Tag Archive for Shrewsbury

New Apartment Visit – Same Condo, Different Unit

After 2 years in my current condo, my rental lease agreement was up for renewal – so I was keen to see what was available on the market – noting that the ‘housing conditions’ had put the market in the favour of the rentee rather than then landlord – lets see whether this will be the case for me.

I started but trying to negotiate with my current landlord, but I was keen to only renew for one more year (rather than another two years) – he was keen to keep the rent at the same level – he commented that it was a good price having been low to start with, and because I had asked for one year only.

Potential New Option

Potential New Option

I was not that convinced, so started to look around before I responded. I noted that in my current condo, there were a number of smaller units between $2400 – $2800 – so I knew I couldn’t push lower by much, but then I saw that there was a similar sized unit (570 sq ft) for rent – that was priced at $3000 a month. I asked to check the place and went up to have a look – I asked what was the best price he could offer, and he suggested he could push for 2800. I was quite shocked that they were willing to reduce $200 a month to easily, so the landlord must have been keen to rent it out. Anyway, I said I would think about it for the weekend, and then decided to email my current landlord’s agent, who stated that $2900 (current rental) was the best and the landlord would not go lower. I decided to take a risk and email the landlord directly, who responded in a day to state that he was willing to go down to $2800 – a bit interesting that I get a different result when I liaise with the landlord directly isn’t it? 🙂

I started to think about staying, but I decided to visit the new condo unit again with my girlfriend. There were a few pros and cons in both apartments. Lets start with my current one:

Current Unit – Pros:

  • Don’t need to move
  • Don’t need to dry-clean curtains
  • Don’t need to worry about changing addresses in everything
  • Landlord seems pretty nice and responsive
  • Lots of wasted space with the staircase

Current Unit – Cons:

  • Agent is a bit annoying and seems to not communicate effectively or accurately
  • Only partial furnished

And now the new one for comparison…

Potential New Unit – Pros:

  • Cheaper unit
  • A higher floor
  • Fully furnished – also a con due to furniture I’ve purchased!

Potential New – Cons:

  • Need to move
  • Layout is worse than current, bomb shelter is on ground floor
  • No ground floor wash room
  • Staircase location wastes space

The new agent then contacted me for a decision, and I said that I will likely renew with my current unit – and I then preceded with the confirmation. The new agent then stated that the landlord was willing to reduce to $2700 – wow – what a quandary…save another $100 a month. I then presented this to the existing landlord, who then responded saying ‘now what?’ – as the documentation was being prepared. I asked him that I was very keen to move due to the price reduction, but had decided to stay as I preferred to stay with him as the landlord (better the devil you know, as they say). He then responded stating that he will match that price – so I got the same unit, for 1 year renewal, at the $2700 rate – a $200 reduction per month – not bad methinks. I think I could have gone lower, but at least it is a saving.

I now need to sort out the new repayments and get part of my deposit back, as I only need a month’s deposit of the 2 month’s that I currently have settled with the landlord – he owes me $$$ for a change (all of $3100) – haha!

Catholic Church – Easter Service

I also managed to find the local Catholic Church – and luckily for me, it was located very conveniently in Novena – down Thomson Road.

I decided to go for the 09:00-10:00SGT service – and it was a very popular church service. The challenge was the outside area with seating was not that ventilated – and it was sticky and hot!

The church mass was very nice and relaxing, and it was good to spend it properly this Easter at a Catholic Church – so glad that I found the place, and hopefully it won’t be as long when I return for my next service.

Air Conditioning Servicing

Well one of the stipulations of my condo contract, like the vast majority of rentals here in Singapore, is that you have to perform quarterly servicing of the Air Conditioning unit.

The previous tenant provided me their invoices from a company – and this was for $70 each time.  I have two units in my apartment, so that worked out to be $35 for each unit.  I knew this was quite expensive, having asked around.  I was told that I should be able to get it between $15-$20 if I shop wisely.  I also knew that an annual service contract would be cheaper.

Anyway, I wanted a bit of consistency in the paperwork, so first contacted the ‘Atlantic Engineering Air-Conditioning’ company, who previously serviced the units for the previous tenant.  They told me that an annual service would be $200 – which equates to $50 a visit, or $25 a unit.  I still wanted it slightly cheaper, so told them about a comporative price where it was quoted as being $17 a unit for an annual contract.  They couldn’t match this, but rather than the inconvenience of phoning around to get a cheaper quote, I accepted their slightly discounted offer of $180 – or $45 a visit, or $22.50 a unit.  That will do 🙂  I am sure I could have found one slightly cheaper, but alas I’ll be happy with this – a few bucks spare to spend on the Guinness!!.

