If anyone has spent just 30 minutes on social media platforms such as Facebook, looking through the many local ‘properties for rent and sale pages’, it quickly becomes apparent that the demand for modern properties at reasonable prices has experienced a sharp spike in recent history. Now, while there are just as many people attempting to lease property as there are those seeking them, only a select few have chosen to net customers with deals that are too good to pass up.
This month we take a look at apartments falling under the jurisdiction of the Freshco organisation, as well as privately-owned units. For Freshco: the list of properties include apartments for rent in the villages of Kg Madewa, Kota Batu, as well as Kuala Belait, which can be readily viewed by the general public at the company’s Instagram account @freshcoproperty. The privately owned apartments on the other hand are located along Jalan Pasir in Berakas. Don’t get too excited as it must be noted that at this current time, quite a few of these apartments have been snapped up by tenants comprising the local and expatriate communities. There are still some units that are up for grabs, so first come, first served is the policy in effect.
There are apartment units that differ from one another in sizing and layout, and therefore fall under different pricing categories, with monthly rent ranging from $700 to $1,200. Some units incorporate a kitchen and dining area into a single open concept floor plan, while others have the kitchen placed separate. Regardless of where in Brunei the apartments are, these units are all self-contained within larger gated compounds. All tenants receive gate remotes as well as their unit keys upon moving in. Caretakers who watch over the premises also double as a maintenance service provider should it be required. Adding even more value to your dollar is the inclusion of utilities in the overall rental fee. Water, electricity, unlimited-level WiFi access, all provided as part of a packaged deal, which when combined with the security of being part of a gated compound community, makes these units a real steal.
Whether the establishment responds to inquiries online or face to face, good reviews and comments have been made by the general public regarding the apartment styling. With many referring to the aesthetics as having a modern contemporary and European feel to them, the units in question are fully-furnished. Now, while the apartments nationwide have all been similarly styled, the larger sized units have a more European vibe due to the extra space supporting a minimalist approach to design, while the smaller units capitalise on lesser space with clever furniture layouts.
Speaking with the BHC Magazine team, Siti Noor Arrifah, laughs audibly as she shares her contribution to this project. “I’m actually a marketing and event coordinator for Freshco. One day I was helping with a major clean-up, and the redecorating of one of my manager’s office spaces. I can be a little OCD sometimes, and was insistent and proactive in determining what should go where. My boss must have liked what she saw because the next thing I know, I was being given budgets for decorating these apartments as part of a fresh revamp.”
“Despite a limited budget, Arrifah, experienced a great deal of success decking out several units. “I go crazy, it’s like another side of me,” the young woman says with a large grin, before pointing out that the secret to decorating an interior when you have limited funds is to combine everything from multiple sources. “You just need a little imagination. I managed to buy tables, couches, smaller decorations and other furniture for really affordable prices. I went everywhere to see what could work well together. I went to IKEA, Deli, Happy Star, First Emporium, Mr D.I.Y, and Jackhan. Some of the furnishings were bought 2nd-hand from previous tenants who were leaving the country.”
Using her own style as a design template, many of these units share common elements that unite them all in uniformity, and that it is only the floor plan and size that differentiates the apartment-types from one another. “I based a lot of my inspiration from Western furniture retail companies such as West Elm, and Potterybarn,” Arrifah says, before adding that the water colour artworks adorning the walls are prints of nature found online that have simply been framed. “Imagination. That is all it takes when playing with a small budget.”
Scouring local online groups in search of properties is an activity BHC Magazine engages in just as often as the private citizen looking for a new place to stay, which is why we can’t stress enough just how good of a find these hidden gems are. Proof of this fact is the fast-dwindling number of units available on the market. Thus far the pattern indicates that the majority of tenants have moved in not long after their respective viewings. I guess they recognised a very good deal too.