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Last updated: 08 Jun 2002

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How to rent out slower than others? 
Article 1.  Construction facing the living room. 

Article written in 1998

Comments: Be investment-minded, know your unit's weaknesses

"Any viewing this weekend?" enquired an anxious Owner of a two-bedroom Tanglin Regency almost every week. I did have viewings for his condo but the negative feedback was the "construction site of the Tanglin View" adjoining the unit would be noisy.


  • He had fully furnished his 3-bedroom with upscale furnishings at around S$30,000 so as to differentiate his unit from other still empty ones. It was a good move and he showed he was a caring Landlord.

  • The master bedroom had green views of trees and Tanglin Road and canal.


  • The living room faced the active construction of the Tanglin View condos, with cranes and other equipment discouraging any prospect. Earth-moving equipment and noises were heard. 

Yet, surprising, I had an Australian couple who did not mind the construction activities, as they appreciated his quality of furnishing more! We had several viewings with no response and now there is one ready to close.

  • A queen-sized bed was bought despite my advice to get a king-sized bed.

(in this case, our Australian couple wanted a king-sized bed but the Landlord said it could not be relocated to the 2nd bedroom).

Every Landlord wants the best highest rental but be aware of the unit's strengths and weaknesses and act flexibly.

"Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?" asked the Owner frequently. The apartment was not rentable. However, due to his persistent phone calls, our agents had kept his unit in mind. An Australian couple with no children (therefore his light coloured fabric sofa would not be stained) was willing to lease. It would be a company lease - a well known international cinema operator. Rental was offered at $3,500 but he wanted $4,000 (to recoup his furnishing costs). It was $4,000 or no further negotiations.

Advice to new Landlords: Sit down and write how many viewings you had over the past 2 months. Seek feedback from various agents who had seen your condo. Since there were so many other units, there was no problem getting one.  If you wait another 2 months' vacancy when the piling starts, you would lose $7,000 in rental income. Add 6 months' vacancy when trucks come in and out of the Tanglin View construction site with piles of dirt and the loss would be $21,000.

After being rejected by this Owner, I found another unit in the same condo, not facing construction. The tenant was allowed to choose her furniture and tenancy commenced within 7 days (not 30 days as in some cases). The Landlord was more investment-minded and realistic. 2-bedroom in Tanglin Regency has been rented from $2,300 fully furnished and $3,500 for a 3-bedroom of 1,100 sq .ft would be considered a "good" rental. Corporate lease (better than personal lease) and immediate occupany were 2 favourable factors to be considered by the second Owner too.

In the case of the Australian couple, the wife broke her back when the "new" mattress of the previous new UE condo gave way. She rented without seeing the furniture and the landlady had purchased a sofa set with hard cushions. So, she tested this unit's furnishing and liked it. Both husband and wife like Tanglin Regency, otherwise there would be no closing.

Last updated: 08 Jun 2002
How to rent out slower than others? 
Article 2.  Construction next door - rent with restrictions.  
Article written in 2002

Comments: Be investment-minded, know your unit's weaknesses

"I read in the Straits Times that Springs condo is being built next door," Dr Lee from Seoul phoned me. "It will be very noisy and dusty."  He had just relocated to Singapore and like all expatriates, knew that there were more units for rent than there were Tenants.  However, he and his wife liked one The Huntington condo which was newer and a 3-min walk to the Novena subway and shopping mall with the Cold Storage supermarket making it so convenient for his wife to go shopping.  I pointed out that he would save at least $400 a month in bus fares transporting of his two children to the Eton Pre-School at Scotts Road too as his wife could walk via the underpass to the school nearby.

He had no direct bus to the Bukit Timah Road office from Moulmein Road where the condo is located nor the nearby Thomson Road. A direct bus service was important to him.

Somehow I was surprised that he accepted my proposal that he could take the Novena subway to the Newton subway to catch a bus or walk with his wife and kids to the pre-school and then another 3 minutes of walking to catch the bus at Bukit Timah Road.  Now he was ready to sign a 2-year-lease and serviced the air conditioners. 

The Landlord introduced new restrictions. The lease would be one-year and that the Tenant must permit viewing if there were prospective buyers. He would have to vacate the unit when given two months' rent or notice. 

This was not stated earlier, otherwise we would not have considered this condo. No Tenant will want their privacy invaded to show the condo to strangers.  The Tenant pays the rent and want to live in peace. It would be costly and troublesome to move out at short notice.

Meanwhile, a lady agent in his office took him to see Dunearn Gardens condos which face Bukit Timah Road and is close to the Chancery Court Cold Storage supermarket and not too far from the Eton Pre-School.  He asked me to show him some Dunearn Garden units. 

Singapore Elmira Heights seen from Newton Road in Feb 2002 A lady of over forty years of age smiled at him as if she knew him. She was the Landlord of a unit he had seen with a lady agent.

He did not want to meet this lady as he had seen the unit and did not like it.

It was quite embarrassing for him as I did not know of the existence of the lady agent if not for the failure of The Huntington case, but he was not and would never be the first expatriate who use multiple agents. It was a common practice and so I was unemotional to such revelations.

He was a gentleman as he apologised profusely to me for being "disloyal". He was referred to me by his good friend who had found The Bayron unit with me.

However the lady agent who was showing his colleague a condo had been insistent that she had good units for him.  I had not been able to close on two condos he liked, the UE Square and now The Huntington. It was now over three weeks and the risk of losing clients to other agents was higher if the negotiations for The Huntington took too long. There must be better ways to earn a decent livelihood rather than providing free house hunting services to promiscuous clients, I often wonder.

"The female of the species (of housing agent) is more deadly (charming) than the male" I said. I didn't think he appreciated the joke.

Sometimes I wonder how the male housing agent can compete against young ladies in Singapore.  Many good looking lady agents have that spirit of tenacity which enables them to be very successful. Possibly it was inborn.

I knew Dr Lee's heart was for The Huntington condo which has brand new bathrooms and kitchens and a marble flooring in strong contrast to the ceramic tiles and worn out bathrooms of the over 5-year-old Dunearn Gardens. His wife had no objection now although she had disliked the solitary lone slab of a building when she first saw it. The Huntington has only a pool and no separate children's pool. The Dunearn Gardens has full condo facilities including a lovely children's pool and was nearer to the bus stop to his office at Bukit Timah Road.

Would I be able to close The Huntington case now that the weakness is the "construction next door" assuming that the Landlord would delete his restrictions?   The unit had been vacant for a few months owing to the construction project nearby.  Now, could I remove all the objections from the Landlord and the Tenant and earn my bread?

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Singapore UE Square Courtyard beside the pool
UE Square has courtyard facing or pool facing units.

Singapore UE Square sunlovers expat on Sunday afternoon
Expats sunbathing on
a Sunday afternoon in May 2002.

Singapore UE Square gym
High ceiling and bright  gym

UE Square River Wing block above spot light & facing Chinese temple still gets tenanted.The Riverwing block faces the pubs of Mohamed Sultan Road. 

Aspen Heights compared to UE Square.

Email judy@asiahomes.com or tel: +65 9668 6468, 6254 3326 or fax: +65 6256 0501 to get for you the best deal.

Singapore Everton Road conservation shophome for rentExpats who romance history will like this
Everton Road shophome for rent at $8,000. Near Chinatown and a 5-min walk to the Outram subway or a 5-min drive to Raffles Place. Other shophouses for rent from $3,500 - $20,000

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