Some buyers might feel let down when they collect their keys to their condominium units, because the actual units could turn out to be vastly different from the showflats. At PropertyGuru, we visit a lot of showflats in the process of writing our Project Reviews. Here are eleven key things we look out for each time we step into a showflat.
By Chang Hui Chew
1. Look for the light
Showflats are always lit with artificial lights, and are permanently bright. It might be difficult to get an idea of how much natural light each room would get. Check the size of the windows and where they’re placed, so you can judge for yourself how much light you would get when the project is completed. Remember to compare it with the facing of the unit you’re considering, to see if it will feel the brunt of the hot sun.
2. Look for the tape
When designing showflats, developers might take down a couple of walls to create a better aesthetic flow. The government has ruled that developers need to show where the walls are, and how thick they are. Most developers will demarcate this with tape on the floor. So while you’re marvelling at expanse of space, look down to check if the unit will still look the same when you collect the keys. If you’re thinking of taking down any walls, check the floorplans to see which walls can and cannot be removed.
3. Look at the interior doors
The doors to the bedrooms and bathrooms are often a place where costs and corners are cut. Doors should swing smoothly, feel substantial, and should not sound particularly hollow when you knock on them. For smaller units in particular, it is important to have good quality doors to maintain privacy and reduce noise from entering the bedrooms. If the doors turn out to be inadequate when you finally move in, they could cost quite a bit to replace.
4. Look at the flow
When we enter a showflat, it is easy to be distracted by the beauty of the décor. However, think about the flow of the space, and how you and your family will use it. For instance, think about your cooking habits in the kitchen, and if the current layout would work for you. Changing the layout of the kitchen can be expensive. Open layouts, where the dining area, kitchen and living room are combined in a single space, are very common right now. However, some people might prefer separate spaces, to prevent cooking grease and smells from affecting the whole apartment.
5. Look for odd corners
In general, Singaporeans like regular layouts, because they flow better and help with the placement of furniture. There are many design tricks that can help to minimise the odd dead corner, such as hiding it with a partition, or covering it up with plants and vases. Buyers should always check the official floor plans to see if there are any odd corners. In particular, sharp triangular corners are considered bad fengshui. Even if you do not subscribe to fengshui, it could affect resale potential in the future.
6. Look for power sockets
The amount of devices and appliances we have will only increase in the future. For areas like the kitchen, bedside, and walls where televisions can be mounted, buyers should always check for an adequate number of power sockets. While more power sockets can always be installed after completion, it is an additional cost, and the renovation would delay your move into the unit.
7. Look at the appliance package
Every showflat kitchen has gleaming appliances. However, buyers should always check what is actually provided, because not all the appliances on display might come with the completed unit. Many developers leave out washer-dryer machines and refrigerators, which could cost thousands of dollars. Even if buyers have existing appliances, they would need to be changed if they can’t fit. Furthermore, most condominiums have rules against hanging clothes to dry on the balcony, so a washer-dryer unit, which costs more than a regular washing machine, is a necessity.
8. Look at the materials
Each surface in a showflat has been polished to perfection. However, savvy buyers should always clarify what the materials used are, and familiarise themselves with their pros and cons. For instance, a common, low-cost material used for kitchen counters is solid surface. While durable and easy to clean, it can be affected by high heat, and needs to be protected from hot pots and pans by trivets or place mats. On the other hand, marble is heat-resistant and beautiful, but is expensive and requires more maintenance.
9. Look at bathroom fittings
Most showflat bathrooms are designed to look like luxurious spas. However, check to see what is actually provided. Often, wall cabinets are not provided, or might come in a plainer form than what is displayed. Fittings like the shower, toilet, bathroom tap and sink should be of good quality, too. Look for windows in the bathrooms as well; they are necessary to prevent our humid weather from causing mould. For bathrooms without windows, a ceiling ventilation fan should be provided, but that requires more maintenance.
10. Look at the space
While bedrooms have become smaller in general, there are a number of design tricks to make them feel larger. A common trick is to remove or shrink the closet, so there is more floor space to move around. Developers are required to demarcate this with tape as well, so keep an eye out for it. Also, sales agents will tell you the bedrooms can each accommodate at least a queen-sized bed. That might be true, but if it leaves you with less than a metre or so to walk around the bed, it would be a tight fit.
11. Look at the details
Keep an eye out for the small details that show a developer’s commitment to quality. Showflats are meant to display all a developer has to offer. If you see signs of poor fit and finish, such as peeling or poorly glued laminate on the carpentry, or cabinet doors that don’t close properly, it might be cause for concern. Even small things, like whether the bed sheets are smoothed and ironed, or the cleanliness of the showflat, demonstrate a developer’s pride in the project.
To read our in-depth reviews of new launches, visit http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/project-reviews
|This article was first published in the print version The PropertyGuru News & Views. Download PDF of full print issues or read more stories now!|