations, affordability calculators, expert advice and much more.
Look Before You Leap!
Before you sign your TA, take careful note of its termination clauses, rental payments, utility charges, property inventory and hidden maintenance or repair fees for items in your apartment. “Once you’ve moved in, take photos of any defects such as scratches on walls or peeling door paint and send these to the landlord within 30 days to avoid problems during the handover process,” recommends agent Elaine Ang of ERA Realty Network Singapore.
You can terminate the contract with your landlord with a two-month notice period if your lease lasts more than a year – a requirement under the Diplomatic or Repatriate Clause. Go to https://tinyurl. com/SGRentalDocs to understand all of the documents you’ll be asked to sign and more.
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