It is important to know what you want in order to find the right rental property, even if you are only renting a property temporarily while your current home is undergoing renovation works, or if you are in the midst of moving to a new home. While your real estate agent, if you have opted to hire one, will ensure that you are able to find a suitable place to reside in temporarily, it wouldn’t hurt to make your own list of things you are looking for in a rental property – and to tick them off as you go.
• Budget: This is first and foremost the most important thing you will need to consider before anything else. Determining your budget will help you determine the type of rental property that best suits your needs, within your limitations, and should effectively stop you from falling in love with a property that you cannot afford.
Having a budget in mind does not only mean taking into account your future expenses for renting a property, but also looking at the price that rental properties typically go for in the location you are considering. This will mean that you have to do some research on the matter, especially if you already have an ideal location in mind.
Generally, you will require to set aside a rental budget range of $3000 to $4000 for a 3-Bedrooms apartment in the outskirt area while a 1-bedroom studio apartment in the city area may command the same price range.
• Location: Location is probably the most important factor for you to consider if you are bringing a family along. If you have children, you will need to look into the matter of schools.
Since it is likely that you will not want your children to transfer to different schools when you move to a temporary home, you will need to consider if the location of the rental property poses an inconvenience to the amount of distance your children will have to travel to school and back each day. This is especially important if you are planning to stay in your temporary home for a significant period of time. Also, you have to consider the travelling distance and time to your workplace.
• Transportation: Is the location served by a large number of bus and perhaps the MRT or LRT? This is one question you need to ask yourself if the rental property you are eyeing is not located near your workplace or your school. If you have to change buses two or three times just to get to your destination, then it probably isn’t ideal. If you have to pay a premium for getting rental property that is just beside the MRT or LRT, then it may be logical to save the hassle of traveling.
• Size and layout: Even if it is only temporary, you have to consider the size if the property you are renting. Can it fit all of your belongings? Is it of a size and layout that you are comfortable with? New apartments tend to be smaller and less spacious as compared to older apartments. The size of a 3-bedroom new apartment may range from 1000sqft to 1300sqft while the size of a 3-bedroom old apartment may range from 1500sqft to 2000sqft. While you may enjoy new facilities and modern design of a new apartment, you may need to compromise on the smaller size of it.
If there is a possibility of you staying in your temporary home for an indefinite period of time, you will need to think about whether this is a space that you can grow into. Similarly, if you have a family with you, then you will need to take into consideration how many rooms you and your family members will need.
If there is not enough space for all of your belongings and you are determined to make this particular rental property your new temporary home, you will need to rent an additional storage unit. You will then have to calculate the cost of renting a storage unit and the duration that you will need the additional storage for.
As an alternative, you may opt to sell the furniture that cannot fit into your new rental home. This does not necessarily apply only to space, however; sometimes, you might find that a bed that you’re bringing into your new home cannot even fit through the front door. These potential inconveniences should also be taken into consideration when deciding on a rental property.
• Facilities: Another factor to consider is the kind of facilities available to you and your family. For example, if you are renting a condominium unit, you should look at the facilities which are available to you, such as access to the condominium’s gymnasium, swimming pool and enclosed car park.
If you are renting a HDB flat or a landed residential property, you will need to look at the proximity of grocery shops, markets, shopping malls and sports amenities. If these facilities are what you are looking for and they are conveniently available to you, then the property is worth considering.
• Furnishing: Rental properties can be partially furnished, fully furnished or completely void of any furnishings. Moderately furnished rental properties are usually kitted out with light fixtures, air-conditioning and basic laundry and kitchen equipment.
Fully furnished properties more often than not include additional items such as beds, sofas and a television. It is important that you discuss with the landlord the level of furnishing that will be provided beforehand and how much it would cost.
To make sure everyone is on the same page, “Partially Furnished” usually means that the landlord will provide white goods like refrigerator, washing machine and/or dryer.
• State of the property: Inspect your options in person. Check if there are any signs of a leaking roof or a pest infestation. You should also check if there are cracks in the ceiling or in the walls.
While this may not necessarily mean that the property is structurally unsound, you should bring it up beforehand with the landlord, especially if you still, for some reason, plan to rent it. Check with the landlord to see if he or she will take responsibility for the rectification works, if necessary, including expenses.
• Neighbourhood: When you do go for a rental viewing, make sure to observe the neighbourhood of the rental property you are viewing. If you are not tolerant of noise in the neighbourhood, you may want to make sure that the property you are renting is not located near basketball courts or soccer pitches or next to a busy road.
You should be sure that you are comfortable living in the neighbourhood that your rental property is located in, which means taking note of your closest neighbours as well. If you can imagine yourself living there, then the property is worth considering.
• Lease Tenure: Rental contracts are usually 2-years tenure with an option to renew for another year. It is also common to see 1-year contracts, however, landlords usually prefer to former due to the initial investment in furnitures and well-maintenance of the property.
• One-time fees and recurring fees: Other than the monthly rental, you have to put a Security Deposit of 2-months or 1-month equivalent of rental amount when securing the rental property prior to entering the rental contract. Agent fees are usually 1-month equivalent of rental amount for a 2-year lease and half-month for a 1-year lease. Stamping Fee is also payable on a one-time basis. Some apartments may require you to put deposits for facilities cards or car parking decal. Recurring fees include SP Services (electricity, water, gas etc) and cable tv / internet subscriptions etc.