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    Rental Dos and Do Nots

  • Do not procrastinate. Start your search for a home as early as possible. A few weeks is probably about right to find a choice home. You can find one in less time too, especially if you and your agent are in synch. But don't forget, in all likelihood, you'll be working your full-time job all the while, which essentially only leaves the evenings and weekend hours to be on the hunt for your dream house.

  • Do visit the property you are planning to rent. A picture may say more than a thousand words, but nothing beats actually seeing the place from the inside as well as the outside.

  • Do not forget to check for hidden costs. Find out what extra costs the rent includes and does not include. Air-con servicing, Electricity, Gas, Water, Phone, Internet, they all add up, so make sure you are aware of the total before you sign along the dotted line.

  • Do make sure the building is safe. Are the locks in good working order? Is the area well lit? Remember that low crime doesn't mean no crime. Also, is there a sprinkler system, are there fire-proof doors, fire-proof stairwells, fire ladders?

  • Do not sign any documents if you don't fully understand the terms and conditions. Have them explained to you by a lawyer or a friend who's in the know.

  • Do take a look around the neighborhood. Do you like what you're seeing? Is the property management staff forthcoming, helpful? Are the common areas tidy, well maintained? Any noise coming from the neighbors? Any construction going on or perhaps planned? Look for project announcement billboards nearby. Are mosquitos a problem? Ask a few people, because you don't want to end up in a Dengue hot-spot. Are the walls radiating heat after dark from too much direct sun exposure?

  • Do not leave any questions for tomorrow that you can ask today. By all means ask your agent or the landlord if anything is not completely clear to you. Incidentally, it pays to be frank with your agent and your landlord; there's nothing worse than a misunderstanding cropping up during the signing of the contract, or worse, in the small print that you missed, coming back to haunt you later.

  • Do see at least 5-7 properties before you decide to select the one. The number of properties in Singapore is huge, and there are many many more coming online in the next few years. There's no need to rush.

  • Do not assume that asking rent is the same as actual rent. If you have one or two convincing reasons for a 10-20% lower rent, then go ahead and negotiate. Of course mutual give and take always works best. In light of this, always pay your rent in time, try to resolve little issues around the house yourself, and maintain the property well, be house proud, so that when it comes to renew your lease, your landlord will be keen to have you stay on.

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