5 Important Questions to Ask at a Condo Showflat
It’s adrenaline-pumping to step into a beautiful condo showflat—spacious layout, elegant design and state-of-the-art furniture in a sparkling new showroom unit. This looks exactly like the dream unit you have been thinking about, isn’t it?
Hold on for a minute before you reach for your cheque book. Have you thought about what you need to ask before you leave the showflat? After all, a condo showroom is meant for illustration only and may leave out certain crucial information about your actual condominium unit. Therefore, it’s especially important for you to ask the following top 5 important questions when you visit a showflat:
1. Will there be any changes to the surrounding areas in the upcoming years?
If you spot construction sites in the neighbourhood of your future condominium development, you could enquire with the sales representatives on the type of development that would spring up around the vicinity, how long the construction would take and how such developments might affect the condominium.
Even if there are no nearby construction areas currently, do cross-check with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)’s Master Plan in terms of areas carved out for developments in the vicinity. You wouldn’t want to be caught off guard when your unobstructed view of Singapore’s skyline became that of a new building opposite your apartment unit.
Furthermore, if you are someone who craves quiet time, you may need to ask about noise pollution levels from MRT tracks or expressways and select units that are further away.
2. Questions about costs—maintenance fees, promotions and price differences
Maintenance costs can range from $1.2k to $1.4k every 3 months for average condominiums and up to $8k per quarter for luxurious high-end condominium apartments. Small things like shuttle buses to and fro MRT stations could also be added into your maintenance fees.
It’s always good to do your homework about the transaction prices of condominiums around the area as a yardstick to see if this newly launched condominium is priced equitably. If there is a significant price difference with surrounding developments, it is also wise to ask the representatives why the new condominium costs more. This helps you to gauge if the unique selling points they have highlighted are worth paying for.
Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to ask if there can be perks thrown in such as cash vouchers or discounts for renovations. If there’s an early bird discount for VIP viewing at the condo showroom, you can also judge whether the discount makes the purchase a good deal in comparison to another development you may be considering.
3. Ask about Key Attractive Selling Points
Every new launch condominium development comes with its key selling points in order to win over the hearts of potential property buyers like you. Regardless whether you are visiting the condo showroom to purchase a unit for residential or investment purposes, asking the sales representative about the unique features of the condominium would be a smart move. Why so, you may ask?
Let’s say this new launch condominium is known for its proximity to elite primary schools within 1 km. This unique selling point would be extremely appealing to parents who may wish to gain an advantage in enrolling their children in such prestigious schools! Even if you are not a parent yourself, having the edge of staying in the neighbourhood of brand new schools would entice future potential buyers of your unit and you may be able to quote a premium resale price due to higher transaction volume of the condominium development.
4. Is what you see really what you get?
Sure, the developer representative may tell you that the condominium unit you are eyeing is about 1300 square feet. However, you need to ask how much of this 1300 square feet is actually taken up by immovable parts such as the bomb shelter, the balcony or even the air-conditioning ledge. Check out the floor plan of the apartment unit you are interested in and gauge how much actual liveable space you are getting for the price you are paying.
It is also prudent to enquire and check the type of flooring in the showflat. For example, you can ask whether the tiles are made from marble or porcelain or whether laminate or timber flooring is used for the bedroom floor. While marble offers a luxurious feel with higher resale value as compared to porcelain, porcelain are often easier to maintain and are highly durable as well. Some buyers may also prefer timber to laminate flooring as timber consists of real wood.
Don’t forget to also ask about the hidden details such as the location of the air-conditioning and the home security system. As new launch condominium developers strive to gain a competitive edge over one another, units may come equipped with high tech features such as automated door locks or smart home systems. Sometimes, certain goods such as refrigerators and dryers are included as part of the unit as well– it’s always good to double-check with the salesperson before making your decision.
You can learn how to read a floor plan here.
5. Where is the unit facing?
Most locals prefer to stay away from direct sunlight within their own condominium apartments. While you may appreciate a certain unit for its unparalleled view, it is worth considering if the unit gets morning or afternoon sun as well. For some units, especially those with full length windows facing west or east, the entire apartment could get unbearably hot with direct exposure to the sun. Even after evening hours, the heat from the afternoon sun could still be uncomfortable for residents in the unit.
It would be preferable to ask the developer representatives to introduce you to units facing north or south instead to save on electricity bills spent on air-conditioning. If it’s a popular new launch, the ideal units may have been snapped up already and you may have to choose from units facing the sun directly. In that case, you may need to enquire with the salespersons whether items that limit sun exposure are included with the unit e.g. solar window films.
Next time you are at a condo showflat, do bring along a checklist of questions that you would like to ask the sales representatives. You can start with the 5 questions above and add on more specific questions you would like to bring up to have a better experience. Feel free to ask the sales representative what other questions is good to ask or what you should look out for!