9 Showflat Tricks You Don’t Want To Fall For
- October 17, 2019
- 10 min read
Have you ever bought a new condo, only to collect the keys and open the doors for the first time to feel sorely disappointed?
For some reason, the living room just looks smaller than you remembered.
Or the bathroom just looks rather underwhelming; something about it just looks less luscious than before.
Well, the good news is, you probably aren’t the only person that has felt this way stepping into their newly completed home.
If you are a first time home buyer, it can be tough to navigate through a new showflat and knowing the pitfalls and tricks to look out for.
After all, a showflat is specially designed to appeal to all your senses.
Be it the smell, the touch, and the look of it all.
And it is totally understandable if there are things that you might have overlooked or did not think about.
But what if, you knew exactly what to look out for, or even the tricks that are used to lure you in to buy?
Would that have changed your buying decision in any way?
You probably know this already, but it is well worth hammering home the point.
A property purchase is one of, if not the biggest purchase of your life.
It could very well make, or even break your future plans down the road.
So why leave things up to ambiguity?
You owe it to yourself to make a wise purchasing choice.
So read on because I will be uncovering some of the techniques that are used to entice you in a showflat!
1. Always Look At The Floorplan First
When you enter a showflat for the first time, it is so easy to get distracted by the soothing music, alluring smells, and attractive decor.
So much so that you forget what is the most important thing at the end of the day: The floorplan.
That’s because after taking out all the bells and whistles, you are truly left with the barebones of the apartment.
And without all the design elements to distract you, you are able to see the flaws of the unit a whole lot easier.
Which is why you should always look at the floorplan first to see if it makes sense to you.
Think about your habits, how you utilise your current home and what is important for you to have.
Will this new layout work for you?
Study the floorplan and look out for inefficiencies in the space, odd corners and long corridors.
These are always covered up well in a showflat with some design tricks so looking at the floor plan objectively first will do your a world of good.
2. Look Out For Open Rooms In The Showflat
One of the most common tricks for developers used to be such that walls were taken out to make a space look bigger.
Or what you might call an “optical illusion”.
But in 2015, the government ruled that any internal non-structural wall not built in the showflat has to have its position, thickness and width of that wall clearly marked on the floor and labelled.
So although it is now clearly marked out, the problem still remains.
At its essence, it is still a visual trick even with the label as it is hard to envision the space with the wall in your mind.
What can you do about it?
Firstly, always look out for the tape to show where the walls have been taken out.
Try to look from an alternative angle to look at the space as objectively as possible.
In other words, don’t look at that space that has been carved out, but look from an angle that avoids it!
That way, you can get an objective perspective of the area.
3. Ask About The Materials
There is no doubt that every showflat will be kept in pristine condition.
This means that everything will be shown to you in its best light.
Every marble top kept sparkly clean and floors gleaming to perfection.
But what happens in the long run?
How will these materials react to wear and tear?
So as a smart buyer, you have to ask the right questions.
For example, what material is used for the kitchen counters?
Is it genuine marble or some sort of faux marble?
Faux marble is much cheaper and has the advantage of being non-porous thanks to its gel coating.
But, it is very much prone to chipping and is more susceptible to high heat.
Whereas natural marble is more porous but is heat-resistant and hardier.
The moral of the story is to be aware of the exact materials that you are paying for.
It’s better not to take things at face value as you might have buyer remorse later on.
Bonus tip: One rather unorthodox method to judge the quality of a developer’s work is to visit past developments that they have built.
If you know friends/family staying in these developments, it wouldn’t harm to give them a ring to find out a bit more!
4. Touch Everything In The Showflat
As a follow up on the previous point, you shouldn’t be shy to touch everything.
When I say touch, I mean, prod, pull, poke, and push everything.
Although this is by no means a foolproof method, this allows you to have a better idea of the quality from the developer.
Try pulling out drawers, is it smooth and to your liking?
Examine the ends of the cupboard and cabinets, if the showflat has been around for awhile, how are they holding up?
The sole purpose of a showflat is to impress you and draw you in to buy.
So if you see signs of a poor fit and finish this early on, I can’t imagine it to get any better when they are producing it at a mass level.
