A STORY TO TELL
From the worst experience to the best housing solution in Singapore
Studying at Maastricht University gave me the opportunity to go abroad on exchange in 2012. Luckily I was one of the students who got accepted at the Singapore Management University (SMU) to study Business, which was my first choice anyways. Henceforward, the information hassle about flight prices, school dates, public transportation and last but not least room rental offers began.
Soon after, I realized that gathering information was easy and transparent except for the room and condo rental in Singapore. Many people offer something, but I wanted to make sure that I will not have a bad surprise on my arrival. After some conversations with several agents and local people from property pages, everybody asked me to transfer a one month deposit to their Chinese/Singapore bank account.
The first idea that crossed my mind at that time >> if I transfer 1.000 Euro to some Asian account and this is a scam, I will never get my money back. <<
Being that skeptical I logged on to several expat forums to find a more trustworthy person until I found this German guy Dominic, who seemed to be a very nice guy from Hamburg, working and living in Singapore for already 5 years. Dominic was looking for a flat mate to subsidize his rent. He sent me these nice pictures of a small but comfortable room. That was exactly what I was looking for.
I transferred him a deposit of 1.000 Euro to his German bank account what seemed quite safe to me at that time.
After a 19 hour flight I arrived in Singapore but Dominic did not answer the phone. However, I had his address and took the public transportation to his condo.
My first impression was positive; the only question about where Dominic was, made me feel uneasy. After waiting for another 3 hours until midnight he walked up to the entrance, quite unconcerned, saying something like "Hi Mo! Sorry to be late I had a meeting which took a little longer" .... I left such a comment without reply, being tired and having a feel of distrust.
At that time I had been traveling for 25 hours and waiting another 3 hours in front of his door just to get the shock I needed. I set a foot in that dwelling to find a scene of cockroaches passing my way and seeing the flat that was a real mess – trash, cartons, luggage cases, cloth everywhere and an indefinable strange smell was the highlight of his apartment. The kitchen was probably never cleaned in the past 5 years and my room was not different. Please take a look of the pictures below ...
After some discussions I have left the apartment, took a taxi to China Town and stayed the next 6 days in a hotel for $100 per night. The next day I contacted an agent to show me around until I found a nice room in a condo for $1800 + utility expenses + $1800 agency fee.
In conclusion this was the worst start of my Singapore Exchange I could ever think of. As a matter of course, Dominic did not pay me back anything and the entire experience added up to $3000 on extra cost, disregarding the stress.
However, my negative experience led to the outcome that I shared an apartment with Desmond, a Singaporean business man who already entered the rental and real estate market. We became great friends and had the idea to beware students and expats who come to Singapore from similar experiences.
The need for some major service improvement in the housing sector was obvious and we founded a company with the goal to provide an extraordinary, full transparent and reliable housing service at a 1 stop solution.
Today, Desmond and me are even greater friends and business partners, who share the same values and follow the same goals. It´s the combination of our cultures and the high end service orientation we provide to all our customers that makes us outstanding and a foremost company.
We care about you as individual and take care of you as I wish some had taken for me when I went to Singapore the first time.