Signage with list of builders at the display homes
Paid the first month rent to our rental agent and took a deep breath reinforcing our first achievement (renting a house). as we thought about the coming weekend …got a call from a friend asking if I (architect in me) can help in their search for buying a house in Melbourne. To start we planned to visit the 70 Display houses in the northern most suburb called craigieburn to assess the choice in the current market.
Here the concept of Display houses is similar to model flat / house made by majority builders in their large scale projects in India to impression the buyer about the property they are going to build at the site.
But the difference here is the display houses are made by different leading builders next to each other in one locality than at a exact project site and the choosen prototype can be built for the buyer in any approriate plot they (the builder) offer in the city under ‘Land and home package’ or the plot the buyer owns.
Diplay homes with builder’s sales desk at the entry
We looked at the array of houses and what ever caught our eye, we decided to enter the respective builders office to be greeted by a sales rep and be handed over by the brochure and then be directed to the entry (yes thats how they keep a tap on the prospective buyers) of the display house. As we walk into each display house we were literally swept off our feet. The interiors and the settings in each space were done to a great standard and quality. Any buyer will have to be impressed with one or the other display house as they are so competitively displayed!!
The first disappointing fact is that if you go to the builder and say I like this ‘display house’ Iam ready to pay the advertised price on the brochure…we will be stopped right there saying the price is only for the ‘bare shell’ (Iam going do a seperate post on this one!!) that is just basic wall and floor without any finishes. The buyer is trapped by this display facia into buying just a bare shell 😦 Back in India we atleast get some basics to start living like kitchen counter, toilet fittings, flooring tiles, paints and finishes.
when we sat down with one of the reputed builder’s sales manager to gather some information, the first answer our friend had to give was my budegt is max. 500k , 4 bedrooms, 3 toilets, double garage.
Then the sales manager pulled up a few ‘floorplan options’ which are supposed to fit the bill. All flooplans have ‘names’ sometimes strange ones like ‘Banksia’, ‘Tussane’ , ‘Soho’ etc. Then the Sales manager talks in a measure unit called the ‘squares’ it took a while for me to understand that when he said the house is 35 squares in area it means simple 3500 square feet which then sounded familiar for me. Wiki tells that Squares is a unit historically used only in Australia.
After that he showed a range of ‘designer’ facade / elevation looks to choose from, which can be snapped on to any floorplan choosen by us for a big ticket again! sadly it sounded more like a mix and match fashion trend than a dream home approach! The display houses are a selected few from these mix and matches.
Few design flaws that effeortlessly showed for my eye are in 99% of display houses the master bedrooms, the most private space being the first to be seen when one enters the house (i really want to know why they do that, when privacy is of at most importance here), the other bedrooms are also very compartmentlised in location and the sizes are also compromised so much that it is hard to call them bedrooms, not even a single display house had a bath/ wet area in the groundfloor (in a dual level unit) what if aged people live in these houses? The builders even discouraged saying its an expensive affair to add one, but how while spending 500k?
When I had a look at the floorplans option I was first confused with the difference in terminology for room names. so a quick guide with indian terms-
‘Alfresco’ is an outdoor dining area additional to an indoor dining,
‘Lounge/ Living/ sitting’ is like drawing room,
‘Family’ is like a living room,
‘Rumpus’ is like a partying room and for what ever reason all or most of the above spaces are located together in the groundfloor. Are these duplicated spaces for a country with a avg family size of 2.6 increase or decrease personal interaction? This is what I call undisplayed outcome !!