After my previous experience with the crazy landlady who tried to steal the deposit money right in front of my face, I started from square one again with only a few weeks left before I would be homeless. So in all fairness to the agent who represented the mentally unstable owner, he felt really bad about the whole thing and tried to help me find a similar place (minus the afore-mentioned nutcase, of course).
The next place he showed me was in across the road from East Coast Park in the Marine Parade area. It's pretty close to my office by bus but there was no air conditioning and no nearby MRT stations. Btw, after living near the MRT stations for the past 5 out of 6 years in Singapore, I would rather not live any other way (since there's no way I'm ever getting a car here). You just can't beat the convenience and punctuality of the trains here, and waiting for an extra bus ride usually adds 15-20 more minutes to your commute.
I also found another place on the internets near Sengkang MRT. In case you're not familiar with Singaporean geography, Sengkang is pretty much fighting with the likes of Woodlands, Pungol and Joo Koon for the coveted title of "MRT Stations in the middle of nowhere"....but no matter how you look at it, Singapore's still small and I can still get to work in under an hour or to the city in 20-30 minutes. The room in Sengkang is slightly more expensive but was a little bigger, has air conditioning, is minutes away from the MRT station, and has a super-nice Filipina landlady. Sengkang also seems cleaner than the Marine Parade area.
After much deliberation I decided to go with the Sengkang room. Despite objections from concerned parties and against my better judgement, we decided not to use professional movers. Instead, we outsourced our labor to cheaper Filipino, Malaysian, and Chinese workers--(thanks Adrian, Martin, Jerome, and Frank). Because we were able to
exploit utilize our friends, we were able to move the majority of our things there in one trip.
The next day Carissa and I disassembled and moved two ikea desks and a bunch of other random things into the room by ourselves. The move is finally almost over (just a few more things) and the last thing I need to do is update my bank accounts and get some internet service (but I'll save that for another blog entry).
If there's one thing to take away from my whole experience, it might just be to avoid agents if possible to avoid paying the half month's rent fee (for room rental) that agents usually charge. In my experience, most of the time I have to search for places myself and the majority of agents I dealt would never call me back after I gave them my budget and personal info (too personal, if you ask me). Some are nice and they're supposed to help you mediate any disputes with the owners, but I've personally never had any problems before and I think it's not worth the cost of paying an agent.
I just found this anti-agent website after signing my lease but if I had known about it I would've tried to use it to find an agentless room. You can also find some agentless rooms at pinoysg.com occasionally too. Good luck--you'll need it.
Looking for a place to rent in Singapore Part 1 - Discrimination
Looking for a place to rent in Singapore Part 2 - the Crazy Lady