The first visit was scheduled for 21st March, and they came and serviced the units very efficiently.  In 20-30 minutes it was all done.  Sorted for another quarter and sorted for the next year at least!

Home Insurance – Peace of Mind

Well I finally sorted my home insurance – well that should be really content insurance – for my condo apartment. I was concerned about things like my electronics, and clothes etc – and as such I feel it would be good to have peace in mind.

I decided to go to Expat Insurance – and it only cost me S$154 for the appropriate cover that met my needs (another quote was over S$500 – so I got a bit of a saving, by reducing the cover to what I need). I wasn’t keen to go for a huge cover, just enough to come by personal effects.

Regardless, I just hope that nothing happens whilst I am here!

I just now need to get my Travel Insurance sorted – and possibly consider enhancing my Medical Insurance (that I get from Amex) to cover any additional coverage needs that I should consider…remember there is no National Health service here – so everything costs $$$ – which is totally a culture shock for my head!

Old tenant picked-up their furniture

I must admit, it should never be advertised as ‘fully furnished’, as the items that belonged to the previous tenant should not be listed on the property listing.  I think the landlord’s agent wasn’t that truthful, or really understood the definition or the difference – but alas, I gave the feedback 🙂

Well the agreement that I reached with the previous tenant was that they would pick-up their furniture by 15th January, having giving them about 2 and a half weeks grace period.  The challenge is that I didn’t make the purchase straightaway, as Ikea give you a date for delivery which you cannot choose – well at least if you change it, they charge you, so I had to make sure the apartment was clear of the previous furniture before I committed the purchase.  The previous tenant wanted to sell me their second-hand items – the sofa-bed, dining table, 2 dining chairs, 3 cabinets, a book case/side unit, and tv stand – for S$1k – but I said no to this.  Luckily, I didn’t make this purchase, as the items I am looking for only equate to about £$650 which is a nice saving 🙂

So before the Ikea delivery – the apartment looked a bit empty…

On the positive, I was able to use their items (dining table and sofa primarily) whilst they were in my apartment, but I also now need to make a purchase 🙂  So have already looked at the Ikea SG website, and think I know what to buy.

  • Solsta Pällbo Footstool for S$10.90
  • Bjursta Extendable Dining Table S$149.00
  • Lycksele Lövås 2 Seater Sofa-Bed S$315.00
  • Lack Side / Coffee Table S$12.90
  • Börje Dining Chair (x2) S$130.00
  • Laiva TV Bench S$25.90

All for S$643.70 exc S$65 delivery charge.  And I get a S$50 voucher for spending over S$500 🙂

I even managed to build the items myself without major issue…it finally feels like home, and I have some nice new items that make it personal to me now – perfect 🙂

Getting used to the local area

After a couple of weeks, I have finally settled into my local area – I’ve found the local shopping malls, the supermarkets, the wet market, the food courts.  I just need to find out a few things to do (sports, events, photography, language courses) to keep me busy.  On a serious note, I was thinking of learning Mandarin, but I think this is going to be a bit tough going – but I think I might give it a go.

Now, I just need to start booking those little side trips again – I’m keen to start exploring more of Asia – and Singapore is an ideal base.  I want to visit Indonesia, Philippines, Burma (Myanmar), Laos and more of Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.  I better get cracking – hehe.

SingTel Installation brought forward and successful!

I received on 31st December from SingTel saying that the installation was brought forward from 8th January to 4th January – now that’s what you call service.  It was scheduled for the 2pm-4pm slot, but when I was in Ikea browsing through for Sofa’s and Dining Tables, and buying some bits and bobs for the apartment, the engineer called saying that he was keen to come earlier…So I arranged a 1pm time.  Nice!

About an hour later the installation was completed – a bit of wiring on the phone box and the phone exchange in the building hall-wall, and I had 2 phonelines (one for the broadband and one for the TV (also on broadband)), MioTV, and the 10MB broadband installed.  I just need to buy a cheap phone so at least if there are any calls, I can receive the calls and make outbound calls accordingly.

NOW, I feel at home 🙂  Good on ya SingTel, a satisfied new customer…just make sure that you services remain as efficient as the installation process.

SingTel or StarHub…which one :)

There are 3 main suppliers of Internet, TV, landline and mobile services in Singapore – SingTel, StarHub and M1.  Apparently, M1 is the last of the 3 in terms of everything, so this really leaves the choice between Singtel and StarHub.  There doesn’t seem to be much between them price-wise, but I’ve heard that SingTel is pretty good (and I used their prepaid mobile services previously).  Haven’t said that, StarHub is more of a cable supplier, rather than SingTel who use the telephone line to supply their Internet broadband services (similar to Sky versus BT in the UK, respectively).  StarHub also seems to have the BBC channels and a few more of the movie and although SingTel had obtained the non-exclusive rights for the UK’s Premiership footie matches, so I think SingTel has the edge.

