Just for fun, we went to see show flats last weekend. I’ve never been to one before and since we now have a car, it’s so easy to drive around and find ourselves a showroom to wander about in.
I remember when I was a child, I made a rash decision to buy a 2 bed set which comes with 3 chests of drawers just because the shop had covered the beds with matching shoe design bedsheets; left shoe for left bed, right shoe for right bed. when they finally delivered the bed, I realised with disappointment that the bedsheets didn’t come with the bed set. of course I didn’t tell my parents the deciding point behind the bed set but it did fit our room well in the end. except for the fact that my younger brother kept rolling off his bed in the middle of the night, and I had to wake up (light sleeper) to wake him up so he could climb back into bed. we even balanced a small mattress on a row of stools in between our beds to cushion his fall.
So I told myself when I went to look at show flats, don’t get sold by the funky furniture.
We went to one close to my home, Austville @ Ulu Sengkang, where upon we realiesd it’s not so close afterall after driving pass many Vales in Sengkang. it’s apparently an Australian themed executive condominium which after studying the facilities closely, I thought was stupid. They had the typical BBQ corner, which they termed Aussie Grill. what’s the difference? it’s still charcoal and meat right? they also have a garden to one side which is planted with Aussie type greenery like Eucalyptus and rock. not kidding, they have a rock garden.
When I came across Austville online, I decided to drop a query to see if the show flat was still open and if there were units available. 2 seconds after I clicked enter, my phone rang and an agent identified himself and asked when I wanted to view the flat. I shrieked and said, “but I only just hit enter!” it’s almost like he was cyber stalking me.
The agent was this nice man who met us at the show room. for the 1st time, I had to pretend that Bryan was my fiancé else they’d have to throw us out (coz there’s no way I’m pretending I’m 35). he brought us immediately to the model of the estate. it looked quite nice, i don’t know, most buildings look the same to me. it has a very big pool, travelling from one end of the estate to the other. Bryan, being the geographer, started asking where did each block face. he was partial to the blocks facing the park while the rest of the world apparently preferred the pool view. the agent’s rationale was facing the park, you don’t know what might come up in your line of sight in future, while facing the pool you’re pretty sure you’ll remain facing the pool for the rest of your stay. I personally think all these other people who chose the pool view are voyeurs at heart. even my brother admitted to ogling this bikini babe from next block.
The agent took us through the show rooms which I thought was pretty nice. There was a lot of white, which while good to look at, is a pain to clean. the 3 bedroomer had a leather tall back white couch used as seating for the dining area. very Lady Marmalade. The sofa in the living room was set against the wall where the tv point was, so obviously the room wasn’t designed for function. they put a wine rack in the bomb shelter (which was re-termed as household shelter, which puzzled me for DAYS when I was looking at the floor plan prior, wtf is a household shelter?).
it was quite funny that we had to imagine where the front door should be and obediently followed the imaginary entrance way into the rest of the house. then we pretended to keep within the boundaries of the pretend balcony. I asked questions about flooring and finishings and tried to sound really intelligent about it. In the end, the agent shook our hands, told us to think carefully about it and let him know if we were interested. a few days later, I received a handwritten thank you postcard from him, which I thought was rather nice and personalised.
Since we were in the area, we drove a few blocks down from Ulu Sengkang to Ulu Punggol. If I drove any more, my hydro wheels would have come out and Id have ended up at Pulau Ubin. We drove right up to Prive’s show room and let ourselves in. a nice lady followed us around as we repeated the same questions we asked earlier. This female agent wasn’t as well versed in the product as the other guy and she hmmed and hawed more than saying any actual words, to the point where I got impatient and started ending her sentences. Since Prive was launched a few months before Austville, most of the units were snapped up but she had 1-2 preferred units on higher floors, which she whispered to me were let go by another couple coz they couldn’t afford it.
Generally everything about both places were about the same. the layout of the rooms, the facilities downstairs, that each floor had a balcony and both were in a forgotten part of Singapore. They even had the same built-in cupboards and flooring!
According to the agent, Singaporeans typically look for these things:
1. north south facing i.e. not facing sunlight (Bryan, being a geography teacher, had a lot to say about that although I wholly agree with not having the morning sun shining into your eyes when you are trying to put on your make-up)
2. near MRT station
3. near amenities such as food centres, markets, etc.
4. near schools.
If it were me, I’d look for something:
1. near a drinking hole
2. has no playground or children friendly things
3. near a park (with a dog run)
4. not near a school with band practice on Saturday mornings.