An Expat’s Guide to Renting an Apartment in Singapore

May 7, 2024

In a recent development, Singapore is opening its borders to more countries for quarantine-free travel and work. For inbound expatriates who are seeking a long-term stay in Singapore, this is the perfect time to start looking for their new abode in the city-state. Renting an apartment in Singapore is a linear and easy process for expatriates with the help of a licensed property agent.

Renting an apartment in Singapore is a more viable option than buying a home. When you have already decided on the type of apartment and neighbourhood you would like to be around, there are a few important things you need to keep in mind for making the apartment hunt stress-free. 

This article would greatly help anyone who is on the way to searching for the perfect place and apartment. Let us discuss the important things you need to know in advance before going ahead with the house hunt.

Renting an Apartment in Singapore for Expatriates

Set a Budget to Make it Easy for You

The first and foremost thing you should consider before you start looking for places is setting a budget. Get a clear idea about the money you will be able to spend. The rule that could help you is to not go spending beyond twenty-five per cent of your monthly income. Try to filter the search according to your budget - you will thank us later for this rental tip! However, if you need to compromise on this rule when you find a good apartment in a more posh area like the CBD, make sure that your choice is worth your money.

Have a Detailed Idea Regarding the Upfront Cost

Renting a place is the time you are likely to spend a lot of money. The costs mainly include application fees, brokerage fees, security deposits, logistic charges, etc. You might also need to pay a month’s rent in advance to the renter. In short, you are going to spend a lot of money even before you move in. Therefore, you will have to plan before saving money to pay at least two months’ rent before covering everything in advance.

Choose a Convenient Location

Choosing the location that would be right for you is the most important thing you will need to do while renting a space to live. Fortunately, Singapore is well-connected by road and rail. It wouldn’t take you more than an hour even if you were to travel from one end to the other end of the country. Speaking of special preferences or requirements, you may choose to stay at a location where you can easily commute to work, send kids to school, have parks or space for outdoor-training, and also fetch groceries and other essentials. Look for good healthcare centres and hospitals nearby. Get to know in detail whether you can drive, walk, or cycle every day to your school or office before deciding on the space.

Check Out the Property and Neighbourhood in Detail

Always go for a neighbourhood that feels lively to you. Luckily, any neighbourhood in Singapore is a vibrant and welcoming community.  It wouldn’t be a bad idea to visit the community during different times of the day. You may consider visiting during a weekend as most residents are likely to be at their homes. Make sure that you have conversations with the people residing there and get their opinions regarding the neighbourhood. This will help you decide on where to live.

Keep the Additional Cost in Mind

The next thing to do after checking out apartments that suit your budget is to check whether the price is inclusive of the electricity, gas, water, and internet. Mostly, your rent will be exclusive of utility bills and other expenses. Read the tenancy agreement in Singapore carefully to know whether you will need to pay an additional amount for maintenance and cleaning services. If you have to, get to know how much you have to. Also, check if the total cost falls under your budget.

Do Proper Research on the Brokerage and Landlord

Do proper research on agencies, brokers, and landlords to avoid making deals with ones with bad reputations dealing with their customers. Some landlords try to exploit the tenants during the stay or even make a fuss when you need the deposit back. Try to get to know whether their previous tenants had to go through such experiences. Ask a few colleagues or friends who live near the area you are looking for to recommend reliable agencies or property agents for you. Make sure to read the tenancy agreement in detail, including the diplomatic clause. Take note of all the conditions that are unclear and clear them before signing the tenancy agreement.

Search Through Multiple Ways to Avoid Brokerage/ Agent Fee

If you don’t have the budget to pay for a property agency because of all the costs you will have to take, look in the local newspaper classifieds, roadside advertisements, rental portals, and social media groups and pages. You may search on trusted property portals in Singapore like PropertyGuru to save cost on your search for an ideal space. It will help you get a better idea regarding the rental market during the time you are hunting for a space. You can also let your friends, family and colleagues know that you are looking for good deals. Some of them could also help you find a place that they already know.

Avoid Deciding on Deals Just by Seeing Images

It is important to keep in mind that the pictures on housing websites look attractive so that they might tempt you to fix the deal without wanting to go and visit the place. Do not sign a contract without checking out the whole space in detail, including bedrooms, kitchen, common areas, and bathrooms. There are chances for the rooms to be not in the same condition as shown in the pictures and you will be very unhappy about the decision you’ve made. You will then have to go through the headache of repair and deep-cleaning all by yourself. It is a common mistake that happens with first-time renters. Therefore, viewing the place before signing the agreement is a must.

Ensure the Apartment/House is Disinfected

Well-being and safety of you and your family must be your priority.  When you move in to a new place during a pandemic, take every necessary step to ensure there is no risk of infection. Check with your landlord and property agent whether the apartment has been disinfected after the previous tenant had moved out. Most property agents will be happy to arrange a disinfection service for you. Again, be clear on who bears the cost of such services.

Do Not Forget to Ask Your Landlord/Agency About Your Pet

Do not miss talking about your pet to the agency/landlord before signing the agreement if you plan to take your pet with you. There could be many restrictions and license requirements about the breeds even though many buildings allow pets. So talk it out and make everything clear to avoid confusion in future.

Book an All-in-One Home Service Provider in Singapore

If you are renting an apartment in Singapore, we recommend booking a home service provider that takes care of your household chores and repairs for the rest of your stay. Sendhelper is the top-rated home services brand that has earned the trust of more than 75,000 households in Singapore. With a rating of 4.5 stars on Google, you can be assured that your home is in good hands.

Our selection of services is weekly/biweekly cleaning, end of tenancy cleaning, cooking, aircon maintenance, laundry, handyman, pest control, elderly care, and tasks and errands. We offer flexible scheduling and attractive rates to fulfil your household needs.

Services recommended for you