Day 1, Apartment Viewing #3, Rental Agent #1 – Me: “Apparently I am not making myself clear; we are not going to rent an apartment with a squatty potty.” Although our rental agent had assured me that he was working for us, the dwellings he presented made me question his commitment to finding Caroline and me the perfect place (or even a halfway decent flat).
Welcome to the world of apartment hunting in Singapore! Having arrived on December 30th, we had 10 days to find, clean and move into a place before orientation week kicked off on January 9th. Fortunately, we had been through the routine of rapidly setting up a home on a multiple occasions while living in China.
Day 2, Apartment Viewing #2, Rental Agent #3 – Landlord: “I’m happy to rent to you two, but I already have another offer from a guy who says he only wants a twin mattress and small chair.” (Upon declining this “fully furnished apartment”, I received a text from the agent stating: “Landlord decided to go with the other guy anyway. Welcome to Singapore!”)
Day 2, Apartment Viewing #7, Rental Agent #5 – Success! Not only is the two bedroom apartment only a 12 minute walk from school, but also was the former residence of a tenant with exceptionally strong cleaning skills. And at “only SGD 2000/month”, we should be able to make rent.
While this happy ending may encourage others to take the road less traveled and look beyond Heritage (probably the most popular apartment complex for INSEAD students), I wouldn’t recommend it to most. There is something to be said for eliminating uncertainty, settling in gracefully and foregoing meetings with landlords with unrealistic expectations… Then again, if I were to move to Cambodia tomorrow, I’m sure I would look for housing the same way I always have.