Why I’m OK With Paying $2.2K/Month To Rent A Room In A Condo With 5 Other Flatmates

1 April 2024 | BY

Here’s the story of why one Singaporean is willing to fork out $2.2K/month in rent just to live independently of her family.

moving away from family

There are myriad reasons why more young adults are moving out of their family homes. From wanting more personal space to moving closer to work, it’s a rite of passage these days for us to “fly the nest” and experience what it’s like to live independently. Wern, a Singaporean who’s lived in both the UK and New Zealand, is one of the many millennials who’ve left the roost and is now living on her own.

But she’s not so much on her own. Living with her in the massive 5-bedroom condo are 5 other housemates that, before her first day under its roof, were total strangers to Wern. Here’s why she took the leap to move out, how she almost got swindled by a phoney agent, and how she got along with her flatmates.

Moving away from family to have a little distance

condo bedroom with yellow lighting and room decor and a bedImage credit: Wern

Wern is no stranger to living independently. During her time in the UK and New Zealand, she stayed in student accommodations, shared flats, and even a studio apartment. When she finally returned to Singapore, going back to living with her family was uncomfortable, to say the least.

“I like to sleep early while my family is used to staying up late,” Wern said in a Lemon8 post, adding that her commute to work daily took more than 2 hours from where she used to live with her parents. So she decided to take the plunge and move away from her family. 

Almost got scammed while finding a flat in Singapore

When starting a search for a rental place, most of us would have the same requirements. A place that is clean, preferably near transit options, and in a safe-ish neighbourhood. Wern’s criteria was all of that and some. However, during her search, she was almost tricked by nefarious scammers who were preying on the multitudes of Singaporeans also finding their own place.

lady staring unhappily at a computer screenImage for illustration purposes only.
Image credit: TheSmartLocal

“During my flat-hunting journey, I stumbled upon a gem of a place in a prime spot at a reasonable price,” Wern shared. “It looked like any other listing and there was nothing out of the ordinary at the time.” Then, the property agent requested Wern to pay a holding deposit before the viewing. This was the first red flag.

Thankfully, Wern’s intuitions told her to cross-check the agent’s information with the Council for Estate Agencies’ public register, lo-and-behold, the number she was texting did not match up with the number of the agent on the website, indicating that it was an imposter trying to fleece her.

The original—and legitimate—agent then alerted the authorities about the fraudulent listing, and Wern got to live another day. “A little due diligence really goes a long way in avoiding those pesky scams!”

Finally, Wern found the flat she currently lives in that includes a private room and partial furnishings like the bed, tables, and wardrobes, all for $2.2K a month in rent.

Maintaining good relationships with housemates in a shared home

moving away from home - computer desk and screenImage credit: Wern

One of the most daunting parts of moving out of a familiar space is having to forge new friendships with strangers in a tight, confined environment. Fortunately for Wern, she was lucky to have met 5 other housemates who could all get along.

“We share snacks regularly and hang out for dinners occasionally,” Wern shared. The 6 flatmates also went out trick-or-treating during last year’s Halloween, which was one of Wern’s most memorable moments of her stay so far. 

So how does she do it? “Maintaining a good relationship with housemates depends on the ability to communicate effectively and respecting each other’s boundaries,” she advised. “Being considerate of each other’s needs can create a harmonious living environment.”

“It’s the little acts of kindness and understanding that can make shared living a pleasant experience for everyone involved. I am really thankful for my current flatmates.”

Saving up for an emergency fund & budgeting properly every month

moving away from home bedroomImage credit: Wern

Another concern for people renting is the financial burden. From security deposits to the monthly rent payments, the moment anyone signs a contract will mean that they have to devote a significant chunk of their salary or savings to their landlords. Plus, they’d have to also have an emergency fund in case any emergencies happen along the way.

Wern has a couple of habits she adheres to in order to keep her spending in check. For starters, she uses the Seedly app to track her monthly spending which she reviews at the end of each month. She also has 2 days every week that she deems “no spending days” where she’ll avoid spending money at all as a fun challenge for herself.

Last, she also set up an automated deposit that immediately sets aside a portion of her paycheque to an investment account. “The key is to make saving a priority and a habit, not an afterthought.”

Moving away from family to live with strangers for $2.2K/month

It can feel liberating to be able to have a space you can call your own, free from the watchful eyes of your parents. And this is what Wern wanted when she started her search for flats 6 months ago. Now, her relationship with her family is even better than it was.

“This ‘love at a distance’ allows for personal space, leading to less friction and a greater recognition of the small acts of kindness that might have gone unnoticed,” she said. This distance she says also shaved her commuting time to her job by 2 hours. Even then, she still takes the time to meet with her family once or twice a week.

“It’s a beautiful realisation that sometimes, a little space can bring hearts closer together, making the times you do spend with family even more special.”

You can follow Wern on her rental journey at Lemon8 and Instagram

Read other rental perspectives from Singaporeans”

Cover image credit: Wern
This article was originally published on 29th March 2024. It was last updated on 1st April 2024 correcting the number of flatmates from 6 to 5.

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