How to prepare yourself before attending the new showflat launch?
First up, this is an article for serious property buyer of new projects.
I am sure you have heard this common saying that “Singaporeans like to go showflat viewing!”. Nothing better to do on a weekend? Go check out some new showflats that have recently launched, see the nice designer showflat, and get free refreshments, and then tell everyone it is too expensive, too small and cannot afford it etc…
The thing is they were not planning to buy in the first place.
So for that, we shall leave this group of people behind to read this other article.
Now, let me begin.
Following to the 2017-18 en-bloc fever in the property market, there was a sudden surge in property launches in 2019-2020. A whopping 60 new projects were launched in 2019 and another 40 launches are expected this year in 2020. With so many launches in place, anyone looking to buy a property would indeed be spoilt for choices. But it can also lead to information overload, overwhelmed by data and prospectus and end up not knowing what to choose?
These are very common buyers dilemmas:
- Freehold or Leasehold?
- New project or resale?
- CCR, RCR or OCR area?
- What bedroom size? What floor area?
- Which floor? Which facing to choose?
- Small Exclusive Project or Mega Integrated Project?
- What schools are within 1km range?
- What amenities nearby?
- What are the future growth potentials?
If you are planning to buy a new launch and your very first time going for a showflat viewing, it can be very stressful and intimidating, especially if you go on a preview/launch week. It is common to see hundreds of agents on the ground, and buyers are being ushered from one corner to another like tourists in a museum.
To make the best out of your showflat visit, make sure your prep yourself with the following before you step into the showflat.
#1: Speak to a Banker to Get your Approval in Principle (AIP) from the bank
An AIP states how much a bank agrees to lend you, if you buy a house. AIPs are usually valid for up to two weeks. Get the AIP from the bank first, because you don’t want to end up putting down a non-refundable deposit, and then being unable to get a loan.
#2: Set a Budget in Mind
With the AIP done, you will get an idea how much you can set for your budget.With bank loan covering up to 75% of your purchase price, you will need to cover the remaining 25% in cash + CPF.
Login to your CPF account and see how much you have in your CPF OA that can be used for property purchase.
At the very minimum, you will need 5% in cash to book for your choose unit. The other payment like your stamp duties and exercise fee and remaining 20% can be in CPF +Cash. ( You will be explained in detailed about the Progressive Payment by the agent and your banker)
#3: Have a rough idea of the type of unit size in mind
Have a clear idea of what type of units will help you to decide your choice unit faster because you can easily be overwhelmed by the choices (esp. for those big projects with 1000 units to pick). Know if you would like a low, mid or high floor and if you have a specific facing you like. Buyers tend to avoid west sun facing units or one that is facing a noisy road.
#4: Make an appointment with an agent.
The benefit of this is so it allows your agent to get a better understanding of your search and do some research for you prior to your meeting. You are also then able to get service by someone you have spoken to, or familiar with. (If you would like to speak to me, my agency market most of the projects as well and you can certainly reach out to me)
NOTE: All developers appoint several agencies (can even be up to 5) as to market the project. Given such an arrangement, all agencies will have the exact information and same prices. There is NO such thing as going direct to the developer or buying direct from the developer. You will see a lot of marketing websites and ads touting ‘Direct Developer Price’ – these are all agent websites and ads to attract you to contact them.
On your appointment day
- Bring along your invite OR Go to the your counter and say you have an appointment with [AGENT NAME] & [AGENCY]
- All agencies and agents make their income from commissions, so there will be a lot of agents at the receptions waiting for walk-in customers who does not have an appointment.
- It is not uncommon to see disputes on site over agents approaching customers who have already been services by another agent. So to avoid such conflicts, it will be best to have an appointment.
- So how about doing a WALK IN then?
- As above-mentioned, some people do walk in randomly and ask to see the showflat. The agents at the counter run on a queue basis waiting for walk-ins, so if you choose to come in as walk-in, you cannot choose a specific agency or agent to see. Let’s leave walk-in to people who are just here ‘window shopping’.
- Be prepare to spend to over an hour…
- Don’t go to a viewing and be in a rush unless you know instantly that the project is not what you want.
