The Signing at the Starbucks

How We rented our first apartment

01. March 2015

Everything started about 9 month ago, when I decided at living in company housing was not what I wanted for the foreseeable future. This was triggered partially by the long commute time to work but foremost by the long distance to to the living place of my girl friend Silver.

The ideal place would have been somewhere in the CBD area, but due to insufficient funding by a couple hundred percent, this wasn’t an option. Another constraint was the fact, that I can afford an entire place for myself. Therefore, I required some housemates. Looking around at the workplace, I found my colleague Jordan and eventually his girlfriend Jasi as well as another (at that time) friend of a friend, Pei. This meant, We had to optimised also for their workplaces and travel patterns. Luckily, Jordan was working with me and therefore has the same commute. Pei on the other hand doesn’t work at the main NUS campus, but near the botanic garden and therefore close to the city center. She had to commute no matter what. I just found a conversation we had in our Facebook group chat about my preferences.

These constraints made the possible locations for housing easier, because less ground to cover, but also harder, because not so many opportunities.

The Hunt

We found some housings on and we each shortlisted one, that we wanted to have a look at. We started off with a couple of apartments in the same condominium complex we live now, but also looked at some other locations (near Queenstown). The problem, was usually that the apartments weren’t furnished or very small and expensive.
The great location, the spacious rooms and the ocean view from the living room window let us settle on the Banyan Condominium. Even though we are on the fourth floor and have a street right at our windows.

After we decided for ourselves, that we would like to take the apartment, the negotiations started.


The opening price for this apartment was S$3900 and that was a little over our budget. We very rapidly checked the rates at the URA website, to see what other people in the same area and apartment size are paying.
Internally we settled on S$3600, with everything. Furniture needed to be included as well. The negotiations went into the direction that with S$3600 we wouldn’t have any beds. But since we didn’t want to sleep on the floor, this was not an option. The negotiations were spiralling around this topic. Jordan kept insisting on S$3600 but somehow we ended up settling on S$3650 with beds and everything. But for what ever reason on the landlord side, a $3600 with a one time $200 fee was more appropriate.

After setting, more paperwork and deposits had to be paid, before finally signing the contract. This wasn’t happening in an office or in the future apartment, as you would expect that to happen, but in a Starbucks, hence the name of this post.

After that we moved in the last July and have been happy here ever since. This is the first time I have actually rented a place by myself, well at least 1/3. We are about to renew our contract for another year.

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