Heartland Boy loves going to a property showflat. This all started in 2011 when he first stepped into a property showflat while interning at the marketing department of a property developer. Since then, he has probably visited over hundreds of showflats, with the bulk of them being in Singapore. During his courtship days, visiting a property showflat counted as one of the most ideal dates since it was free! It was not difficult to convince Heartland Girl to tag along as all he had to do was to sell her the vision of owning a piece of the Singapore dream. Jokes aside, here are some practical reasons why I love going to a property showflat.
1. Fastest way to understand a particular neighbourhood
Heartland Boy finds that the fastest way to understand a neighbourhood is to visit a showflat located in that vicinity. Specifically, look out for the gigantic, overblown location map that is usually plastered on the wall as shown in Diagram 1.
The location map usually shows the nearby amenities (shopping malls, food centers, schools) and accessibility of the development. It gives a good overview of how mature or non-mature the area is. Visiting countless showflats has definitely helped Heartland Boy built up his geographical knowledge of Singapore. More importantly, it has trained him to look out for future/proposed developments when analyzing a real estate project. For instance, a property owner definitely wants to avoid a situation of a future towering neighbouring development blocking off precious views. It would hurt even more if a premium has been splashed out for the precious view.
Using the upcoming Sembawang BTO sales launch in Diagram 2 as an example, prospective bidders should take note that a proposed Chinese temple may spring up to the west of the development.
Having this prior knowledge would at least mitigate any potential shock/uproar that these Sengkang residents experienced when a columbarium was proposed near their home.
2. Understand Singapore’s growth areas
Missed out on the annual National Day Rallies whereby exciting growth areas that the Government has in store for Singapore are often announced? The Greater Southern Waterfront development was announced in greater details at NDR2019. Well, if you have been visiting property showflats, you will not miss out on hearing about such plans. That is because property sales agents would have undergone training so as to highlight the unique selling points of the residential project in a coherent manner.
Compared to other governments, the Singapore government has largely been able to deliver on its plans. The rejuvenation of Punggol and Jurong and the development of Marina Bay from reclaimed land are good testimonies. Generally, knowing with some degree of certainty on what would happen to a certain location in the mid to long term is valuable information for a property investor.
3. Learn about the latest ID trends
While visiting a sales gallery, one would inevitably step into the show /mock-up units. Most of the time, we would be awed and mesmerized at how beautiful these homes look. This is unsurprising as they have been immaculately designed by professional interior designers. Once you have a couple of experiences under your belt, the shock and awe will soon give way to learning points or inspirations that you can bring to your own home.
Heartland Boy can illustrate this with a real-life example. It is a well-known fact that mirrors are often placed in strategic positions inside showflats to make the space look bigger than they actually are. Borrowing this trick, Heartland Boy discussed with his interior designer during the renovation process on how to incorporate the use of mirrors to achieve a similar outcome. The end result was a full-length mirror placed in his master bedroom to elevate the entire hallway of his tiny 3-BR BTO as shown in Diagram 3.
4. Learn how to select the best unit
The last step in the showflat process usually involves sitting down at a corner with the assigned property agent to pore through the available units for sale. This is usually the time when Heartland Boy confirms with the sales agent which unit has the best layout, the best view and commands the highest premium in the entire development. There is practical value in this exercise because in a typical HDB BTO exercise, floor is usually the only discriminating factor in pricing the same unit type. What could possibly happen is that a $300,000 flat in the same project on the same floor but located at different blocks could lead to different levels of utilities for the home-owner. If one unit faces the afternoon sun and the other unit does not, it is unlikely that it will command the same resale value as the other unit in the future despite both being bought at the same $300,000 from HDB.
Recently, when his brother-in-law was choosing his BTO unit, Heartland Boy highlighted the pros and cons of the various units to help them make a more informed decision. This knowledge obviously did not come by chance, but was built up after years of visiting showflats. That is also why he also offers consultations for this service.
A passion of mine
Ultimately, Heartland Boy recognizes that this hobby is cultivated because real estate is a passion of his. (The wife sees it as a manifestation of occupational hazard). If you haven’t visited a showflat before, do consider giving it a try since it’s absolutely free! Before committing to a property purchase, you may want to utilise a free smart refinancing tool to understand your mortgage commitments.
In a post Covid-19 era, a good tip would be to avoid the first month immediately after the property launch. It would usually be very crowded and property agents may not have time to attend to you!