I was down in JB and SG for the last four days, hunting for a room to stay. Three agents, six rooms. Six different environment and story to share. I dislike one of the basket agent for leaving my at Commonwealth-wrong-address the first night but oh well...he turned out to be the best after all. Location and names will not be disclosed to protect privacy.
Room 1 - I arrived about 30mins earlier to check out the surrounding. It was gorgeous, HDB with food stall everywhere, clinics, library and bus stand all within 5 to 10 minutes walking distance. I fell in love with it instantly knowing that it's a 15 minute direct bus ride to my work place. Unfortunately, the room is not in any of the HDB. It is almost a store room above a restaurant. There is no proper gate, it's dirty, messy, everyone's clothes everywhere. There is no living room, only a toilet shared by 5 people linked directly to the dusty kitchen. The room is about 1.3m x 2.5m. No joke, a bed and a cupboard leaving space enough for one to walk three steps into bed and three steps back the door. I really think it's a store room. Agent said the owner willing to reduce SGD500 to SGD460 because I'm a professional. Kthxbai.
Room 2 - a bit far from my work place. The room is vast! I can do a little ballet twirl within it, a bed, a wardrobe and a study table. The owner is an old lady. The moment she sees me, she asked for my passport. Huhu...nice intro, lady. Everything is cool except for the distance and her paranoia - she asked for my work schedule because she wants to know what time I leave and come back to the house. I asked if my family can drop by to visit me (not staying over, mind you) and she said the visitor must give her their passport when they come. Crazy...kthxbai. The only thing which made me contemplate was the combo of SGD400 + vast room. Distance, transit and paranoid owner overruled.
Room missing - Went there with the given address, no such block number. Call the agent for direction until no credit. Went back furious and swore I would strangle the agent the next day.
Room missing - text the owner on day 1 if i can view her room, 'sure'. I asked if I can view at 5pm, 'after 6:30pm'. Then I asked for the full address to view the room at 7pm, 'today no view. Come tomorrow'. I text her again for the address to view tomorrow, 'confirm with me tomorrow'. Text her the next day for the address, 'view only after 7:30pm'. Kthxbai.
Room 3 - this is my dream room! High floor, vast room, big windy window. Bus stop and cheap food court immediately below, dozens of shops nearby as it is almost in the heart of the city. Fell in love with it instantly. It's a bit costly but it's REALLY near my work place. The only thing is...it's an Indian family. I'm not talking about the racist issue but I'm afraid we will be culturally different.
Room 4 - Basket agent back in action. This one has been voted the scariest owner from me. She should be in her mid thirties, married with no children. A heavily renovated 5 rooms HDB to 3 rooms. Her room and living room is damn big. Being big is one thing, clean as well but it is so freaking messy and mismatched. One cupboard here for her husband golf trophy. Another cupboard there for praying stuff and another for feng shui stuff. A carpet here and a carpet there. So rich get a terrace la, renovated until...One room rented out to a local girl was quite vast. Viewing my room was sad, it was a segregated room from the first girl's. She got the bigger part, mine was half the size because there is this huge luxurious cupboard embedded into the wall. We both get the same rental SGD600, talk about being fair huh. She will clear two decks of the cupboard for me and the rest is her stuff. Which means, she can come in anytime to grab her stuff. We are not allowed to lock our rooms by the way and even my mom cannot visit because she said her house has many things (a feng shui maniac I would say) and she won't know if MY visitors take them. Swell. She said, 'SGD600 you must understand this...my house no children and no old people'. You will age one day too, horrible person! Nevertheless, nothing is as bad as her next statement, 'You cannot use the washing machine. My husband is a business man and I don't allow women clothing to touch his. Kthxbai you superstitious freak. Before I leave she told the agent to convince me to pay deposit fast because she felt that we can click. Crazy woman, you. Get away from me!
Room 5 - Voted second scariest. The bus stop is quite near but the living environment is scary. It was like a market in the house with toys here, magazines there, lots of praying statues almost a temple by itself. Other housemates are a local guy and a Taiwan guy student. The moment she found out my nationality, the old lady owner got interested in talking about the politics, which party am I voting for and she kept whispering things I cannot hear properly. She is definitely the gossip queen type. There is a guy currently staying in that room, there is a strange smell with broken cupboards and missing knobs and all. The guy is leaving on 11th and she wants me to move in 11th itself. My agent told her i can only get there earliest 3rd week and she went on ranting about how much money she will lose withing that few days. My agent told her about my profession and he may not be able to find a tenant exactly on that day. She told the agent, 'sure can! It doesn't matter what he or she works as long as got work permit.' Kthxbai. Can you imagine if I pay her the rent a day later? She probably go tell the whole HDB about it. Swt...forget it.
Room 6 - Bus ride is 15 minutes but the bus stand is like miles and miles away o.O the thing is, I'll be staying in a really vast room (I love the study table so much T.T) with a lady and her maid. Both of them will be out from 9am to 5pm. They are very flexible on cooking and my time in and out. Can have visitors but no staying over. Sounds good to me, smells like...FREEDOM. I am really happy with the room and so does the owner :) I liked her already unlike the rest who doesn't really see me as a person. Unfortunately...it's really tedious for me to get to my work place.
At the end of four days, I'm left with Room 3 and Room 6. It was a tough decision between distance or freedom. Between a good owner and a family with different culture...finger crossed for the right decision!