House Hunting Internationally: Singapore Edition, part 3 of 3

Categories Moving Again (And Again), Moving To Singapore0 Comments

Dec 19:  Bupkus.  No one will negotiate at The Interlace.  Ah well.  It is nutty, as the hubs keeps getting people telling him to offer 25-50% less than the listed rent, but even when I call about new units I am interested in, they say no, they can’t go low.  I guess the trick is finding a desperate seller.  I think it is possible that at The Interlace they don’t want to set a low precedent as so many units need to be moved, and I think some of the prices have already been lowered.  It is just out of our range.

I put in an offer of $3,600 a month on the second Sunglade unit we saw on the first day.  I need to see it again (going tomorrow), but I feel like it needed less work than the other unit I saw on the 17th.  Plus, my heart wants that natural light that comes in, along with the tiny balcony.  They are willing to negotiate (listed price is $4,200) after I make my “wish list.”

You might wonder why we skipped the $3,800 mark, which would be a more reasonable offer.  In Singapore, if rent is below $4,000, the renter needs to pay the realtor fee, which is one month’s rent.  If it is higher, the landlord pays it.  I did the math (3,600 +3,600m = 4,000m) to work out how many months it would take to pay off the realtor fee at a $3,600, and it would take 9 months (out of our 2 year lease).  However, at $3,800, it would take 19 months and basically be the same as $4,000 rent.  The difference is that we would have to pay those realtor fees up front, along with two month’s rent as security deposit and the first month’s rent.  So we will offer $3,600, and if that is rejected, we will offer $4,000.  Crossing my fingers!


Dec 21:  Bupkus x 2.  Some other buyer offered asking price and no wish list.  Annoyed our realtor kept suggesting we make a wish list… Oh well.  It really needed quite a bit of work (mold, rust, terrible kitchen).  We checked to make sure the other two Sunglade units are still available, and they are.  We also looked again to make sure we have seen all Sunglade units.  Found a few larger ones and asked our realtor to show us those.


Dec. 22:  Realtor said the larger ones were all the same unit listed by multiple people (common here…annoying) and were actually on auto-relist so were no longer available (extra annoying).  If it is sold, take it down!!!

We decided to put in a bid of $4,000 (asking was $4,200 or $4,300) with no wish list on the Sunglade unit that won’t be available until end of January.  Realtor says the realtor for that property is on vacation, so no answer yet.  Now we are worried we will lose out on other properties if this falls through while we are waiting for an answer.

Later that day, some people we were talking with suggested we try looking at the east coast.  So we stayed up until 11:30pm looking at properties all over again.  This process is making me crazy.  But, we did find some interesting units.  They were further away (45 min commute for the hubs), but had an extra 300 or so square feet.  However, they were older looking.  It is just too hard to tell from the pics, so we are asking to view them.  We will have to wait until after Christmas to see them.


Dec. 23:  Our realtor texts back that our offer on the Sunglade unit has been accepted.  It is not written in stone until we actually put money down, so we have said we want to see the other units that we were looking at before we make a decision.  The extra space could mean a lot, as we are pretty sure we are going to have to cram a ton of furniture into the rooms or the storage area, as there won’t be room even for a dresser in the room the kiddo will be sharing with the BB when it comes.  This is stressful though, because if they get another offer, we could lose that and end up hating the units we see later this week.  But really, will much go down over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?  Who knows.  I know God will put us in a place where we will be happy, but this waiting is making me crazy.  Wanted to be feeling more settled by Christmas.  On a positive note, we were told we could move into the Sunglade unit on Jan. 13.  But we have to move out of the hotel on Jan. 10.  So much hassle to repack our suitcases for three days, plus get permission from the moving company to hold all of our boxes and things they move from this hotel to save for our new place.  Sigh…


Jan. 2:  We lost the Sunglade.  We had signed our letter of intent and had the check for the deposit written and ready to be picked up when our realtor called to say the landlord accepted a higher offer.

