After a 2 month stint as a show flat marketing intern, here’s a post inspired by a friend who asked me what I’ve learnt from the internship. If I could choose 3 important things I think anyone should know especially about purchasing their first property or real estate locally, it would be these.
1. Investing in real estate and property is wise, especially in high-density cities.
In places like Singapore where there is an ever increasing population, the prices of real estate and property can only go one way, UP. So you know you’d want to invest in them when you have the $.
2. Buy a HDB (Housing Development Board) flat first.
Especially if you are eligible, i.e. you are a Singaporean citizen or a Permanent Resident because not only the government gives a $20,000 – $30,000 grant (“free” money!) to first time buyers, it is almost 100% guaranteed that the price of your HDB will increase when you sell it off after you’ve completed the MOP (Mandatory Occupation Period, which is currently set at 5 years, i think). So after 5 years of living in your HDB, you can sell it at a profit and move on to purchase a resale HDB, ideally a place that’s bigger and more convenient. Or, you can use the profit and purchase a condominium.
Make sure to purchase a HDB while you’re still earning less than $8,000 a month and do not own any private property or you won’t be eligible to buy one! There are other eligibility requirements to buying a HDB, like having a family nucleus, so you can only buy if you are married or have a fiance/fiancee. Singles can only buy after the age of 35.
3. Don’t be fooled by the showflat.
If you are looking to purchase a private condominium especially for the first time, do not be taken in by the show-flat. As a show-flat marketing intern for 2 months, I have come to know that the show-flat:
– Shows the biggest unit available. For example, for 3 bedroom, there can be the 1000sf and there can be the 900sf kind. The show-flat will always be the biggest unit available and if applicable, with the balcony or PES (private enclosed space) on ground floor. The PES will easily add about 80sf, and that’s a lot. The view you’ll see will also likely be the best, and not the bin-centre or substation. Never assume that what you see at the show-flat is what you’ll get.
– Will be adorned with the best interior decoration that can easily cost up to hundreds of thousand dollars. That includes mirrors in every room, to create the illusion of space when the actual floor size is small. The mirrors and most of the interior decoration are usually not provided on purchase, hor. The interior decoration with the expensive linen and furnishing creates a very exclusive, beautiful and ideal home environment, all to induce you to buy it. So don’t be taken in by the superfluous beauty and be in for a “surprise” when you open the door to a smaller than expected, empty and plain unit after you collect your keys. Make sure you know just how big (read small) the unit along with the exact accompanying furnishing that you intend to purchase and not make assumptions based on the show-flat!
The key things you’d look out for before buying the property: floor size, location (whether it’s convenient for public transport, near good schools, shopping places, etc), view (not the bin centre or blocked by buildings or trees) and accompanying furnishing.
All in all, even if you’re super rich, purchasing a home or any property for that matter, is usually a major life decision and one that costs a huge chunk of your income/savings. So it will pay to be careful and to do your own research and homework. Don’t rely on the marketing agent to analyze the property for you. Make sure you know what you’re paying for. Read through the brochure carefully, especially those in fine print and prepare a list of questions you want to know and ask the property agent you’re attended by at the show flat.
These are the 3 important points I’ve learnt, hope you’ve learnt something new too!