Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Things to consider finding a rental house in JB

Among the things I'm considering are the following:

1. Location.
But of course. It's already inconvenient living in JB and working/schooling in Singapore, I think we must try to keep the inconvenience as low as possible.  As such the location in JB should easily be accessible by the highway from 2nd Link and also accessible from Woodlands causeway.  Somewhere in the middle.  That gives us the Nusajaya area (Bukit Indah, Horizon Hill, Nusa Duta etc).

The Causeway Link bus must also pass that place - as a backup to our own transportation arrangement with the kids.  In case of emergency, they are still able to take the Causeway Link Bus to/from Jurong East MRT.

2. A bit bigger than our current house with spacious hall for better peace of mind.
Also with a small area for gardening. To compensate for the inconvenience and anxiety.

3. House is maintained.
We've gone to see a few houses for rental and have learnt quite a bit ourselves.  If we are going to rent out our place and get people to view, clean up the place first!  Every time I see the land area looking messy with unkempt grass growing to my knees, I'm already turned off. It doesn't matter if the owner says that he will have it cleaned up.. will mow the lawn etc.

And then the house is messy inside.  Children's school bag all over the place.  Used cloths on the bed.  I need not say more.

The best is if we can get a new house.  But that usually means that the area will not be fully populated.

4. Enough bathrooms for the kids to get ready every morning.
I imagine that every morning it'll be a mad dash, getting ready.  We NEED to have enough bathrooms so that 3-4 kids don't have to line up for the single bathroom.

5. Partially furnished.
The least is air-con, water heater, kitchen cabinet with stove, bedroom wardrobes and day/night curtains.  Because these things, are mostly permanent fixtures in the house, and we most likely will not be able to buy something that would also fit into the new house.

Some people prefer fully furnished - which would also include sofa set, dining table, fridge, washing machines and beds.

Oh yes, auto-gate is also a requirement for us.

6. Near shops, especially those mini-marts.
Ok, it may not be so near like only few doors away.  But also not so far that you need to drive a car 5-7 mins out. Something accessible by bicycle.

7. A nice and kind landlord.
We strongly believe tenant and landlord need to be on good terms always.  It'll be hell for both if there is animosity because of any unhappiness.  As such, to start with, rental agreements need to be mentioned and agreed clearly and both sides are happy about it.

That's all I can think of now.


So, as of now, we've decided to rent a house for 1-2 years and meantime purchase another house, which will be ready about end of next year. I imagined renovation would take about 3 months.  Someone told me that it's impossible.  It'll take at least 6 months.  Yes, I forgot that when we were doing some renovation to some rooms in our apartment, it's already took 2 months.  What more a bigger house with some exterior renovation??  Learning journey.

One of the concern about moving to JB is security.  With the rising crime rates in Malaysia, we need to take some measures.

The rented house that we'll be getting is in a gated and guarded area.  However, it's a bit secluded because surrounding areas are still under development.  So I've been thinking of other security measures, besides the gate and the guard.   Alhamdulillah, the house we are renting already comes with an alarm system, which we have totally no idea how to use yet. We'll learn.  We also need to think from the psychological aspect.  Having the alarm system, with the red box at the front of the house is good. It may deter robbers from attempting to do the house.

Other than that, I plan to make it look troublesome to get in and out.  It's not an ideal house to rob.  I plan to obviously hang plants over the gate and the fence.  Meaning if they want to climb over, they know they risk dropping and breaking pots.  I was thinking of making an indirect access to the door also by putting plants in front of the door - but I think I will be irritated by that also. So I think this should do for now.

Bismillahi tawakkal. In God we place our trust after putting our effort.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

To move or not to move

It's been an emotional roller coaster ride for me these few weeks. All because we decided that we should consider the option of staying in JB, while working/schooling in Singapore.

The pros are mostly with smaller expenses, thus ability to save some, more space and perhaps the slower pace of life in JB. 
The cons - parents living in Singapore (but still not even that far to visit - just need to cross the causeway), and commuting during the peak hours across the causeway/2nd link. Basically only these 2. Biggest one being the commuting. 

There is also anxiety of living in a new environment and again the commuting. I am also anxious that my son is anxious - will he be a prisoner there? Basically we can travel only by car. Of course there is a public bus to Singapore also but it'll take 1 hour for him. My girls on the other hand, are excited. 

Then there are my parents throwing all the cons at us. It seems like a crazy move. 

However by now the thought of doing nothing and staying put is also not a good option - seem like a stupid cowardly option. 
We need to decide on something. 

Rent a 4 bedroom HDB flat in Singapore for $2500 + $200 car park fees ($2700) or rent a 4 bedroom semi-detached with garden and car porch enough for 2 cars in JB for RM4000 per month (abt $1600)
Continue to pay expensive utilities, cable, internet and groceries bill - or get them all at a cheaper rate in Malaysia (up to 50% lesser in total!)?
Scrap life savings / owe money to extend COE for the car, or make money from the house through rental to pay for it? Cannot let Singapore take advantage of us. 

It seems obvious that we should bear some inconvenience of commuting to make some money and enjoy those savings. 

Furthermore, there has been numerous families who have moved to JB, who have had the same anxieties and they say now they are used to it and they are still happy with their decision after few years. This is not the case for a few of my father's friends though, who bought 'weekend' houses in JB. Perhaps we have different reasons and motivations. 

I also get anxious thinking.. are we moving to another country for good? Will it feel the same if we ever come back to stay in Singapore again? But then again, we're still working in Singapore everyday right? But it's not the same. It's not home.

I guess the problem with me and my family. None of us have had the experience of actually living in another country to study or work. So this one is a very big thing for us. 

The truth is Singapore also doesn't really feel like home sweet home, with government paying more attention to money and investment. Singapore Inc. Yeap.. it's not home. It's a big company. You want to stay, you work and you pay. 

Maybe we should just get over the anxieties and just do it. If we don't, we'll never know. It's not like we're selling our Singapore house NOW.. we're just renting it out. We can always come back after a year if things don't work out. Right? (come back to Singapore Inc. err.. ) 

I guess. 

Ok jom.. let's do istikharah yet again.