Sample flats are indicative only – they basically serve the purpose of giving the intending purchaser a sense of space and dimension. The fact that they are furnished allows for an understanding of how the available space could be optimally utilized. Sample flats are effective marketing tools and should be viewed as such. There is no compulsion on the buyer to buy anything but a completely unfurnished flat. While we do see many instances where a luxury apartment buyer is impressed sufficiently to ask for an exact replica of a sample flat, such buyers have the requisite financial capacity to pay for such embellishments.
There is little sense in being either carried away or prejudiced by the appearance of a sample flat. These flats are showcases, meant to incite interest and indicate the â€˜lifestyle potentialâ€™ of the unit. Once a buyer gets a fair idea of how furnishings and colour schemes have been used, he or she should draw a mental picture of how it could be done differently.
A prospective buyer has – and should exercise – the option of asking for some or all of the showcased features to be included in the flat one wishes to purchase, but these will come at an extra cost. What matters at this stage is not the visual impact of the sample flat, but an understanding of how the available space in an unfurnished flat could be used.
Remember – regardless of the sample flatâ€™s appearance, the developer will quote for the unfurnished flat, which means that the price includes the flooring, balcony area (if any), ceilings and walls. In sample flats of less spectacular mid-budget homes, the basic fittings are usually included in the quoted price. The buyer must specifically request for any additional features shown in a sample flat to be retained in the purchased unit, in which case these will appear in an annexure to the agreement as additional charges to the cost price.
That said, it is certainly true that sample flats can make a difference in a buyerâ€™s purchase decision, and developers of luxury homes are pulling out all the stops to use them to maximum psychological advantage. This is well within the purview of fair market practices.
In some cases, visually appealing sample flats may help to detract from the fact that the projectâ€™s location is not exactly cutting-edge. Nevertheless, as in any other highly competitive market where advertising plays a major role, the onus of establishing the difference between real and perceived value always lies on the buyer.
The author, Mrunal Duggar, is Vice President – Residential Services, Jones Lang LaSalle India