From the date of our flat selection in October 2016, HDB is supposed to call us to sign lease of agreement within 4 months, so by right it should be February. Somehow, they missed us out until we had to call and chase them multiple times after coming back from our honeymoon. So we finally went to sign the lease of agreement last April.
Our key collection is expected to be Q4 this year. But the flat looks almost ready, so during the signing of lease agreement, we tried to ask the officer to see if there is any chance that we could get the keys earlier. True enough, he said that HDB will ask to reapply our HLE around June-July. And usually from the time that happens, you can expect to collect your keys within 2-3 months. So the earliest we could collect our keys is probably around August-October. Apa lagi, kelam-kabut lah carik ID!
We just met up with 4 IDs within one week. So here’s a review of all the meetups.
1. Absolook – 21 May 2017
H and I went for this Absolook carnival at Jurong, cos I saw the fb event. They had some attractive promotions and sure-win spin thingy, with some freebies. No harm trying, since this ID is like super freaking popular. The ID that was assigned to us is called T. We spent like freaking 3 hours discussing our design. Lama gila babs. But it’s probably because it was our first ID meeting, so a lot of things were quite undecided by H and me. It’s not like we totally did not plan or discuss anything between ourselves beforehand, but there were really a lot of details in the planning that we did not realise. So yup, this meeting was quite an eye-opening one. However, H and I felt like we didn’t really have chemistry with T, unfortunately. She tried to like talk to us friendly and jokingly to break the ice, but tak click langsung hahahaha. H was also quite turned off at the way she was a little imposing on us to use her ideas. I felt like she could be a little too pushy and just trying to get our money. After that 3-hour discussion, she told us to go out for a break and jalan2 around the area nearby while she prepare a quote for us. She said she might take about 45 minutes to an hour, and she asked us to wait for her call. Since we were famished, H and I just ate macs since it was just downstairs. Dropped by Big Box for solat and walked around to see furnitures and appliances. By then, dah 1.5-2 hour and she still haven’t call us. So H said, balek sua. By the time we are 5 minutes away from home, she called us! Too late lor. She was stuck with another client, so she asked whether we can come down another day to discuss the quotation. So we came down again on Tuesday evening, since it was not very far from our place anyway. As expected, she tried too hard to sell it to us. The original quotation she came up with, totalled to $34K including GST. A little too over our budget, and she was so persuasive, tried to minus here minus there to get us to sign it. Since it was only our first ID meeting, there was no way we were going to sign on the spot. Goodbye, T.
2. Urban Design – 22 May 2017
This one, I keep saying it wrongly as Urban Decay instead of Urban Design HAHAHA! Okay Urban Design is recommended by my cousin. She didn’t take them, but UD was one of her shortlisted IDs. H and I looked through their fb page, and they had tons of photos, which looked beautiful and impressive, unlike some IDs who can’t be bothered to even post good quality photos of their work. Their office is in Balestier. So we made a trip there. The ID we got, is also another T, but he’s a Malaysian Chinese guy. H had more faith in him. He also provided some nice suggestions and ideas. But I felt like the way he talked, lacks confidence. Even though some of his opinions were quite good, it still felt like when we gave our ideas, he everything “ok can, we can do that for you”. Everything can, everything ok. I just think he can critique us more lah. I mean, we may have our own ideas, but eventually he is more experienced and we would appreciate more input for him. So I felt like he wasn’t giving us enough input. Right now, we are still waiting for the quotation from him.
3. MA Concept – 27 May 2017
I found out about MA Concept through a sponsored fb post, because they were having some Hari Raya promotion. So we immediately made an appointment at their place at Upper East Coast Road. Actually H and I thought it was another Chinese company, cos “Ma” sounds like a Chinese surname. Hahahaha. When we got there, it turned out to be a Malay company. Terus, we put our guards up lah seh hahaha. Memang to be honest, we have been avoiding Malay reno companies because of that stigma associated with it. Both my parents, H’s parents and a few other families dah kena by several different Malay reno companies. So we were just being extra careful. We still kept an open mind during the discussion with our ID, called F, but our guards were still up. I could tell H was playing hard-to-get because he was slightly impressed at certain things, but his expression tahan aje.. Okay actually I also la. Hahahahha. To our surprise, F sounded pretty good. He gave enough constructive feedback and ideas, and he seemed like an honest and neutral salesman. Chemistry pun ade. We already made a second appointment to discuss the quotation, so we’ll see how that goes.
4. Bestform – 28 May 2017
We made an appointment with J from Bestform, who was recommended and raved by our fellow wordpress girl, Aifa. By this time, H was already tired of meeting up with 3 IDs, so he was hoping for J to be a really good one, or a really bad one, instead of something okay-okay and just contribute to more headache. To our surprise, J was super straight-to-the-point. Kitchen cabinet nak macam mana, toilet nak buat ape, built-in wardrobe macam mana, living room, tv console. Discussion lasted only an hour. Break record sia. Shortest time ever. Or maybe also because it was already our 4th ID meeting by then, so a lot of the details have already been decided. One really good plus point about J is that he has promised a good package price that includes all accessories that we need to install in the house. Like stove, hob and hood, oven, toilet accessories, lights, fans, aircon. He has his own suppliers. I mean, usually most IDs also have their own suppliers, but these are all not included in the quotation, and we usually need to buy them ourselves, on top of the reno works. Some people even travel to JB to get their lights and fans to get a good price. So it depends on how cheap J can offer his supplies so that we don’t have to source them ourselves. We just made an appointment with him to discuss the quotation next weekend. J is the most experienced among all the 4 IDs we’ve met so far, but one reservation I have about him is that he might be a bit old school and old fashioned. Because I noticed that he didn’t even ask what kind of concept we want. (We’ve been telling the other 3 IDs that we want scandinavian.) It’s a bit like zaman our mak-mak last time, bila renovate rumah, diorang cuma tahu nak buat kichen cabinet, wardrobe, cornice, gedebak gedebuk, then choose pattern and colours, thats it. Takde fikir-fikir pasal concept or theme. Kerusi pun pesen lama, yang ada frame kayu dengan two-piece cushion sandar and cushion duduk, boleh bukak, boleh salin sarung dia. Cos he’s also around our parents’ age. When we asked for opinions and inputs, he gave some good ones, though. H likes him. But I guess we’ll see the quotation first.
What I’ve learned so far from this is that sometimes it’s better to rely on recommendations from your friends or relatives. Cos you may approach a really well-known ID company with multiple awards and good reviews, but if you are unlucky and get an ID that you cannot click with or cannot really understand your taste and what you want for the house, then it’s quite useless. (Like my first one). Worse still if that ID tries to hard-sell and only wants your money. To me, chemistry is really important and I need an ID who understands our needs and our taste. He must be really easy-going and basically, easy to work with. So it’s really important to start your homework early. Talk to your friends and relatives who have recently renovated their house, ask them about their ID’s personalities/character, examine their workmanship etc, and ask them honestly whether they would recommend their ID to you or not. All these research goes a long way. Unfortunately, I had to learn it the hard way.
Another thing I’ve learned is that H and me have very different tastes in certain things and it can be really annoying. Ok bye.