How to Make Your Apartment Hunt Way Less Terrible

apartment hunt

Factors To Consider

When you go apartment hunting, making the right decision is key; and to do that, you want to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, your length of stay. Are you renting to own—will you buy an apartment? Or are you just going to be in location “X” for a few months or a year?

The apartment hunt is much reduced in terms of negative impact when you plan things out beforehand. Sometimes longer leases will net you reduced rent, sometimes shorter leases are more appropriate even though the cost is more. You do not want to be stuck with a long lease, unless you have a diplomatic clause in your tenancy agreement in case of any unforeseen termination of employment. Or you could also always try to transfer your lease, but that also depends on whether your landlord is open to that option.

Additionally, you can’t simply factor in the direct costs pertaining to monthly rental. You’ve got to look into collateral expenses as well. How much are your utility costs going to be? A cheap apartment with air conditioning will be more or less comfortable depending on how you use such utilities. Singapore is a tropical country, so it is HOT all year round. If you are not used to the heat, air conditioning is a real lifesaver, at the expense of your hard earned money leaking out of your wallet.

traffic singapore

Then there’s travel to consider. Ultimately, Singapore is small country and travelling to most places can be easily under an hour. So if you find a place that’s twenty kilometres from where you work, but half as much as an apartment right where you work, are you saving money, or losing money? Well, it depends on how long you intend to stay there. If you’re there for about a year, you could possibly save with the more expensive option.

Calculating Travel Costs

If you’re only in a given location six months, the long option may be considerable. You’ve got to calculate associated costs, such as mileage and petrol (if you are driving). Mileage pertains to wear-and-tear of your vehicle. Petrol is going to be around $2 to $2.70 a litre; let’s put it at $1.50 for about 10 kilometres, as a broad average; meaning you’re at about $3 a day in petrol for a 20 kilometres round trip–ostensibly. Could be more, could be less.

petrol costs

Source: imoney

Added to $10 in mileage (estimated on running costs like road tax, insurance and parking), you’re looking at $13 per day in round-trip expenses for your commute. Your time will be anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour to commute depending on traffic and your municipality.

So call your daily costs for such a round-trip commute thirty dollars and you’ll be under-selling it. That’s $65 a week per 5-day week, $260 a month, and $3,120 a year. Not to mention, the downpayment costs of buying a car and the interest and repayment of the loan each month. Of course, this can be done with whatever form of transport you usually take (be it Grab/taxi or public transport). So if you do your calculations and the costs of transport plus the rental apartment outweigh one that is right next to your work, it will make your decision on where to rent much easier.

Accordingly, taking the terrible difficulty out of apartment hunting can be effectively done through examining the costs of transit, and appropriately augmenting your search. If you’re in a big metropolitan area, you need to use established resources to save time and effort—you can find more about this here; every rental option under the sun is listed at that site. It makes sense to use resources of this kind which are centered on the locality where you’re seeking rentals.

A Process That Can Be Enjoyable

Once you know how long you’re going to stay at a place, which kind of utilities best match your needs and comfort, and what sort of travel needs you will have, the next step is to choose multiple units that you’d like to see. Don’t just look at one. Look at twenty if you can, ten if that’s too many, and at the very least five.

One of the worst things you can do is go with the first option you find. Think about the numbers. Even if you’re in a big city where housing is going quick, people are moving in and being evicted every single day. Don’t be afraid you’ll miss that perfect deal. If you do, another will manifest in due time; you’ve just got to be ready.

So the apartment hunt can be a hassle, but if you know what you’re after, plan your search strategically, look at multiple units, factor in all variables, and take your time, not only will you very likely find precisely the unit you’re seeking, you may even have fun doing it.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below or you can always reach us at hello@stackedhomes.com!


Sean has a writing experience of 3 years and is currently with Stacked Homes focused on general property research, helping to pen articles focused on condos. In his free time, he enjoys photography and coffee tasting.

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