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Buying a Condo? Do These 9 Things to Avoid Showroom Tricks

February 21, 2020

There’s a reason why you might feel your new home is smaller than it should be.

It’s hard not to be impressed by what you see in a showroom: tall ceilings, open spaces, and well-planned rooms that make it crystal clear what goes where. But don’t get taken in because not everything is what it seems – there are common tricks that show flats frequently use to impress buyers, and here’s how you can avoid falling for them.

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1. Remember to get a copy of the floor plan

When you step foot into a show flat, what will probably catch your attention first are the sights (nice interiors), sounds (soothing music) and smells (room scents). While it’s fine to soak in all these sensory distractions and even take notes for your future home, don’t forget to pick up a copy of the floor plan first.

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That’s important because a floor plan will show you the apartment in its bare bones state. And without all the bells and whistles, you’ll have an easier time spotting the inefficiencies of your potential home-to-be. Are there any awkward corners? What about long corridors? It’s hard to notice what needs fixing when your senses are overloaded.

2. Look out for internal walls that aren’t built in the showroom

The open-concept look is fairly mainstream these days, but if you’re unfamiliar, it essentially involves removing partition walls between two rooms/spaces. As with homes, this is often used to create ‘larger’ spaces in show flats to create a sense of spaciousness.

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However, this could be an issue when you’re shopping for a new home as it can be hard to visualise what the surroundings could look like, even with mandatory markings indicating the position of non-structural internal walls and their dimensions.

The best (and probably, only) solution? Stand at different angles and do your best to imagine what the space will look like with these walls in place.

3. Examine and ask about the materials used

Show flats are meant to impress, and for that reason there’s no doubt that everything (read: surfaces, fixtures and fittings) will be kept in pristine condition or shown in its best light. But ask yourself this: How long do you think they’ll last in your home?

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For instance, genuine marble might look better and is more heat-resistant than faux marble, but the latter is much cheaper and has the advantage of a non-porous surface. Hence, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of what you see in a showroom with its alternatives. Also, if you’re unsure about what you should get, ask.

4. Put the fixtures and fittings to the test

Prod, pull, poke or push – do what you need (with reasonable strength, of course) to find out the quality of the fittings and fixtures used in a show flat/provided by a developer.

Check out the drawer mechanisms, open some cabinets, examine their corners, and take a good look at how well they are holding up. Given that the main purpose of a showroom is to wow and entice buyers, a poor fit or finish could be signs that you’d be better off spending your hard-earned money elsewhere.

5. Find out the actual ceiling height

One of the most attractive features you can have in a home (and also a show flat) is a high ceiling because it creates an illusion of space – or put differently, it’s the best antidote to the feeling of being boxed in 24/7.

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But did you know that it’s possible for homes in the same development to have different ceiling heights? For instance, a ground floor or top floor unit could come in at a height of 3.5 metres, but a regular unit could be 2.9 metres tall. Logically, if you were a developer, you’d want your showroom to be built like a ground/top-floor home, but as a homeowner that means you should find out the ceiling height of a regular unit to avoid disappointment.

6. Determine the balcony/patio size

On the note of the differences between a ground floor and regular unit, the former tends to come with a bigger Private Enclosed Space (PES), which are essentially patios that are larger than the balconies of units on upper floors.

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And like ceilings, the example that a showroom has on display could lead you into thinking that you’re going get a larger balcony/patio than the one in your actual home, so don’t forget to check out the exact measurements for this area.

7. Check what comes with the unit – and what doesn’t

Fittings, fixtures, and appliances are all an important part of a complete home, and without them we won’t be living our lives as conveniently as they are now – so if you’re making a condo your new dwelling, be sure to take note of what comes with the property.

In most cases, things like cabinets, stoves, counters, doors, and even appliances like fridges and washing machines are included with a condominium purchase, but just to be sure, check if what you see at a showroom is indeed what you get.

8. Don’t be afraid to whip out your measuring tape

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Seeing is believing, but only if you’re able to accurately gauge measurements by eye. Otherwise, feel free to put your handy measuring tape to good use because space planning is an important part of interior design and what you see at a show flat might not necessarily be a good fit for your lifestyle or the furniture you have in mind.

Take the dining area for example, most showrooms feature a compact design tucked into a corner that fits a flushed dining table snugly, but if you were to adopt the same layout it might not be suitable for your large round table.

9. Keep an eye out for mirrors

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They can’t tell you if you’re the fairest of them all, but the mirrors in show flats are there to make the entire space seem larger. Accordingly, there are two reasons why you’ll want to take note of them: one, to be aware of the actual size of each home area, and two, figure out the mirror placement for your own home!

This article was adapted from a piece that was originally published on Stacked Homes, an editorial website that offers the latest news and analysis on all things property-related in Singapore.

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