When people expatriate from their home country to a foreign country, one of the first things that they must do is find housing. As far as housing goes, most people’s first concern is affordability. Affordability is sort of a touchy subject in Singapore. Property rental in Singapore has skyrocketed in cost over the last couple of years, so, “affordable” and “cheap” are terms that must be viewed from a relative perspective. While there are some international real estate experts that will suggest that an expat should completely abandon any idea of finding cheap space in Singapore, there are some steps that can be implemented to ensure that an expat finds more affordable housing for their situation.


Start the Search as Soon as Possible

One of the key steps to finding affordable and idealistic housing in Singapore is to begin the search well in advance. There are two primary benefits of starting the search early. First, the earlier that a person begins their search for an apartment, the less stressed and rushed they will be in making a decision, meaning that they will be able to practice patience in determining their final move. Second, since the expat will not be in a rush to make a decision, it will reduce the leverage of the landlord or the seller. When the owner understands that an expat is under time restrictions, they will use that as leverage to hold their position on the price.



Prepare to Negotiate

One area in which renters and buyers always leave money on the table is in the inability or unwillingness to enter into negotiations. Even if the original listed price is within a predetermined range, there should always be a counter offer made. At the very worst, the owner will reject the counteroffer. Or, more positively, the owner will respond with an acceptance of the counteroffer, or at least a better offer than what was initially on the table. This works best with privately-owned properties as opposed to larger managed properties.


Predetermine the Type of Space

While many expats are looking for an HDB for rent, depending on their situations, it may be wise to look for a room for rent instead. Although the renter will be giving up space and privacy, the cost will be considerably less expensive than renting an entire flat. Obviously, renting a room will probably not be a good idea for a person with reclusive tendencies.


Don’t Focus Completely on Price

While finding the best possible price is immensely important, there are other variables that should be considered, even if they may cause the price to increase slightly. Two variables that should definitely be considered are comfort and convenience. The fact that a person is looking for a rental is indicative of an extended stay, and being in a place away from home for an extended time can be significantly more bearable when it is accompanied by comfort and convenience. The renter should consider how close the property is to their place of employment. They should also consider access to stores and restaurants as well.


While the word “cheap” probably does not apply to most acceptable properties in Singapore, there are still some great deals, when a person is willing to perform the due diligence, while exercising patience.