0704Singapore real estate, bungalows with pools, condo or house for an expatriate small kids, educational stories for asiahomes.com realtors. Excerpts from "The Internet Realtors, Singapore", sponsored by  AsiaHomes Internet. Last updated: 02 Jul 2001

The very long dining table

The young couple had lived in Singapore for the past 5 years and were very successful in their career.  One spouse had started a business and the other worked for a famous multinational company.  "Get me a penthouse, 4-bedroom, over 3500 sq. ft for $5,000 - $7,000 rental budget," Mr Tanaka said.

An owner of a Newton penthouse of 5500 sq. ft was willing to rent for $7,000 with some "updates" of the kitchen and the bathrooms although he was asking $8,000.   There were no condo facilities but the dimensions were right for the long dining table which was over 4 metres long without a central slip away piece.  Therefore, I had to find a penthouse with a large dining area and this penthouse fitted. The press must have given the husband the impression that there was a glut of penthouses and Landlords were desperate.  After all, he had been living here for 5 years.  Mr Tanaka wanted to offer $5,000 justifying in his email that there were no condo facilities and the market was bad.  The Landlord was not interested. Neither was Mrs Tanaka who actually wanted brand new bathrooms and kitchens. Her present house in a non-expatriate favoured area was new and was renting for $2,500 per month.  It had 4 big bedrooms and the dining area could accommodate the big dining table. 

There were no new penthouses over 3500 sq. ft within the Districts 9, 10 and 11 renting for less than $7,000.  Not even old bombs.  Mrs Tanaka wanted nothing but new or renovated residences.

I found a Balestier Road penthouse asking $8,000.  It was brand new but the balconies were large, reducing the space available for the master bedroom and the dining area.   A second visit was made to measure the rooms. The dining area might just fit the big table but there would be no space to move.  The master bedroom could not fit in the baby cot as well as the big television stand but this was a new penthouse and had its appeal.

"Balestier Road is a non-expatriate area and not very popular with expatriates in general," I explained.  "Yes," the Landlord's executive officer replied. "This neighbourhood has been famous for loan sharks, gambling dens and pimps. That's why we are very careful with our choice of Tenants." The executive was frank upfront. Balestier Road has many new apartments and is being gentrified.  Where else would I find a new penthouse for such a low rent?
My heart sank.  Would the couple want to live in a red light district area?

The Landlord accepted $7,000 as the prospective Tenant was a famous multinational company but wanted 3 months' security deposit, the Tenant to pay the legal fees of around $1,000 in the preparation of the tenancy agreement and had a clause that the Tenant would be responsible  for all legal fees in the event that there was litigation involving non payment of rent.

Mrs Tanaka was not happy with the 3 months' deposit and the other 3 conditions.  I managed to get the Landlord to accept 2 months' deposit and Mrs Tanaka needed not pay the legal fees.  A good corporate Tenant was what the Landlord wanted and these concessions were made.

"Are you sure that the dining table could be taken up to the thirty-floored penthouse?" I asked Mrs Tanaka.  "The movers said they would carry it up the stairs carefully." said Mrs Tanaka. Well, the movers are the experts and I did not want to discuss further the possibility that this long dining table might not be able to get up the narrow stairs of most modern condos.  A 4-metre long dining table in one piece is really difficult to fit into the narrow width of  staircases.

I thought the tenancy agreement would be signed.  However, Mrs Tanaka said that she wanted her Singapore registered company to be the Tenant.  The Landlord felt that I had misrepresented as I had said the Tenant would be a famous multinational company.   I submitted the documents of the  company.  "It's only a two-dollar capitalized company," said the Landlord with some disdain. 

"Why is my company not acceptable to the Landlord? Why? Why?" Mrs Tanaka asked.   "Big multinationals do go bust too and there are many cases recently."

I did not want to elaborate but being pressed, I told her what the Landlord had said. "Its a $200,000 capitalized company," Mrs Tanaka explained.  She had given me the wrong documents.  Was the Landlord interested? 
Not really.  However, they would accept if the rent was more and the legal conditions and 3 months' security deposit was accepted by Mrs Tanaka.

They were unacceptable.  Mr Tanaka's boss who was back from an overseas trip agreed to sign the tenancy agreement on behalf of the company.  Mr Tanaka must be an important employee to merit this exemption from the company policy.

