We just moved from our apartment of six years, a small single story condo of 80 units, to a whole new world. Our current condo has over 1,000 units, multiple pools, playgrounds, gardens and more. I genuinely feel as though I’ve stepped through the walking glass. I’ll do pictures another day–the limited mobility has meant that my camera hasn’t seen much action, and my camera’s phone is broken and in need of a trip to the Sony repair store.
To be fair, I’m still in a wheelchair outside the house the majority of the time. I can walk a small distance, but even our apartment to the complex’s mini-mart is too far for me today. TLDR–recovery sucks, there’s some amount of permanent damage, limited mobility/chronic issues and physical therapy regularly for a long time. I’m going to talk about how “accessible” I’ve found Singapore as a person in a wheelchair, but that’s a different post.
We’re a little further from the CBD, but still close enough for Elanor to stay at her primary school. When you move, you need to notify the MOE. If your child’s school has a waiting list (like Nanyang or River Valley Primary), I am told your child will move. However, if your school isn’t full (ours isn’t) and doesn’t have a waiting list (no), your child can stay put.
My favorite thing about our new apartment, though, is the yard. We’re on the 13th story, but still have a reasonably large space for the girls to ride their scooters, draw hopscotch patterns and other things with chalk, etc. It’s so valuable when I want them to just go outside and burn off some steam. Was it expensive–honestly, only a small increase from our former apartment.
Which leads me to some advice, if you’re apartment hunting.
1–Don’t trust the Propertyguru definition of 1km or 2km if you’re trying to stay near a certain MRT. It’s as the crow flies, not as the person travels. This is especially true with stations like Esplanade.
2–The Singapore real estate market now is heavily favoring renters. There has been an ongoing slump for several years. Our new agent (Shawn from SE Realty) has said he doesn’t think it’s hit bottom yet. So hold out for a bargain. Our current apartment is renting for 2k less than it did several years ago. If you’re renewing, get a read of the market–the last time I negotiated rent at our last apartment, I was able to get a decrease in rent because the market is soft.
3–I highly recommend Oranje Movers. They were recommended to me by Notabilia. Their quote was significantly cheaper than the two competitors I spoke with, and everyone from Alvin in the office to the movers themselves have been phenomenal to work with. We’re actually expecting them back some time this week to take away the moving boxes as I think we’ve finally gotten all of them emptied, even though the contents aren’t yet put away.
4–Moving with kids is a nightmare. We literally ended up sending them to school from one apartment and bringing them home to the new one. They freaked out over stuffed animals and toys being packed and all sorts of nonsense that I didn’t need to deal with the last time I moved. Elanor was seventeen months. She had less than ten words if I recall correctly, and was not able to compose twenty minute rants about this bear or that outfit.
5–Moving with cats? We boarded ours at Kittycare Haven, who deserve their own post, for several days to avoid the moving and unpacking hassle. We’ve been boarding Gandalf and Kerowyn there for five years when we travel (or my in-laws visit). They are kind, and loving. They have sent me whatsapp pictures to show me how our cats are doing when we’re away. I recommend them very highly.
Based on this experience, though, I have to say that when it comes time to eventually move back to the US, I’m in favor of lighting everything on fire and starting fresh. It was a headache to move within a few miles of our old apartment. Moving across the world? I am dreading the very idea.