Tenants in Singapore used to comprise mostly of foreign working professionals and students, but these days, even Singaporeans are choosing to move out and rent on their own. More space? More independence? Less fighting for the toilet in the morning? All of the above, maybe.
But one of the biggest things about renting is always the cost. Anddddd, there are so many ways to think about it: Can I afford it? Is it worth it? Are there better options out there?
To make things easier, we tabulated the average room rental prices of HDB rooms based on the value of whole unit rentals, so at least you have a better idea of…
How much does it cost to rent a room in Singapore?
If you’re on a budget, HDB rooms are the cheapest option out there. More specifically, HDB common bedrooms. These can cost as little as below $500 a month in heartlands like Woodlands, or slightly more in city fringe areas like Bishan or Queenstown.
*Master bedrooms are basically the main bedrooms and come with a private, attached toilet. Common bedrooms are… the non-master bedrooms (is there any better way to describe it?!), which are slightly smaller than the master bedroom, sans your own toilet.
Tips to negotiate rent
How long has the room been in the rental market?
This is one of the most important things to note to assess your bargaining power.
If the room has been vacant and in the market for some time, the landlord is essentially losing potential rental income for every day that it’s not rented out.
And if that’s the case, you’ll find yourself in a better bargaining position as a prospective tenant. They’ll be more likely to be more accommodating (see what we did there?) when you ask to lower the rent, since they get to start collecting rental income. And you get a better deal. So it’s a win-win!
Know the market
Compare the asking rent with that of similar rooms nearby. While you’re searching for room rentals online, bookmark other options so you have some points of comparison.
If you’ve done your homework and you know that, for instance, the room you’re viewing is asking for a higher than average rent… You know where we’re going with this, right?
Think beyond the rent
If it’s a fixed price kind of situation, try negotiating for other things instead so you at least maximise what you’re paying for.
Maybe a fan or a dehumidifier? More drawers if you’re a chronic hoarder? Even the little things like hangers (anyone who’s had to move will know that it’s an absolute pain in the behind to pack hangers). The landlord might be more agreeable to this even rent is non-nego – especially when it comes to things that they can also reuse for future tenants.
Look outside the box
So, this tip isn’t so much to negotiate rent than to find rentals that are more affordable to begin with.
The average monthly rent for a HDB common bedroom in Bishan is $660. In Ang Mo Kio – just 1 MRT station away – the number drops to $600. And a little farther in Yishun, it’s about $520.
Ok, centrally located areas are more expensive. We hear you thinking, duh. But here’s why it makes much more sense to be flexible with your location when renting in Singapore: Unlike cities like Melbourne or Los Angeles where it can take a good 2 hours to get from the suburbs to the city centre… Have you seen how small Singapore is? People drive across the island from Jurong to Changi Village to eat Hokkien Mee.
Which is actually great for getting around! Because no matter which neighborhood you live in, you’re never that far away from things.
So if you’re looking for a rental in a certain area, try expanding your search outwards to 1-2 of the neighboring estates, and you might just find yourself a much better deal.
Find your successor
As in, the next tenant. If you’re not planning to renew your lease after it expires, offer to find the next tenant in exchange for, say, half or one month’s rent off.
This saves your landlord a whole ton of time since they don’t have to do it themselves (or if they were to engage a property agent, they’d have to pay a commission fee anyway).
Or if you are intending to renew your lease, negotiate! It costs your landlord money to move you out and bring a new tenant in, so you’ve got some leverage here.
Renting at a good rate
Now that you have a better idea of the average room rental rates of each neighborhood in Singapore, try using these tips to find your own place for a below average price. Here’s a guide on the HDB room rental process!
Ok, go get a room, y’all. Sorry not sorry, ending off with this bad joke.