How to buy a BRAND NEW Condo directly from Developers - Step by Step
Updated: May 11
"VVIP SHOWFLAT PREVIEW!"
"NEW LAUNCH! Register for VIP preview!"
"Direct Developers Discount! Indicate your interest now!"
Have you seen these advertisements before on Facebook or IG?
You must have, especially if you have been in the market for properties.
Have you also wondered how this "VVIP Preview" works?
Are there any perks or actual discounts from attending these previews?
And what happens if I am keen to purchase a unit after the preview?
Let me share with you the entire process of buying a new launch condo at preview - from the moment you get the invite to attend the Preview launch to the point when you actually officially purchase a unit.
Step 1- Register for a Showflat Preview
When a brand new condo is about to be launched, the developer will usually hold a PREVIEW. This preview usually lasts for two weeks. Prior to the preview, you will probably see many ads urging you to register for it. Once you register, an agent will be in contact with you to arrange a date and time for you to come down to the showflat during the preview. Once you have that appointment confirmed, all you need to do is to bring yourselves down on the preview day/time and enjoy the tour.
Step 2 - Showflat PREVIEW
Singaporeans love to buy property. And honestly, who doesn't love to look at showflats? So previews are usually very crowded, so be mentally prepared and try to arrive a little early to get parking and find your way there. If possible, find out beforehand from your agent where is the best place to park. I'm also going to tell you to bring your cheque book, even if you are still sitting on the fence. There's a good reason for it, let me explain why later.
What to expect on Appointment Day
At this preview, buyers like yourselves will be the special first group of people who will get to walk into the spanking new Showflats and see the project. Besides the agent you registered with, there will usually also be another agent called the "tagger". S/he is the expert in the project, and will be the one leading the tour and answering most of your questions related to the condo.
Once you enter, there will be a mock up model of the entire condo where you can see how many blocks there will be, where exactly is the pool, the side gate, etc. You will also be informed of the location and the nearby amenities etc.
Next, you will get to see and walk through the bedroom showflats, eg. the 2 bedroom showflat, or the 3 bedroom showflat. These are done up to scale so you don't have to visualise from the floorplans on paper. You can actually walk into an actual showflat and see the materials and finishings, open up all the wardobes, check out the countertops, rainforest showerhead, etc
You will be able to get a feel of whether you can see yourself living there.
Do take note though, a lot of these showflats are done up with interior design (ID) treatments, e.g. wallpapers and extra carpentry. They do NOT come with the unit you buy. In reality, most actual units come in just plain white walls. So be sure to remind yourselves of this as you walk through the showflats. One more thing, to facilitate the viewings, doors are not installed in the showflats. So that's another thing to take note.
In recent times (covid), each group of buyers is given a time slot of 45min-1hour for the tour. Once your time is up, you will be invited out of the showflat. That is one reason why you should arrive early to fully maximise your time at the showflat.
Once you're out, you will be invited to the tentage for further discussions. This is where you will sit down and have a chat with your agent and tagger. They will usually answer any questions you have, provide you with the indicative guide prices of the units and help you to assess your affordability should you wish to know.
Do note that at this point of time, you do not know the actual prices of the units. The developer might provide indicative guide prices at this point of time, but the ACTUAL prices will only be revealed on booking day itself for most projects.
Step 3 - Expression of Interest (EOI)
At this point after seeing the showflat and discussions, you could be feeling one of these -
A. I LOVE IT! I want to buy!
B. I like it... But I'm still not sure.
C. I don't like it. Bye!
If you are feeling C, then I would hope you had expressed your concerns to your agents and given them a chance to address them. If you are still not convinced, then let's find your dream condo in the next launch! Thanks for dropping by!
If you are feeling A, then you need to secure yourself the unit! If the project is OVERSUBSCRIBED, which means there are more buyers than units available, then a balloting will be conducted. To get the chance to be in the ballot, you will need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).
To submit an EOI, you will need a cheque and fill up authorisation forms/personal particulars form. Your agents will advise you of the details accordingly. And after you have done that, you just need to relax and wait for balloting day, which is usually 1-2 days after the last day of the preview.
Now, if you are feeling B, ie. you are still sitting on the fence, it might be a good idea to submit an EOI too. Let me explain why.
There is no obligation to buy when you submit an EOI. There is also no obligation for the developer to sell to you too. It is basically a chance to decide later what you want to do. With the EOI, you get to do 2 important things - First, to get your queue number. And 2ndly, to find out the actual price of the units and then decide whether you want to buy. What do I mean? Read on.
Step 4 - Ballot Day
For example, you are hoping to buy a 1 bedroom unit. As usual,1 bedroom units are very popular and there are only 50 1-bedroom units. So you decide to submit your EOI. On ballot day, you get the queue number of #8! Wow, lucky you! There is a good chance that if you decide to buy on the sales booking day, you will get to choose the unit of your choice, provided you agree with the actual price which will be revealed then.
But for example, if you get the queue # of #300, then chances are by the time it is your turn to buy, all the 50 1-bedroom units are taken. So you can either decide to give it a pass on sales booking day, OR you can turn your attention to the other available 2, 3, or 4 bedroom units if they are still available.
So you can see, submitting an EOI doesn't cost you anything (except a cheque), but it gives you a lot of flexibilities in case you change your mind about buying or not buying. What if the actual price is too good to resist? What if you get a super good queue number that puts you in that favourable position to buy at a big first mover advantage? If you had submitted the EOI, you would be able to take advantage of the situation! But on the flip side, if you had submitted the EOI but you ended up with a poor queue number, or you changed your mind and decide not to buy after all, just walk away with ZERO penalty. Your agent will just collect your cheque and forms back from the office and return them to you. All you lose is really the cost of one cheque.
Step 5 - Sales Booking Day
This is usually another 1-2 days after Balloting day. You will be given a time slot to be at the Agency Office based on your ballot number. Be sure you go through the floor plans thoroughly and discuss with your agent carefully prior to this. It is important to go prepared with more than 1-2 choice units, in case your most preferred units are taken before your turn to choose.
If you manage to secure the unit of your choice, CONGRATULATIONS!!
Why it is almost ALWAYS better to buy at Preview prices
Some friends have told me this whole process is too troublesome! They would just wait for the crowd to ease and go look at the showflat and buy AFTER the preview.
Are there any advantages of buying at Preview Launch?
The answer is an astounding YES.
Initial launch for most projects is the best time to buy as that is when developers price their units at the lowest and most attractively in order to achieve early bird clearance of units.
Because good sales help them have positive media coverage. And usually once they hit the 30% sales mark, bank loans are released to pay for their construction rather than draw on their own cash balances. The developers make the lowest profit margin at this stage, but they achieve their targets and buyers reap the benefits of the early bird "discount".
Hence, there are very good reasons to brave the crowd and get in at preview prices.
Savvy buyers will know, developers usually increase prices more than once until all units are sold out.
So do you want to buy at the initial prices or at later price hikes?
I hope I have given you a better understanding of how new launches work!
If you are keen to visit any new launches and showflats e.g. the upcoming Liv@MB, feel free to contact me at 8268 1409. I'll be happy to show you around.