Tears ensued.  Lots and lots of tears.  I was immediately feeling sick to my stomach with the stress of this whole process, and the possible budget issues that would come with a more expensive place if we couldn’t close on something we could afford.  Then more hours of searching Property Guru for a different place.  We came up with a bunch more to visit (who knows how many would come up as expired listings?) and our realtor set up five viewings for us last Saturday.  We loved three of them, all in the central north-east of Singapore.  They are not close for my husband’s work commute, but they are not terrible.  They were basically equal, as each one had a downside (far from groceries, odd shaped rooms, or dark), and all about the same in price, except for one which was accepting offers in excess of $3,500.  We put offers down on all three of our favorites, and finally, finally (!) got the ball rolling.  We had some competition on the cheaper one (far from groceries) called Blossoms at Woodleigh, so we ended up offering $3,700. Despite having to pay the realtor fees, we will save some money, especially if we stay there for more than two years.  I think we had a bit of an “in” because my husband knows a previous client of the landlord’s realtor, so they hit it off.  Either way, our offer was $100 higher than the competition.  The letter of intent was signed by both parties, so as long as the tenancy agreement is acceptable and all parties sign, we will have an apartment!!!

I am finally starting to feel relieved, and I am praying that this doesn’t fall apart.  We are nearly out of time to stay here in the hotel, and if we start searching from scratch again, we probably won’t be able to move in before the 10th (when we have to move out of the hotel).

I really hope we get the place at Blossoms at Woodleigh!  So much light, so clean, white marble floors in main room (or marble look—who knows?), same in the bathroom with clean gray, slate-looking wall tiles, wood floors in bedrooms, big windows, bay window in bedroom, balcony with a great view, extra closet for stuff, and I do like the location.  It is a 10 min walk from the MRT (subway), 3 min walk to the bus, and only 1 subway stop away from a huge mall and a subway interchange.  A 10 min walk to the other nearest MRT station that has tons of small shops and hawker food stalls, very typically Singaporean (which is exactly what I wanted from moving here).  The 3 min walk up from the main road is a quiet, tree-lined street with houses and gated condo towers, very safe and quiet.

And the facilities are great!

Badminton hall

Basketball court

BBQ pits

Basement car park

Fitness corner

Function room

Gymnasium room

Multi-purpose hall


Putting Green

24-hour security

Spa pool

Swimming pool

Tennis courts


I am literally dreaming of this place, and of having a home.  I cannot wait to move in and feel like I am actually at home out here!  And OMG, to have the kiddo’s toys back… can’t wait for this bored girl to get busy again.  (The people in the picture in the kitchen below were some of our competition for this place… three families viewing at once!  So glad it looks like we are going to get it.


And the pool!  There are lounge chairs with side tables in little, shallow pools, along with lots of shade, and fountains pouring water everywhere so the sounds are so relaxing.  Plus, lots of smaller pools off to the side on the way to the playground.  Love it.  :)

Pool Pool

Totally happy.  Hubs is working on the tenancy agreement now, and just told me that the landlord makes a profit of $1,300 on us every month.  Crazy, but he says that is kind of the going thing.  We got the cheapest place we could either way.  Heck, for a career landlord to even be able to afford his own home, he would need to have at least 3 or 4 other properties netting him as much.  We make maybe $20 on our old condo in Mundelein, as our mortgage was too close already to the going rate for rental there.  Buying is probably the way to go out here.  The hubs said that our mortgage for this place had we bought it would be about $3,900, but we could never afford the down payment.  A place for sale in our building, same unit as ours is $1,700,000.  So yeah.

Our international house hunting adventure seems to be over!  I will write a post in the future to show how we have settled in and fit all of our American belongings into a tiny apartment in Asia. Or not.

Go to Part 1 of this story.

Go to Part 2 of this story.

Go to our subsequent move in Singapore in 2016.

Jennifer Jasensky is a Dubai resident, United States transplant, former mathematics teacher and dancer/choreographer. She is an outgoing homebody and perpetual idealist whose love of learning knows no bounds. She is most happy enjoying a good book with a plate of kaya toast, runny eggs, and kopi-c peng siew dai, but now that she has moved from
Singapore to Dubai, drinking an iced latte in the ocean is fast becoming her happy place.

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