We visited both shops in the Plaza Singapura shopping mall in the Dhoby Ghaut area, and whilst StarHub was slightly cheaper by a about 5-6 dollars a month (and had the BBC News channel), the waiting time was about 10 days, whilst SingTel was about 7-8 days – and the guy at the store was far more supportive.

Ideally, I wanted to get a quad-package, home-line, broadband, TV and mobile – ideally, I could forego the home-line, but knew it came as default and in most cases was a prerequisite for the broadband, but the two suppliers generally bundled (and were pushing for) the TV, home-line and broadband set, versus the alterative (and more costly) home-line, broadband and mobile set.  I think it’s because they were promoting offers to push their TV services, so without this, there was limited incentive and as such monetary benefit to forego the TV service.  So I decided to play-ball with them and go with TV, home-line and broadband – with mobile as an additional service – the beauty is that you get a discount on the mobile service subscription too, so it worked out okay in the end.

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 (Android)

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 (Android)

I got the cheapest handset possible, Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 – it is a Google Android handset, my first Android device, and seems okay.  I just have to get used to it, I guess, having had iPhones for the past 4 years.  Either way, it only cost me S$18 as I received a S$50 discount from SingTel.   If I don’t like the phone, I can always switch the SIM card to my unlocked iPhone 4S, and then use the Samsung one for my UK SIM – which I will only check to see if there are any messages received 🙂  I will see how it goes…hehe!

The good news is that SingTel are giving the 4G (LTE) service upgrade for free on new mobile contracts, the challenge is I don’t have the phone that can receive it (boo-hoo)…BUT I get a S$300 free upgrade after 12 months, so can make the 4G plunge then.

At least I have a local number and can stay in touch with family friends and work colleagues using a local Singapore mobile now!!

New Apartment – Picking Up the Keys

Suites@Shrewsbury

Suites@Shrewsbury

Today is the day that I can finally pick-up the keys to my condominium – hooray!

I’ve arranged to pick-up the keys (and key-card) for my new apartment early in the morning – meeting up with the agent at my apartment.  It is located at Suites @ Shrewsbury, 84 Shrewsbury Road, Singapore, 307842.  It is opposite a Chinese Temple and Buddhist Monastery – as well as nearby to a Christian Church – so I hope this means I am under the fortune of good luck and prosperity.  Well one can but hope 🙂

As soon as I pick-up the keys and sign the original copy of the lease, I can then look at what I definitely need to buy to make sure I’m sorted in my apartment for good.  It ended up being a partial furnished – so white goods (fridge/freeze, microwave, washing machine) are supplied, as well as the TV and bed – but the dining room and lounge furniture aren’t (so I do feel a trip to Ikea is in store!).  In fact, I’ve agreed to “look after” the previous tenants furniture until 15th January, so they have permitted me to use them until then, but I still need to window shop before then.

I just need to wait for the TV, Phone line & Broadband services to be installed – and then I will be at home.  The agent kindly arranged for the supply of water/waste & electricity to be activated on 24th December (the actual day that my lease starts) – so everything seems to have been in working order as soon as I entered the place.

Photos of my new humble abode will appear here soon 🙂

Return to Singapore – time to settle into my apartment :)

Well, after a very relaxing trip to Hong Kong, eating, drinking, sightseeing and shopping (repeating this continously!), it was time to say goodbye to the cooler climate (that is “cooler” than Singapore – but “warmer” than the UK) and enjoy the time back in my new location.  I should really start calling Singapore my new “home” location – hehe.

Anyway, having arrived late on Friday, 28th December – the JetStar flight was quite uneventful, although slightly more turbulent than last time.  I decided to book the Hotel Re! at Pearl Hill (in Outram Park district) for the night, as I wasn’t sure I was able to pick-up the key of my new apartment on Friday from my agent.

It was nice being back at the hotel – and we had one final meal in and around China Town, before making it back to the hotel.  On Saturday, we decided to make those final purchases around China Town before returning back to the hotel to collect our luggage to go to the new Condo Apartment.  I think I’m getting there with all of the purchases – but until I move in and unpack, I really don’t know what other things I need to buy (apart from things for the kitchen and lounge area).

Going to definitely be a bit stressful for the next couple of days before I start to prepare my mind for my first day of work in the new team.

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