One of the major decisions we all eventually have to go through is buying a house.
While you could have a family home you grew up in, it is still a dream for many to have a place to call your own, be it a swanky uptown apartment or a quaint double-storey terrace.
The decision on where you want to stay will usually boil down to a few factors—pricing, location, amenities, and if you’re planning to start a family, a proper neighbourhood.
But, most, if not all of the time, these buildings are already prebuilt and what you see is what you get. Any additional changes you want will be between you and your hired contractor.
I’ve come to realise that as a millennial, I value the ability to make choices that affect me, and this also applies for my future property purchase. And I’m sure I’m not alone.
Listening To The Voice Of A Generation
dto is a platform that gives consumers the chance to voice out what they really want in a neighbourhood, ranging from the design of the guardhouse to the facilities that they wish to have near the housing area.
Pronounced as ditto, dto is one of Sime Darby Property’s innovations and is headed by two female founders, Ee Lynn and Marie.
The idea came about when they were house-hunting but were unable to find one that fits their needs.
They noticed that there was a roadblock between the customers that want to buy a house and the developer.
Their rallying call: “Who were property developers to dictate how your dream home should be built?”
Future customers usually have no say in what they want the place to look like, and this creates a huge problem within the housing ecosystem and it could lead to issues such as property overhang.
An Overload Of Unoccupied Buildings
The National Property Information Centre (NAPIC) previously published a report detailing that a whopping 45.2% of condos, apartments and flats are currently filed as overhang properties.
They defined overhang properties as buildings that are completed and fit for occupation and were on the market for the past 9 months, yet were not bought due to a variety of reasons.
When combined, residential and commercial properties amount to a total of RM40 billion in unused properties.
But, the number increases when we consider planned apartments and condos that are being built or yet to even start construction.
Back in September, Deputy Finance Minister, Amiruddin Hamzah said the government’s main concern is to address the need for affordable housing and finding the right solutions to tackle property overhang.
Have Your Say
With the technology of dto, Sime Darby Property aims to tackle the issue through crowdsourcing and asking what people really want even before they build the property, allowing the people to co-create on their properties.
Even if crowdsourcing isn’t a new idea, the idea to implement it for housing is very appealing to me.
This also allows Sime Darby Property to position themselves as an innovative developer, and build properties that people would actually want to live in.
I wanted in on the action, so I created my own dto account.
Registering was swift and hassle-free, and was completed in a matter of minutes. After a few questions to gauge my property preferences, I was ready to vote.
Under the co-creation tab, dto has a list of active projects that they’re working on, but not all projects are open to voting; some have passed the voting stage.
There are two types of stages: Co-Creation and Preference Gathering.
At the moment of writing, I could only vote on dto’s 3rd project, the City of Elmina and the subjects are the Entrance Design and Perimeter Fencing Design.
Not one for traditional or block-like designs, I opted for the entrance with the arched design, and that is currently leading by a hair.
Once a project has passed a certain stage, it would then prompt the next stage of voting and then we’ll be able to vote again on different aspects of the building.
If you wish, you can also check out their very first project, Aurora Subang Jaya that has completed its voting stage. The voters chose between configurations ranging from building colours to door handles.
Sime Darby Property will build based on the vote of the majority. However, do note that not all designs will end up on the property when it is completed as it is subject to approval and regulations.
But, being able to choose even the minute details such as a door handle makes me feel like I potentially have a say in what I want in my future home.
Voting on the platform will also grant you points that can be used on a variety of rewards such as a free roll of wallpaper, priority unit selections, kitchen cabinets and even wardrobe vouchers.
Speaking of voting, you can also have a taste by voting for Sime Darby Property’s CNY 2020 ang pow packet designs. They currently have 3 that you can choose from.
These ang pows are also designed to be sustainable and reusable—they can be folded to seal and require no glue.
Once Chinese New Year comes along, Sime Darby Property will give out these ang pows and you’ll then be able to see the fruits of your labour. And to keep things easy, you don’t even have to register to vote for the designs.
So go and have your say, and if you find you enjoy being a co-creator, you might just want to be part of the process again when it comes to your future property too.
Featured Image Credit: dto