There were only 5 days left before the young couple would get evicted by the bank as the Landlord of the house had defaulted on payments.  The Landlord had wanted to sell the semi-detached for $2 million but had no offers for the past 5 years.  The rental of $2,500 per month could not sustain the interest payments.

Fortunately, Mr Tanaka's boss would agree to sign the tenancy agreement.  Everything would be all right. "Are you sure you really want to live in this penthouse," I asked again.

"Honey, we have lost credibility with the Landlord," Mr Tanaka said gently to his wife. It would not be good to go through the whole process again if Mrs Tanaka was not happy. The master bedroom was really small and though the dining table could be positioned in the living area as suggested by me, it was not the place for it. There were 2 sets of sofa too.

We hunted for new bungalows in the East Coast as they would be renting lower than those in expatriate enclaves of Districts 9, 10 and 11.  There were no newer bungalows at less than $7,000.  Many had very small living areas. or were dated.

Two days left before eviction.  It was stressful house hunting in the hot and humid afternoons of Singapore for Mrs Tanaka as she was expecting another baby.  The bank had given notice that it would padlocked all gates and doors.  I was ready to surrender on a mission impossible.  The rental budget was just insufficient.   There was a new bungalow fitting Mrs Tanaka's specifications but the rent asked was $8,000. 

This was a private individual as a Landlord as it was much easier to negotiate.   Still, $6,000 was out. He had an offer of $7,000 which had been rejected because he did not like the attitude of the American tenant.  "I quickly closed my shop in Balestier Road as it became populated with a bad reputation in the 1970s. It is not good to live there." said the Landlord who is over 80 years old and had seen through the development of Singapore to a modern metropolis. 

The Landlord and his wife seemed to like this young couple with a toddler. His house was built with the best materials.  The dining area seats the dining table with lots of space to spare.  The master bedroom was large and had white jacuzzi long baths and a frame-less shower stall. There was no swimming pool. 

The couple explained to the prospective Landlord that it was 1 day to go before eviction.   Honesty does not seem to be the best policy. They wanted to bargain for the lowest rent possible by offering a 3-year lease which the prospective landlord was not interested.  "How about the British expat you brought to see the house," he asked me.  The expatriate had not decided as his wife was not in Singapore, I said.

"Tell me, is the couple being evicted because they were not paying rent?" the Landlord queried me.  It was not true and I could bring the Landlord to see their residence where the bank had posted notice of possession.  "I trust you," said the prospective Landlord. The deal was closed at slightly higher than $7,000. 

The industry's standard of 2 months' security deposit was accepted. There were no legal fees for the Landlord's lawyer to prepare the tenancy agreement and there were no litigation clauses to inhibit negotiations. That's the advantage private individual Landlords have over the dinosaur-type corporate Landlords.

July 2, 2001.
District 9, 10, 11 bungalow for rent. $14,000.
Email judy@asiahomes.com or tel: +65 9668 6468.
A bungalow with a balance between a massive built in area and big gardens and a good sized pool. Land 10,000 sq. ft. Builit-in 5,000 sq. ft.

Inground pool of varying depth facing bedrooms. Big patio outside living area for entertainment. Pleasant pool view from master bedroom
A tiled patio off the living area makes living area more spacious White wall provides privacy. Good sunbathing spaces. 
Water view from 2nd bedroom. Potted plants enhance tranquility of house. Garden views from the guest bedroom
Steps to the pool. The inground pool has varying depth so that a toddler can still learn swimming. Rambutan fruit trees and lots of greenery never fail to attract Caucasian expats.

Reference 1.
House hunting listings has several reports which will reveal to first time expatriates relocating to Singapore a real situation on the Singapore market rentals. Do email judy@asiahomes.com if you have more queries. Or tel: +65 9668 6468.

Tips for new asiahomes.com Realtors & Expatriate husbands.
New bungalows in Districts 9, 10 and 11 rent much more than $7,000 per month. In District 15 or East Singapore, equivalent ones rent around $7,000 - $8,000.  If you have a long dining table, there are very few of such bungalows renting below $8,000.


Email judy@asiahomes.com
or tel: +65 9668 6468 for viewing appointments.

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Revised: July 02, 2001. · Asiahomes Internet
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