Condo or House: Can’t decide on which to rent? Fellow expats help out by sharing their views…
Home may be where the heart is but it’s also where you have to eat, sleep and relax. Luckily, Singapore offers a few options of city living depending on you and your family’s needs. Houses generally provide more space and privacy but lack the amenities and can be a bit more work. Condos tend to be closer to main roads, making catching public transportation easier but noise level a bit louder.
When searching for a place to call home, it’s important to start with a list of priorities, knowing that each option will require some sacrifice.
Sense of Community
Thomas Lanyi, who first lived in Singapore from 2001 to 2007 and currently from January 2013 (with a stint in between in Vietnam), lives in a condo in Bukit Timah. He and his wife have two boys and enjoy the lifestyle condo living provides. “We have small children who appreciate the large pool, playground, and the ease of meeting people in the common areas.”
With less than 100 units, Thomas’s condo offers him the perfect balance between community and privacy, while offering a sense of security for his young family. He also notes that having a large balcony in his condo really helps give the illusion of more space. And with a busy work and home schedule, “I like not having to think too much about maintenance”.
But he adds, “Houses are great too!” Before having kids, he lived in a landed property in Holland Village and thinks that once the kids are a bit older, they might consider renting a landed home again.
Privacy & Freedom
Matt Harris, originally from the US, moved into a Bukit Timah house four years ago and has remained there since. While he did not move here with kids, he and his wife did come with two Great Danes, a cat, and a baby on the way.
“Along with price, and location, we really wanted a place for the dogs to be able to run around without riding up and down the elevator all day.” His three bedroom, two-bath house gives him the garden, the space and the privacy that he likes.
While maintenance can be an expensive challenge, living in a house provides a freedom for the Harris family they might not otherwise have. “We were able to easily rent a bounce house for our daughter’s birthday party and recently, were able to spend a morning making bubbles with the ease and privacy of our own garden.”
Matt is happy to live in a house, but does note the trade-off of not having the amenities and community feel of a condo. As such, he makes extra effort to seek social opportunities for his kids. But he says with a laugh, “With two Great Danes, I’m not worried about security.”
Questions To Ask Yourself…
- Do you have time for home care? If you prefer a low-maintenance place, choose a condo.
- What’s your budget? Landed properties are more expensive, especially in exclusive locations like Orchard, Tanglin and Bukit Timah.
- Do you have a car? Landed houses are generally situated away from the MRT, shopping malls, banks and clinics.
- Do you treasure your privacy? Landed properties are usually spaced out, and put more distance between you and your neighbours.
- Do you want a garden? Some condos have playgrounds but won’t allow you your personal garden space. But gardens need attention – bugs will become a problem if you neglect it.
By Kathleen Siddell, The Finder, August 2015