A Typical Showflat Presentation Flow
Once you are greeted by your agent, he/she or sometimes together with another agent (called a Tagger), will walk you through the showflat. They will usually give you an overview of the condominium and show you:
- Location Map : highlight major transportation options, route, nearby schools and amenities
- Sitemap: An evaluation view of the project and its facilities.
- Project 3D Model: Showing you a model of the entire project. Here you will see clear the direction facing of the units, and all the amenities within the site.
Viewing the Actual Show Unit
The most exciting part of the viewing is to see the actual showflat units to have a feel of the layout and space. Most developers do not build a show unit for all its layouts, but select a smaller (2 bedroom) and a bigger unit ( 3 or 4 bedroom) for showcase.
Do bear in mind that the show units has been done up and styled by an professional ID team to show the best of the space and not everything you see will be in the final purchase. So feel free to ask your agent whenever you are in doubt.
As a rule of thumb:
- Look for labels like “ID Treatment” : it means it is not part of the actual units.
- Look out for marking on the floor like “Wall Partition” or “Sliding/Swing Door Here”. Some showflat will remove this to open up the space.
- Ceilings normally do not include the false ceiling or side trimming. Ask your agent about this.
- Most kitchens come with the basic provisions: cabinet, counter top, oven, hob and hood, refrigerator, washer dryer and sometimes you also get dishwasher and wine fridge in more high-end projects.
- For bedrooms: standard 3 provisions are aircon unit, flooring and wardrobe.
- For bathroom, standard tiles or marble tiles, basic, toilet, shower unit and cabinets are included.
Presentation, Selection & Booking(Maybe)
Following your show unit, your agent take you to a reception area to present further details of the project:
- A detailed walk through of the facts & FAQ
- Gather your requirements and needs.
- Select units and provide you with real-time pricing. Developers often do not release all their pricing at once.
- Do ask for Starbuy units. These are usually units that are of the lowest price because of lower floor or less favourable facing. But if you are looking for a good deal for investment purchase, this unit offer you the best psf.
- Booking methods by the developer
- Immediate Booking
- This is the most direct booking system. Interested buyer can book the unit immediately when they view the showflat by putting in a 5% booking fee in the form of a cheque placement in exchange for a Option to Purchase(OTP). They then have 14 days to exercise the option.
- Under a Balloting system, you would put in a blank cheque to secure a balloting slot with the developer. On the balloting day. You will return to the showflat and wait for a ballot to be held to determine your order to book your choice unit. The earlier you are chosen, the higher the chance of securing your choice unit. So it is good for you to have 2-3 choice units on standby in case you miss the first one.
- Schedule of Payment & Timeline
- An advantage of buying a new launch is the Progressive Payment Scheme: the progressive payment scheme enables you to pay for a property according to the stage of construction is it at. What happens is that when each stage of the building is completed, the developers will send your lawyer a notice letting them know that you need to make your progress payment for that stage. Depending on your financing arrangements, you will either be called upon to make the payment in cash, or the bank giving you a loan will be contacted to release a disbursement.
- Advise you on financing options. If you need to speak to a banker, there will usually be some banker at the showflat to give you their advice.
- So this is when having a AIP before your appointment will save a lot of time and uncertainty for you. With an AIP in place, you can already decided with the agent help the selection of units that will fit your budget.
- TO PLACE YOUR CHEQUE (or NOT)
- Finally, the deciding moment at the end of the viewing. To commit or not? If you are ready to place a booking, you will fill up a Personal Particular Form and put in a cheque for the choice unit.
- Buying a property is a very big decision so take your time and think carefully. If you have done your prep well and research before hand, you will be able to come to a decision faster on the day. If you are still uncertain, it’s perfectly fine to tell the agent you need a couple of days to think about it, and promise to come back to that agent should you decide to make the purchase.
Good luck to your property hunt!
William Tan, Property Advisor
If you are a property investor, or simply thinking about selling or buying a property. Feel free to contact me for a non-obligatory chat. I am happy to share different options to help you craft a strategy to meet your objectives. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Mobile: 65-93863406.