Always go for a short lease!

Hi guys, I want to share some of my experiences when it comes to renting an apartment in Singapore. One of my close friend, Laura, recently got posted to Singapore for her work and I had to the opportunity to do some house hunting (I like that!) with her.

At it was my first time looking for a property to rent, I did some digging. During the hunt, I realised three important things in Singapore:

  • Rent anywhere is expensive!
  • The neighbourhoods are always changing
  • The leases terms can sometimes be unreasonable.

This goes out to all the expats looking for a property in Singapore – To save you the steep learning curve, I am going to try and explain to you why it is better to go for a shorter rental lease.

Don’t be fooled by your neighbourhood

I personally think this should apply to all expats in Singapore. You may think that getting an apartment in Singapore is simple and straight-forth because most of the residential areas often look the same. The truth is, there can be huge differences!

Take Katong for example, most people often think of it as chill-out and laid back area. The same does not apply to Jurong for example, it can be seemingly serious and daunting. There is distinct differences in these areas and besides that, more than often, your preferences for amenities will differ. A good example is seeing someone doing their shopping at Cold Storage thinking that a plate of Carrot Cake is normally priced at 10 dollars – A tell tale sign of a new expat.

As you start to integrate in Singapore, you will probably start to looking out for hawker centres and coffee shops rather that cafes. And importantly, you are very likely to then develop the native Singaporean disdain for places like Clarke Quay and move into our non-touristy areas in Singapore.

The power of negotiation!

Take today for example – rental prices are falling and the most of the tenants for scrambling to secure tenants. Taking a short rental lease allows you to exactly that when the rental market is bad – To re-negotiate for a lower price sooner! Most landlords scramble to secure longer leases, when they see the rental market dipping. As a tenant, you do exactly the opposite.


Lastly, don’t forget that Singapore is not a big country. It is very likely you are going to see a lot of constant re-development during your stay here. And, we are also moving very fast up the charts in terms of rental here. You may have secured a unit that you think has really good amenities that you like, but it can all be gone in a glimpse. For example, an new train station can be announced and all of a sudden you find yourself sitting right behind a work site.

I hope this was a read for all of you new expats in Singapore. Do I make sense in this? Feel free to comment!

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