Once upon a time when I was a baby expat (only weeks into our time in Singapore), I wrote a really really really long blog post about apartment hunting. In the three and a half years since that post, I’ve learned a great deal more about the process. In the past six weeks I’ve also learned a great deal more by gaining additional first hand experience.
When we first found this apartment in April of 2010, we were neither fish nor fowl. We didn’t know where anything in Singapore was. Ellie was our only child and she was only seventeen months old. I didn’t know or care about the schooling options. I didn’t know what Singapore apartments were like, what was standard, or that I could negotiate. I didn’t know about the potential for racism (no Indians is not an uncommon opinion–one of the reasons we’re billed as American). I knew nothing.
It’s kind of miraculous, then, that I ended up with what has been a really great apartment. I didn’t really appreciate how great it is until I began to look for something better.Over the course of about a month, my new agent showed me apartments near subways stops near and far. We were burned by a landlord/agent combo who listed an amazing apartment for 2,000sgd less than what they actually wanted to rent it for. I learned that when an agent isn’t specific about which property an apartment is located in and claims it’s “steps from the MRT,” they’re lying. I found master bedrooms where my bed would be the only thing that would fit–the ONLY thing. I saw ants and roaches. I saw townhouses and units on the 30th floor. I saw a playground with bible verses on the equipment. In the end, though, it turns out there’s no place like home.
Instead of moving a week from Friday, there will be nary a moving van in sight.
Ironically, it our almost 9 years together, this apartment is the home we’ve lived in the longest out of the 5 apartments we’ve shared.