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8 Subtle Showflat Viewing Tricks that Most First-Time Homeowners Fall For

Design: I-Chapter

The property developer’s showroom is meant to serve as a helpful guide for homeowners, so that they can make an informed purchase. Aside from adding value, by helping the potential buyers have a better understanding of what they are getting, the showroom also plays a critical role in sealing the deal.

However, some property developers go beyond inspiring the would-be homeowners, and misrepresent the actual units by making the showrooms appear bigger. Fortunately, the government has stepped in and enacted the new Housing Developers Act, which placed stricter laws on marketing and information provision to the potential buyers.

Nevertheless, this has not stopped them from pulling subtle showroom tricks. Therefore, here are some of the common showroom tricks which you should be wary of.

1. Reconfigure the layout to mask awkward floorplan

Design: Fuse Concept

Almost 90% of the showrooms have modified layout, in varying degrees, to make the space look much bigger. However, when this happens, you will not be able to gauge the amount of renovation that needs to be done in order to achieve the same effect.  By reconfiguring the floor plan layout, the wasted corridor, awkward corners and even unrealistic bedroom sizes are masked with the re-partitioned rooms.

What this means to you?
Study the floor plan carefully before stepping into the showroom. Be sure to check out the showroom layout, compare it against the original floorplan and jot down the modifications done while touring around your prospective future home.


2. Bring down the walls and use wider door frames to make the room appear more spacious

Design: The 80’s Studio

In the attempt to make the room seem bigger and brighter, showrooms usually adopt an open-concept look. Essentially, this involves combining 2 or more smaller rooms. Sometimes, the developers will replace the swing outdoors with sliding doors with wider door frames, to disguise the lack of space behind the door.

What this means to you?
Watch out for the markings on the floor, which shows the actual position, thickness and width of the wall. Bring an Ikea paper ruler with you to check the door frame width, which should be around 80cm wide, so that you have an accurate sensing of the space.


3. Higher ceiling for added space and depth

Design: Space Define Interior

A high ceiling injects more space and depth in a tiny unit. This is why the showrooms favor featuring the ground floor or the penthouse unit, since they come with a higher ceiling of around 3.5m to 5m.

What this means to you?
Check with the property developer the actual ceiling height of the unit you are interested in.


4. Private Enclosed Space (PES) creates an illusion of a larger unit

Design: Diva’s Interior Design

Similarly, the showrooms favour the ground floor units, since they come attached with Private Enclosed Space (PES), an outdoor patio area. To further enhance the optical illusion of a larger unit, the same floor tiles are used for both the balcony and the living room.

What this means to you?
Check with the property developer the actual size of the balcony for the unit you are interested in. You can consider deploying the same visual trick to visually enlarge your living room and balcony area.


5. Big mirrors to bring in ample natural light

Design: Design 4 Space

Strategically positioned wall mirrors, coupled with a light interior design scheme, will make any cramped space seem more spacious. Ceiling to floor mirrors is also installed in either the dining or the living room, to bring in more natural light through reflection. When a room is flooded with natural light, it will appear more appealing to the potential home buyers.

What this means to you?
You can consider giving the same home interior treatment to make the unit brighter and  more airy.


6. Customised and compact furniture for small places

Design: Urban Habitat Design

In order to fit more pieces of furniture into the smaller space, it is a common practice for the developers to use customised furniture in tight places, including the bedrooms and dining room.

What this means to you?
To accurately gauge the actual amount of walking space available, remember to pull out the furniture, in particular the dining chairs, and walk around them. You might be surprised to find out that there is little or no clearance to maneuver about. Play special attention to the size of the mattresses and bed frames used in the showroom bedrooms, to check whether the standard sizes are used. 


7. Distract with a wide range of white goods, fittings and fixtures

Design: I-Bridge Design

To make the showroom more desirable, the property developer may emphasize their fancy white goods, like the dishwasher and even lifestyle appliances, such as the gourmet coffee makers. However, what you see may not be what you get. In addition, the model of the white goods displayed may not be the same model you will be getting.

What this means to you?
Check with the developer on the exact model of white goods you are getting. Get them to list down specifically the type of fittings and fixtures that are included in the unit. There are cases where the property developers only deliver the fixtures partially, for instance, by providing only the bottom row of kitchen cabinets! 


8. Impress with luxurious looking materials

Design: Free Space Intent

Since showrooms are built to impress and enticing, developers will be mindful to use materials which seem luxurious. However, most homeowners are unable to tell the difference between the real McCoy and the cheaper alternatives. For instance, between the marble flooring and the homogeneous tiles which spot a marble look; and between the real hardwood flooring and the vinyl plank flooring.

What this means to you?
Probe and find out from the developer the actual materials you will be getting. Keep an eye on the condition of the tiles and the bedroom floor in the showroom to gauge the quality of the fixtures you will be getting.


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