I've said that I was looking for an internship in Singapore a few weeks ago. I found one at SSMC (System on Silicon Manufacturing) and I'm gonna work for them from May to September. The thing is that SSMC is located in Pasir Ris and hence is roughly 1h30 away from where I currently stay.. Therefore I had to find a room closer to my job.

I started to look for one last Sunday. A few researchs on Google lead me the following websites:

 

  • adpost  (personal ranking: 1st/6): good search engine, numerous ads, hp numbers available, some good deals
  • roomsdb (personal ranking: 2nd/6):  good ads, hp numbers available, tells you if there is some agent fees or not
  • sg-house (personal ranking:4th/6) forum, few good deals, very few ads, registration required but takes less than 1min.
  • st701 (personal ranking: 3rd/6) search engine quite powerful, numerous ads, hp numbers available
  • easyroommate (personal ranking:  5th/6) need to register, few ads, need to upgrade account to get hp numbers but possibility to find roommates that fit you..
  • share-accommodation (personal ranking:  6th/6) search engine really poor, need to register, few ads, need to upgrade account to get hp numbers but possibility to find roommates that fit you.
The easiest and fastest thing you can do is to contact directly the hp number given on the ad, ask if the room is still available, ask whatever you wanna know about the room, and arrange a viewing.

Something that you'll realize after a few calls is that in most cases, the person you're talking to is an housing agent. At first it's quite annoying because it rises prices and you need to pay agent fees. However the agent fees are rather low (half of one month, and you only pay for the room you're signing for). This means that you can have several agents looking for free for rooms for you once you've given them your preferences (location, range of price, etc). They will contact you whenever they find something that suits you hoping that you're gonna take the room. Another interesting thins is that most of the agents are available almost 24/7 so you can call them during week-ends or quite late at night.

Then regarding the type of room you can get you have to know that there is different standards.
  • HDB/HDUC are financed by the state in order to locate poor families, students, etc. HDBs can be 1 room (RM), 2RM, etc up to 5RM. (3RMs,4RMs, and 5RMS are the most common ones). Everything but on-campus accommodation is more expensive than HDB/HDUC.
  • Condominium are much more expensive but much nicer. For most of them you'll find a swimming pool, a security checkpoint, a covered car park, a gym (in recent ones), a sauna (in recent ones), etc.
  • Landed. It is basically a house (see st701 above for different types) but you might not be interested in these ones since it is really too expensive.
Let's assume that you're a broke student like me and hence you don't wanna spend more than 1000SGD/month (500€) for renting a room. This means that you can (almost) only go for HDB/HDUC.

When renting a room (or more) in a HDB/HDUC you have to look at several criterions:
  • is it a common room or a master room? (master room are bigger, have their attached bathroom, and hence are more expensive) A master room is usually 100-200 SGD more expensive.
  • is it with AC (aircon) or non-AC? An AC room is usually 50-100 SGD more expensive.
  • is it included amenities? Most flats have their own washing machine, therefore you have to know whether or not water, electricity, the washing machine, internet are included in the rent.
  • Is it close to your work? Why saving 50SGD per month if you're gonna spend 100SGD more in transportation if you're further away?
  • Is there anything else you should know? Most rooms are already occupied either by the owner or tenants or even both. Bringing a friend/a girl to visit you or stay overnight might be forbidden. In most cases it is... It's written in my contract that I can not bring someone to stay overnight..
  • is the GST (taxes) included in the agent fees?
  • is it a 6month/1 year contract? How much is the deposit?
  • and of course all the usual things: cleanliness, can you cook (in most cases only light cooking is allowed), is it furnished or not (most rooms are furnished), are your future roommates nice, is it quiet (you might not like to stay in a flat where there is loudy kids..), is it close to the mrt/hawkercenter/shopping malls?
Finally one last thing that might be surprising or even shocking for you is that in most ads you'll see some race requirements such as "only Chinese wanted" or "only Indian wanted", etc. This is Singapore. Even though it is a multi-cultural country, with three important communities: Chinese, Malays, and Indians, these people barely get along together. Sharing a flat with an Indian family is something that most Chinese people will avoid doing... And don't be surprised is there is some ads saying "only ladies" or "for ladies only". Therefore I'd say that if you wanna find roommates that have the same European/American culture, that might let you bringing people to sleep overnight, or even let you organize houseparties you'd better find someone on easyroommate.com or share-accommadation.sg (see above).