Our current lease ends in February and the landlord is selling the unit, so we’re moving out. So today we started looking at flats.

In Singapore there are two property listing websites, PropertyGuru and is the upstart in the market, and has a better user interface but nobody seems to bother to update listings after they’ve been let, so half the enquiries you make are responded to with “the flat is already let – can I help you find others?”

Now, the way it works for agents is that they get half a month’s rent from you when you sign a lease, and the landlord’s agent also gets half a month’s rent from the landlord. As Singapore rentals are dropping, I assume that means there’s a glut in the market and so it is risky just to be on the supply side. So every agent you talk to in order to get a viewing is also trying to be your representative for other properties, when you don’t rent the place you wanted.

Or they’re purposefully leaving the listings up, in the hope they can convert you from a one-off opportunity for the unit they’re renting, into a dead cert because you’re going to rent somewhere, and if they’re tenant side rather than landlord side, there’s less risk. (They can’t represent both sides in a single transaction, to prevent conflict of interest, but it looks like there’s too many agents chasing after the same clients, hence this behaviour.)

But we already have our agent, who we’ve used for the last six years, so we don’t really need another representative, so this sort of hedging is a little bit annoying. At least we had three real places to look at today. One was a bit dark and facing onto the motorway. One was big but had a not-very-nice kitchen, and also faced the motorway. The third was recently renovated, looks down on La Serpiente’s school (so that turns one of my resolutions into a 5 minute stroll every morning) but there were some odd choices made in the renovation so instead of three bedrooms there’s only two, and we’re not sure if that will work when it comes to storing our children’s armada of toys.

But that might be the one. I’m 90% sure, my wife less so. We’ll sleep tonight, see what we think in the morning.

Oh, and bonus points: the potential place has a chicken outside, and lots of cats. Hmm. I wonder how long that will last…

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