While most adult Singaporeans still continue to live with their parents until they get married, renting is becoming an option for more and more locals. Whether they’re married couples in need of a place to stay until their HDB flats or condos are ready, simply have had enough of living at home or don’t have a family here to fall back on, renters are growing in number.
Unfortunately, most people’s strategy for renting a place consists solely of calling up an agent and then praying something good will come along. And that’s why they end up paying $2000 for a tiny room in a suburban condo. Whether you’re doing your own research or relying on an agent to do the legwork, here are a couple of things you can do in order to lower the price.
Budget based on your own research
Relying 100% on an agent to do all the necessary research is going to result in your paying more than necessary 90% of the time. Your agent has to handle a ton of properties each day and obviously won’t be able to devote as much time to the analysis of price and competition as you can.
A quick search on the following will help you determine how much you should be paying for a particular property:
- X-value – The X-value indicates the sale and market value of any residential property in Singapore. Check the X-value here by entering your address and square footage. At the moment, rents are declining, so you can probably afford to bargain for a little less than the X-value. In a period in which rents are on an upswing, you might have to accept a slightly higher price instead.
- Competition – Get your agent to check how much competition a particular unit has in the same block and housing complex, filtering out the fake listings from the real.
- Your own alternatives – The more alternatives you have, the more you can afford to bargain the price down. Obviously, it’s in your best interests to amass more alternatives.
Offer to go without air conditioning
If utilities will be included as part of the rent and you’re the sort of person who can handle Singapore weather without air conditioning, tell the landlord you won’t use it and see if you can get the rent lowered based on that. The landlord simply has to confiscate the air con remote controls to your room or unit to prevent you from turning on the air con units.
Experienced landlords are often wary of tenants using the air conditioning excessively as it can get mighty expensive. I once visited the rental flat of an acquaintance and discovered they left the air con on almost 24/7, which must have been a nightmare for the landlord.
If you’re wondering how you’re going to survive without air conditioning, the obvious answer would be to rely on fans. I don’t use the air con anymore because of sinus issues and can confirm that it’s really not that bad once you get used to it.
Offer to pay the rent several months in advance
While not everyone experiences problems collecting their rent, the lure of getting a big lump sump upfront is often enough to convince a landlord to knock a little bit off your monthly figure.
Offer to pay your rent 3 or 6 months in advance in exchange for a discount on the monthly sum. Make sure this is incorporated into your rental agreement so you don’t end up in an ugly dispute later on.
Of course, you take on a bit of the risk yourself, as if you get evicted or decide to move out suddenly because of problems with the landlord or property, you might have a hard time trying to get your money back, although technically if the contract allows you to a lawyer can probably wrangle it back for you.
Have you ever managed to get a discount on your rent in Singapore? Tell us how you did it in the comments!