7 Must-Know Tips For Renting In Singapore, As Revealed By Singaporean Millennials Who’ve Left Their Nest

26 July 2022 | BY

Moving out is a rite of passage to most adults, even before buying a home. Here’s what you should know before you move out!


Life is full of firsts to celebrate – first holiday, first love, and the list goes on. That said, nothing gives us more satisfaction than the day we receive the keys to our first home. Not only does it give us our own personal space away from our families, it shows that we have grown into independent adults who can fend for ourselves. In other words, we’ve made it.

But we can’t have our cake and eat it. As surreal as moving out sounds, we have to be prepared for the endless responsibilities which we most likely have taken for granted while living under our parent’s roof. To get you started, here are 7 tips for renting in Singapore that’ll do you great wonders so you can proudly say my house, my rules to whoever visits.

1. Understand your hierarchy of priorities when choosing a unit

Image credit: TheSmartLocal

During the house-hunting phase, there are many factors to consider when choosing a unit. Truth is, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a unit that’s a 100% match to your dream home. As nicely expressed by Chow, who has been renting with 2 colleagues for 10 months, you’d have to understand your hierarchy of priorities to narrow down your options.

Image credit: TheSmartLocal

These include things like the space of the unit, number of rooms, and whether the unit comes with or without furniture. 

For fresh graduates who have just started building up your capital, the most cost-effective option would be a unit that comes with furniture already so more of your necessities can go to rental fees. As for rental fees, a reasonable range to fork out for yourself would be between $500 and $1,200 per room, although you should always try to negotiate before sealing the deal.

Check out this house tour of Chow’s rental unit for more inspiration.

2. Browse Carousell for free or affordable furniture 

The quest to design our dream home comes with a hefty price tag. This makes going the extra mile to do our own research and DIY very helpful in lessening the blow to our finances.

Simply state your minimum price to be $0, you’ll be surprised by the number of FOC pieces out there.
Image credit: Carousell

According to Jason, who has been renting for 2 years, one trick to pull from your sleeves is to scour through Carousell, where you can look forward to a treasure trove of affordable, even free hand-me-down furniture that are still of good quality for a second life in your home.

3. Get tenant insurance for coverage on personal belongings

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In the world of #adulting, the word “insurance” will be thrown around plenty of times everywhere, as seen with the many types of general insurance that you’re encouraged to buy.

Even more so with the recent spate of home fires, GIA CEO Mr Ho Kai Weng says that you cannot understate the importance of getting tenant insurance for coverage on your personal belongings once you move into your new place.

While the property itself is protected by the insurance purchased by the landlord, your personal belongings will not be covered under the policy. After all, there are times when Murphy’s Law rings true, and we may be hit with an unfortunate incident of floods, burglary or, touch wood, the house burns down.

To determine the amount of coverage needed, tenants are encouraged to calculate the replacement costs of all your personal belongings, especially for luxuries so that your assets are not under-insured. Typically, the average tenant insurance costs around $300 a year, which can be broken down to around a cup of coffee a day.

4. Be fully sure of tenancy agreement when signing lease

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Now, we’re all guilty of clicking “agree” even before we’ve fully read and understood the terms and conditions of any internet platform. Avoid falling into this trap yet again by being fully sure of your tenancy agreement before you sign the lease, an important tip by Jessica, who has been renting for 2 years with her partner.

An important part of the tenancy agreement would be the diplomatic clause, which allows you to break the agreement and move out of the home without being heavily penalised, in the event you have a change of plans, or you want to cut your losses faster. 

Other things to note would be the privacy, the maximum amount of maintenance costs that can be borne by the tenant, and the security deposit, which is usually worth a month’s rent for a 1-year contract – you certainly don’t want your landlord to take advantage of you while the lease is ongoing.

5. Take note and keep track of your utility payments

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List the things to take note of when moving out and money will surely claim the top spot. Of the many personal finance tips out there, keeping track of your utility payments is one of the most important. 

After all, it is usually our parents who pay for the water, electricity and internet in our family homes, so it’s likely that we will forget to account for them when doing our budgeting. 

As recounted by John, a media creative executive, he and his roommates never received the statement for their water bills from NEA in their first few months after moving in, so they assumed that the landlord had paid it for them already. Lo and behold, the bills were actually sitting in someone else’s mailbox, which they happened to find just by chance.

So, always check for all payments – remember, there’s no free lunch in this world.

6. Get to know your neighbours & your neighbourhood

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As the Chinese proverb goes, “good neighbours are more important than close relatives that live far away”. Because you’re literally living next door to each other, it’s important to get to know your neighbours, as well as to be familiar with your neighbourhood and the facilities within, according to Candice, who has been renting for 3 years with a friend.

When you first move in, make the effort to give cake or some food to your neighbours to establish good relations with them.

Also, familiarise yourself and locate the important amenities in the neighbourhood, such as the nearest clinic, the hawker centres and food courts, the supermarket and the ATM. It also helps to ensure that it is safe during both day and night, something you can look out for during the house-hunting phase.

7. Save up at 6 months of living expenses before moving out

Image credit: TheSmartLocal

After all the effort spent in settling down to our new place, the last thing you want is to give that all up and return to your parent’s home just because your reserves have run dry.

Save face for yourself by ensuring that you have at least 6 months of living expenses before moving out, as a financial buffer in case an emergency occurs.

Top tips for renting in Singapore to leave the nest smoothly

Image credit: TheSmartLocal

Moving out is a rite of passage to most adults, and it’s getting more common for young adults to want to do so before getting married and buying a BTO or resale flat. As much as we love our families, personal space is always important, and is one of the best ways for us to look after our mental health and wellbeing especially in stressful periods of time.

While the journey may seem like an uphill battle filled with curveballs and responsibilities, it’s still possible for you to weather through them once you’ve mastered the basics with these moving out tips. Slowly but surely, you’ll get to emerge as the fully certified, fully independent adult you once dreamt of being.

For more guides on moving out:

Cover image adapted from: TheSmartLocal

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