Monday, August 17, 2009

House Hunters International...

Coming to you via special request - a personalized version of House Hunters International. I've only seen the show twice myself, so bear with me...

Today we are visiting Singapore with a single, young professional and are looking for a new apartment! The renter has some "must haves":
1. Near MRT (train) or bus since she has no car
2. Pool
3. Space for visitors :)
4. Safe location

I spent time yesterday and today looking at 14 apartments in 7 buildings, and I have chosen my top four. We will revisit those today before deciding on the final new home! All are within S$100 for monthly rent, so price is not a decision factor. First, please note the places that did not make the list.

Icon - Great location, amenities but small size, only one bedroom or studio.

The Sail - Super new, great amenities (aqua gym!), larger studio with partiton, but surrounded by ongoing construction, so not a lot of development for supermarket, dining options, etc.

The Plaza - Low budget option was very appealing from a pricing perspective but can't compete with the layout, location or updates of the other buildings.

#1 - Emerald Garden
Only a couple blocks from work, but a little farther to the MRT. Pool is in the central area - it's very nice but a little small. However, these units were much more spacious, each having 2 bedrooms and a larger living area. It is an older development, but still very safe. It has good views of the city and is off of Club Street which has a lot of good, trendy restaurants. Apparently a really good pizza place right next door to the property. Follow Club Street a couple blocks and you're into Chinatown. There's a Cold Storage (supermarket having more "European" foods) a block away as well. There is currently construction between the property and my walk to work for the new MRT line that is suppose to start carrying passengers in 2012. Mostly couples and singles live here. The apartment has a nice closet in the master, but none in the guest. The kitchen is a little smaller. Furnishings were nice with a new couch and the morning sun comes into the master. On the 5th floor.

#2 - Tanglin View
Out farther from the city, but not surrounded by other high rises. The MRT is just across a busy highway and another block (there is a pedestrian overpass to cross the highway) and a bus stop is nearby as well. There are trees and green all over the property so it feels less concrete jungle. The pool and club room area look very nice, pool is big. More families here. The apartment itself is nice, a little older. A king bed fits in master, so my queen would be okay. There was a great breeze flowing through the apartment and there's a gate on the front door so you can have your door open too, but the gate locked. That was a nice feature. Again, good closets and even a small storage room off the outside next to the washer and dryer. Included rods to hang and dry clothes as well. The gym was fairly small, but equipment seemed good. The kitchen was a bit older. Shops, supermarkets, etc. are either just past the MRT station or take the bus/train one stop. I had a view of the MRT and even towards the city, 14th floor.

#3 - Harbour Lights
Again, outside the city but down by the harbor. Across the street from Vivo City (Singapore's largest retail destination) which has 2 supermarkets and plenty of other shopping I'm sure. Sentosa Island is also just across the way and apparently you can ride your bike there (doubt that will be me). The bus/MRT stations are just outside the property, less than a block of walking. The pool is a little smaller as is the gym, however both are right outside my front door. The apartment is on the first level looking at the pool (current tennant says not that noisy) and the gym is in the basement level below. The master in the layout also faces the pool, but the current tennant swapped it with the guest for more privacy. Both have big closets. Need to work out the furniture as the tennant owns everything currently there.

#4 - River Place
Closer into the city but only a bus stop nearby. Closest MRT is 0.6km, which I realize isn't that far, but it's hot and humid here! Next to the river with an easy walk across and down to Clarke Quay and Boat Quay where there are lots of restaurants/nightlife. Supermarkets and other shops are also across the river. Even though in town, there's not too much building around it. The apartment is on the 8th floor and has a great view of the river area and downtown. There are nice big windows with a balcony - the only one I saw. Master bedroom faces same direction, but 8 floors up no one's peering in. Only one bedroom (unless I'm remembering wrong), but the bath does have slider to block off the tub for guests. Apartment is quite updated and furnished well. There are lots of closets and the front closets go very deep, which is nice and not common. There is a maze of pools and lots of green landscaping outside. The club house is also very nice with a BBQ pit, game room and home theater. Security is very tight and it was hard for us to even leave!

So there you have it. Which one will it be?? I honestly don't know, there were features of each that I liked. If I gave it away in my descriptions above, please let me know b/c currently I'm a bit torn. I need to let the realator know by morning so that I have a chance of moving in this week. Vote your choice or which one you think I'll pick in the poll.