5. Is This The Real Ceiling Height?
Nowadays, many of the new developments offer higher ceiling units for the ground floor and/or the top floor units of the project.
Naturally, when it comes to showing a space off, a high ceiling would no doubt make the space seem a lot bigger than it actually is.
For example, a ground floor unit could come with a ceiling height of 3.5 metres.
And all other regular units above the ground floor come in at 2.9 metres.
So, of course, it makes sense for the developer to show off the best unit possible.
But the problem is, this gives you a false sense of space if you are not looking at purchasing the ground floor unit.
While this would be tough to gauge for yourself, remember to always ask for the showflat ceiling height to set your expectations in check.
Buying7 Tested Ways To Select The Perfect New Launch Condo Unitby Stanley
6. Is This The Size Of The Balcony/Patio Units?
Along the theme of ground floor units, most of the time, a ground floor unit has a bigger PES (private enclosed space).
These spaces are bigger than a regular balcony, and usually, there is an access gate that you can use to get in and out.
Just like the above, this could lead you into thinking that you have a bigger balcony area than you actually do.
So always remember to check up on this.
7. Keep A Close Watch On The Interior Design
You must be tired of hearing this by now, but the interior design of the showflat is all about enhancing the qualities and hiding the imperfections of a unit.
So as a savvy buyer, you will need to be aware of what is or is not included in your unit.
Thankfully, your job today is made easier because developers have to indicate whether they are “interior design” or “showflat treatment”.
Just to help you out a little more, here is a list of what you can usually expect:
– Kitchen: Usually everything in a kitchen is included. Things like the cupboards, countertop, stove, fridge/freezer, washer/dryer, and oven.
– Bathrooms: This usually includes the mirror, cupboards, sink, toilet, shower, glass doors, taps, and shower heads.
– Bedrooms: Wardrobes and air-conditioner unit are the usual main inclusions. Check inside the wardrobes to see what is or is not included too.
– Balcony/Patio: Floor tiles.
– Floor: Expect to get marble for living/dining, corridor, and entrance. Bedrooms can be a mix of tiles/timber. The bathroom can be marble/tiles and the kitchen will usually be tiled.
– Wall: The walls are usually blank white walls. All the wallpaper or coloured feature walls are usually not included.
8. Know Your Furniture
Another “clever” trick that IDs will use is to play around with the furniture.
For example, you will see smaller units having their dining table flushed all the way to the corner.
This creates the illusion of space in common areas.
If you are comfortable with bench seating, this would be no issue.
But for most people, they only realise this after moving a round dining table in.
And suddenly wonder where did all that space go.
Another trick would be to use a small couch in the living area.
To prevent the furniture from getting roughed up, developers would usually place a “no seating” sign there.
But because you can’t try it out, you don’t realise how small the couch actually is.
One way to mitigate this is to measure the size of your furniture at your current home.
Don’t be afraid to whip out a measuring tape at the showflat, and see if you can fit them in comfortably still.
9. Look Out For Mirrors In The Showflat
These are one of the most common features in any new launch showflat today.
Which is unsurprising as they can really make a space look a lot bigger than it is.
To be fair, this is probably the least “negative” trick, as it is something feasible that you could carry on into your new home.
In fact, you could probably take some tips from here on where to place mirrors in your future home to make the space look bigger!
Seeing as there are so many new launches this year, it was not at all surprising that we got a ton of questions on new launch properties so I hope this has gone some way into helping you know what to look out for! If you have any other questions feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com!
#10 – Perpetual aircon!
Great tips, Sean. ID & architecture are my hobbies for many years. Just a short comment regarding showflat presentation: It’s always done up to produce great visual appeal, which is important as a first impression. In ID, the most important principle is “Form & Function”. Most showflats lack the Function part. Like the Chinese saying, “Good in looks, but not tasteful to eat”
Hey Jeffrey, thank you for sharing your expert opinion on this! You’re right in that visual appeal is a priority given the first impression counts – but can be highly impractical, and not to mention, cost inefficient too – which is probably why many condo units don’t actually look like the show flat in the end