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Boutique developer keeps to 'quality and trust are everything' stance

A penthouse showroom by Urbanland is outfitted with world-class equipment and furniture. Photo supplied
A penthouse showroom by Urbanland is outfitted with world-class equipment and furniture. Photo supplied

Boutique developer keeps to 'quality and trust are everything' stance

Aesthetics have and will always play a major part in a consumer’s decision to purchase a product, be it clothes, furniture, or even a fully outfitted home. Besides the ocular appeal, quality comes in at a very close second. With so many easily imitated and duplicated products out there, it is easy to replicate a high-quality-looking item. However, when it comes down to the real deal of sealing the purchase, quality and trust are part of the jury. Marketing manager of Urbanland – responsible for developing high-end condos Embassy Residences and Embassy Central – Victor Huot, gives Post Property more insight into this oft-overlooked aspect.

With many big-name condo projects like The Bridge, Skylar and Casa Meridians, and even Embassy Residences and Embassy Central hurtling towards completion now, what do you think is the most important selling aspect to buyers i.e., showroom outfits, room layout, interior design?

Buyers will consider the basics when purchasing property; the location, the quality and the price. However, being that we are a local boutique developer we find that the most important aspect our buyers look for is trust. They trust us to deliver on the premium quality product as we promised them on time, they trust that their property will be managed and maintained well enough that it still looks and operates like new five to 10 years after moving in. But, most importantly, the best selling aspect is for them to trust the people within our teams.

Having met many potential customers, what is the biggest difference you see in their preferences in terms of choosing whether or not to buy a particular unit?
Buyers who are purchasing units to live in are very particular about their needs when making a purchasing decision; they prefer an exclusive living experience and usual request for higher floor units and 5-star level management which adds value and convenience to their lifestyle. Buyers who purchase as an investment-first focus on building trust with the developer. And secondly, having the confidence with the property management team's ability to operate a well-run building while maintaining a high occupancy rate.

Why and how is it important for a showroom to be very aesthetically pleasing?
It's important for our buyers to experience the space for themselves, and that's why we took the extra time to build a fully functioning showroom to the exact scale and quality that is offered in our finished product. It helps our buyers envision how they will use and live in the space. It's also an opportunity for buyers to see our qualilty craftsmanship up close and get a sense of how the property will be managed when interacting with our team.

Does Urbanland design and manufacture its own products to be outfitted in the showrooms, or does it also incorporate other brands?
We use our local architectural design team from Hok Kang Architects for all our development projects. We design and build with climate, green living and our resident's overall wellbeing in mind.

It's also a vital factor for us to build and maintain direct relationships with our European partners and suppliers whose top-branded fixtures and fittings incorporate in our work. This ensures that we are able to offer the highest quality products and support in the market.

Can you tell us what the current trend in the overall interior design industry is now – from a buyer’s point of view?
There is an increasing demand for well-designed interior with higher quality furniture and fixtures, as the market is starting to understand that this aspect helps increase property value. Developers who share our long-term visions have made those investments earlier on as we knew from the get-go that these interior design offerings will help differentiate us from the market. Developers with short-term plans will need to adjust as the market matures, and now have to find other ways to cut cost. In the long run, these differences in quality there will still remain a big problem and gap between these developments.

How do grade A and B apartments fare against each other in terms of occupancy?
Depending on the market segment, the highest occupancy rates in the market are currently the grade A condo/apartments. These are normally built in convenient locations, have quality layout and furniture, and unsurpassable property management.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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