Today we find ourselves one step closer, after a grueling five week search, to having a home in Singapore. We have a signed letter of intent and are working on the tenancy agreement. What, might you ask, took so long, and why was it grueling? Everyone knows we love to look at real estate. This time, however, the fun seemed to be zapped right out of it.
Maybe it was looking at apartments in the heat and humidity that made it such a chore. It is hard to feel homey in a place that makes sweat drip from your upper lip. Perhaps it seemed grueling because of the lying agents and the mismatched prices, listed at one price, then switched to a new more expensive price when you show up. Apartment hunting could have lost its charm when landlords refused to negotiate their negotiable prices, or when we heard things like “no families” and “no child locks as the landlord feels it will damage the windows on the 20th floor.” These factors and more made it a tough process.
Things improved dramatically, though, when we found a better connected second agent who was more adept at narrowing down the choices after hearing our feedback on the forty or so apartments we had already seen. He took us to see ten fabulous apartments, all of which we would be happy to rent, and then we were paralyzed by choice. When the first agent heard about the second agent, suddenly she stepped up her game and showed us another five that were good choices. At the end of the day, we chose an apartment shown to us by the second agent.
Our new apartment is in a nice complex and only a few years old. The complex is on the smaller side with only 130 units. It has pools, a playground, tennis courts, a gym, function rooms and a walking path around the compound. There are security guards, a common feature in Singapore, and a private lift. It is well-situated, close to an area we call the Park Slope of Singapore, Holland Village, which is full of expat families and their progeny. It is within walking distance of the Singapore Botanical Gardens, and will be close to a new MRT station opening next week.
The best part, though, is the apartment itself. It has a great kitchen with lots of light from the window. It is on the first floor, so I don’t have to worry about children tumbling off a balcony, and it has a really large patio which overlooks the pool. The children have a Jack and Jill bathroom, and the master bath has two sinks. It has an oven and a dishwasher, which are harder to find in Singapore, and the appliances are on par with what we would find at home. There is even hot water in the kitchen, a “feature” in Singapore. I think we are going to be very happy here!