Note: I am post-dating these entries to make it more chronological. I apologize for any strange mistakes that I might make.
After a night’s rest, the plan for the day was to start our apartment hunt. Ron had been looking at apartments online and talking to agents by phone while we were in the US but without much luck.
He started the morning by looking through the Straits Times and almost missed the following:
Heritage View 3+1 bdrms. 1163 sqft. Fully furn. High flr. Full facilities. Near MRT/sch/mkt/Biopolis. Immed. $4.8K. XXXX-XXXX
Ron called but no answer so he left a message. Prices have been crazy high with many other agents, in the $5K-6K range whereas last year it was only $3K. Apparently the real estate market has been going sky high the past year. In part because of the two new casinos being built here, one is being built by the Sands Las Vegas.
Anyways, we had our first meal in Holland Village at a noodle shop. I’ll have to go back and find out the name.
I had cha siu wonton noodles and Ron had some sort of saucy chicken dish:
We went shopping in Sim Lim Square for electronics. We just had to get a power adapter for our Wii. We had appointments with some tenant agents later in the afternoon… then the fun began.
One agent was nice enough to pick us up in her car and drove us around to a few places, Bayville had 2 apts and one at Himiko Court. They were all pretty far from school and a bit on the older side.
Jeannie for the above Heritage View (HV) listing eventually called us and we planned a viewing. The place was great! Newer and cleaner with nicer amenities BUT on the pricier side. We thought we could talk her and the landlady down to $4.5K but weren’t sure. The previous apts we viewed were $3.5K.
We had met up with our flatmates, Justine and Roli (and her husband) to view the last place and another apt in Normantan Park (NP). The Normantan apt was only $3K but it was lacking A/C in the bedrooms.
These agents though were kind of pushy and intimidating in a way. The two agents were rushing us to sign a letter of intent and make a deposit so we wouldn’t lose that apartment. They kept on encouraging us to make a counter offer and sign papers that evening. The flatmates decided to go have dinner to think it over and we ended up being together for quite a while.
We had a long debate about the benefits of HV apt versus NP. HV pluses included: walking distance to school (10 minutes), nice amenities, ability to network with other students, clean and spacious apartment, close to MRT and buses, landlady willing to negotiate, agent not pressuring us at all. NP pluses included: affordable rent, large and spacious apartment, landlady willing to install A/C units in the 3 rooms that did not have it. The decision at dinner was the bid for the Normantan Park apt for $3.3K and requiring the landlady to install the A/C. The cost savings was what drove the decision. The agents gladly made some calls and wanted us to sign papers ASAP.
Ron was having second thoughts and called the agent (Jeannie) for the HV apt but no answer… until we arrived back at the INSEAD residence but this was after we already agreed to meet with the agents for the NP apt. The NP agents were coming to meet up with Ron at 12AM! Seems pretty desperate, huh?
Jeannie told Ron that dropping the rent to $4.5K should not be a problem but she wouldn’t be able to confirm until she spoke with the landlady in the morning. The networking ability at HV drove the decision now to live in HV. So what to do with the NP agents coming over right now?
Ron had to go sit in the agent’s car for over an hour calling back and forth to all the flatmates trying to figure out what to do. It was after midnight and the agents were expecting a decision at this time? Sounds unreasonable to me. Eventually Ron was able to get away after making that argument and had to pay them off with S$200 each! They said they would apply it to the cost of the deposit if we decided in the morning that we wanted the place.
Well, we’re out S$400 because we chose the HV apt. It was a pretty stressful situation though with those 2 agents for NP pressuring us into making a decision that night. They were playing on our nervousness by convincing us that we would lose the apartment if we did not make a decision right then and there. They know how to play a good game. The apt we have is much better so I think we still won out.