Whether you’ve got a job in Singapore, your company is relocating there, or you and your family want a different adventure this 2021, moving from California to the city-state takes excellent planning to make it as smooth-sailing as possible.
But what factors should you keep in mind in the planning stage? What are the best relocation tips?
1. Choose Your Home Well
If you’re going to Singapore for company relocation or a new job, there’s a good chance that the business will do the house search for you. However, it also pays to know what’s waiting, so you can set your expectations straight.
First, don’t expect that you can own a house here. Singapore has one of the most restrictive laws when it comes to homeownership.
You cannot purchase HDB flats, which are subsidized homes and now the most popular type in the tiny red dot. You may try to buy an executive condominium, which can be at least 25 percent cheaper than a regular condo, but the unit needs to be 10 years old.
According to Sing Saver, if you want to purchase a condominium or a private apartment, you need to ask permission from the government, but it cannot be a bungalow.
Second, because land is a premium here, many properties are small. The median size for new condo units in the suburbs shrank to 71 square meters from over 115 square meters within the past 13 years.
Moreover, although the government now offers four- to five-bedroom HBD flats, the typical housing size is still smaller than what it used to be around 20 to 30 years ago.
Compare that to the average house sizes in California. In San Diego, for example, many properties measure 224 square meters.
There’s a good chance you’ve accumulated plenty of stuff over the years, so before moving to Singapore, you might want to contact a moving service and take advantage of its storage. This is until you can figure out which of your furniture and fixture will end up in your new city.
2. Decide If You Want to Bring Your Pet
For many Americans, pets are family, so when it comes to travel, they prefer to have them around. In 2017, pet parents spent at least $6 billion on services like grooming and boarding. Meanwhile, air transport in the United States flies at least 2 million live animals and pets each year.
You can bring your cats and dogs to Singapore, but there are plenty of caveats. In the rabies risk categorization, the United States actually belongs to category C, which means it has a controlled or reduced risk of rabies. Dogs and cats will require a rabies vaccination before flying to the city-state.
Two, Singapore is particular with the dog and cat breeds. Pitbulls and Akita, for example, as prohibited, while Savannah and Bengal cats need to be first- to fourth-generation crosses.
Three, not all properties in Singapore will allow pets. If you’re staying in an HBD flat, the only animal you can bring is an approved small-breed dog. Cats are a no-no since they can be noisy, disturbing the peace of the neighbors.
If you are living in a non-HDB flat, you may keep up to three small dogs. As for your felines, you need to ask for the rules from the building management.
3. Know Your Possible Expenses
How much does it cost to live in Singapore these days? It is one of the most expensive places, according to Numbeo. The average consumer price without rent in San Diego is about 8 percent lower than that of Singapore. If rent is included, San Diego will still end up more affordable, even if apartments are costlier in California.
You are also less likely to own a car in Singapore than in the Golden State. A Nissan Leaf can already cost over $135,000 compared to less than $35,000 in the United States. Moreover, even if you have a car, there’s no assurance that you can use it since slots to drive are limited per year.
The good news is, Singapore has one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world. Its subways are easy to understand and constantly improving. Buses are on time and comfortable. In the end, it is easy to get around even without a private vehicle.
Definitely, living in Singapore is vastly different from what you are used to in California. However, by getting some ideas on what to expect, you can prepare more effectively and adjust to the new environment more quickly.