Find your happy place.
Whether you’re here for two years or 10, there’s always a settling-in phase. Follow these helpful tips to thrive.
Lest you want to spend more of your day commuting than necessary, pick a place that’s close to transport hubs as well as your route to work or your kids’ schools. Look for nabes with amenities that matter to you. Likewise, if you want an open balcony and space of at least 1,000 square feet, know that up front. Ditto on whether a swimming pool and on-site gym are must-haves or just nice-to-haves.
The benefits of hiring a realtor or property agent? They can help you to navigate the island, especially if you’re fresh off the boat. They also negotiate with the landlord’s agent, and handle paperwork such as the Letter of Intent (LOI), Stamp Duty and more. Plus, if you sign a two-year tenancy agreement (TA) or lease, you typically won’t have to pay to engage an agent, as the landlord’s agent will split the commission. If you’d rather do your own home hunting, try free apps such as PropertyGuru, 99.co or iProperty.com.sg. They offer listings by housing type, neighbourhoods or nearby MRT stations, affordability calculators, expert advice and much more.
Before you sign your TA, take careful note of its termination clauses, rental payments, utility charges, property inventory and hidden maintenance or repair fees for items in your apartment. “Once you’ve moved in, take photos of any defects such as scratches on walls or peeling door paint and send these to the landlord within 30 days to avoid problems during the handover process,” recommends agent Elaine Ang of ERA Realty Network Singapore. You can terminate the contract with your landlord with a two-month notice period if your lease lasts more than a year – a requirement under the Diplomatic or Repatriate Clause. Click here to understand all of the documents you’ll be asked to sign and more.
Members-only and country-specific associations like The British Club, The American Club or the Indian Women’s Association of Singapore offer newbies events, networking opps, sports teams and more. Newer, private clubs like 1880 and Straits Clan cater to a diverse mix of singles, couples, creatives and professionals.
Whatever your passion, you’ll likely find fellow hobbyists here. Some popular groups: Friends of the Museums, a long-running docent programme for nine museums and heritage institutions; International Cooking Club Singapore, an organisation of hundreds of women from around the globe who bond over home-cooking.
You can also check out our tips on meeting fellow expats in Singapore here.
There are hundreds of non-profits in SG, and you can easily connect with one through Giving.sg. Not only will you find a cause close to your heart, you’re likely to find fellow enthusiasts (and friends) along the way.
You won’t lack for team-sports options in SG – from dragon boat teams, rugby associations and cycling federations, to sailing and swimming clubs and dozens more! Also, get to know the Singapore Sports Hub, which has plenty of affordable lessons, equipment, games and the like, as well as the People’s Association community clubs and centres in your ’hood – membership starts from only $12 for five years.
If you’ve moved to SG but left your mojo behind, that’s understandable. Make time for a little self-care with E.Y. Goh Counselling, which offers counselling and therapy from the comfort of your home.
Singapore isn’t called the Garden City for nothing! More than 300 public parks, green spaces and four natural reserves are interconnected through the vast Park Connector Netowrk, and each one offers walking trails, water activities, picnic spaces and even cool playgrounds. But, SG’s tropical weather means it’s important to stay hydrated. Fill yourself a glass of tap water – SG’s tap water is perfectly safe to drink, just SYK – or stay refreshed with Natural Springs Australia’s purified water, delivered straight to your door along with a dispenser.
Singapore’s healthcare is one of the best in the world, offering cutting-edge technology and personalised care. There’s also a plethora of places for regular healthcare visits for the whole family – check out GPA Dental, Smilefocus and International Medical Clinic.
Get more tips on how you can promote your health while living in Singapore here.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – ranging from acupuncture to herbal remedies, cupping and more – is popular here. You can try such treatments at a private TCM clinic or one affiliated with a reputable hospital. SG is also an ideal place to sample other Asian-style treatments and activities: Thai massage, Japanese onsen (hot spring) baths and reiki (energy healing), Indian-origin Ayurvedic healing, martial arts like tai chi, postnatal Jamu massage, Tibetan singing bowls and more.
If you’re on an Employment or Dependant’s Pass, your medical insurance may be limited. As such, consider “top-up” insurance”, which can help you make up the difference between your coverage limits and the total medical bill.
Consider these pointers before hiring domestic help.
You Want Full-Time Help
Whether it’s for childcare, petcare or housekeeping, a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) is often the go-to for busy families in SG. Source for a suitable helper through word-of-mouth recos, reputable maid agencies like 121 Personnel Services or by browsing through domestic worker exchange sites like Anisya or fair-hiring site We Are Caring. Make sure you know the legal requirements laid out by the Ministry of Manpower before you can hire an FDW.
You PreferPart-Time Help
If it’s weekly, monthly or ad-hoc services you want, turn to cleaning agencies like Amahs on Wheels or easy-to-use apps, which let you book part-time helpers according to convenience. Services for both types of companies may include cleaning, house- or pet-sitting and even laundry pick-up and drop-off .
From The Finder Annual Directory 2020 / Photos: 123RF.com + The Straits Times / January 2020
More on The Finder: