Yes, you read that right. We moved condos in Singapore. Part of expat life is that you will find yourself moving condos every one to two years unless you and your landlords are perfectly happy to have a long-term contract.
We liked our first condo. It was small, just 764 sq feet but it had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, 5 minutes walk from the MRT and bus depot, and had an Olympic-sized swimming pool surrounded by other water features. It also has easy access to the gym and a meditation pod.
Unfortunately, though we liked the condo, our landlords decided to sell the place. We were informed 3 months into the lease, so we had no recourse but to move condos. We looked at propertyguru.com.sg and 99.co, use them in conjunction, to look for condos or apartments. Our budget was limited, we weren’t on an expat package as is most common for expats here, so we couldn’t afford to stay in those $5K or $8K condos close to the CBD.
I had started working by then so it fell on V to organise the viewing. We viewed 5 separate properties before we decided on the final one. Based on our experience, here are the 7 things to know when moving condos in Singapore.
1.Set a realistic budget. We scoured the property listings online in the areas we wanted to stay at and determined how much the rentals would cost. Instead of having a fixed price in our head, we had a range we can play with. Landlords generally will lower the price by a hundred or so if renters will stay for 2 years.
2. Decide on non-negotiables. Our non-negotiables were two bathrooms and must be close to public transport. One was to keep the peace since I tend to dominate the bathroom sink and the other was because we both don’t drive here. Walking even for 10 minutes in Singapore heat can result in that awfully sticky feeling.
3. Find an agent who will do the work for you. We found our own condo the first time so we thought we’d do it again. However, we didn’t anticipate how busy we both would be and how much more stressful it was going to be moving condos the second time around. V accidentally stumbled on an agent who became our agent. What that meant was he was the one who went around securing appointments. He would only get paid a commission if we sign the lease on the condo. His asking price was $1,000 by the way. In the end, we didn’t have to pay because we found our place on our own.
4. Book a mover weeks in advance. We searched for movers for weeks, comparing reviews, and prices. Some required on-site visits, some just quoted outright. Be sure to book in advance since they may not be available on the day you want. Some could be dodgy and will quote you very high prices. We found Shalom Movers and paid them $1k+. They packed the mattresses and any loose items. Be sure to ask whether they’ll pack for you because that could be additional cost. For us, we bought the boxes and packed the books and other small items.
5. Overlap your moving days. When moving condos, we officially signed the contract 5 days before the end of our lease. That allowed us leeway to start moving some of our items before the actual date. That gave us time to have the curtains dry-cleaned though we did live in a glass condo for the few days we were curtain-less. That also allowed us to pick another day for the movers to come in because they weren’t available on the first date we picked. This will seriously reduce your stress level. There had been horror stories where movers were either late or didn’t show up on the day and the tenants were supposed to be out of the condo that day.
6. Clean your condo yourself. Another benefit of overlapping your condo move is that you will have time to clean the condo you’re leaving. This will save you the money you will be paying a cleaner. That will also give you time to document the state of your condo before you turn it over to the landlord.
7.Document your condo. When you move in, you and the agent, in the presence of the landlord/s will go through the condo’s inventory. Be vigilant in informing the landlord’s agent about possible defects or issues in the first 2 weeks. Before you move out, take photos of the apartment. That will minimise or prevent whatever problems that may arise later on. Again, horror stories are available about former tenants being denied their deposit due to alleged condo destruction. We were fortunate with our first landlord. Though we informed them that the movers scratched the wooden floor when they were moving the bookcase, the old landlord waved it off and was actually impressed at how well we took care of the condo.
There you have them. 7 things to know when moving condos in Singapore.