Buying off the plan may seem like a risky investment for most people, especially people looking at purchasing homes for themselves rather than investment. It is hard to work out if a place is the right for you when it is nothing more than a blue print, council plan or artist's impression. You want a place that is easy on the eyes, practical for your work and lifestyle requirements and possesses a comforting home feel.
There is nothing worse when the finished product doesn't reach your expectations. It is like when your favourite book is turned into a movie and the main characters are nothing like the image you created in your head. It can be a struggle to find a project that fits your criteria, with nothing more then a floor plan and project design to base your decision on. Although it may seem a difficult decision, there are a few positive points to consider.
- Best Price: The first properties released are always at a good price. As the value of the property and suburb increase, those new property prices are not are behind
- Time On Your Side: Long settlement periods mean you have time to take care of your investment or prepare to move home if you are looking at owner occupied
- Government Incentives: Stamp duty concessions may be provided to help stimulate economies through construction
- Pick Of The Bunch: Getting in early means you can choose from a range of properties. Weather it is the one with the best view or the furthest away from the busy main road, you have the option.
Along with these points, doing your research is a must to ensure the numbers are on your side, including finance, return, growth potential, depreciation benefits and so on. In addition, the complex nature of an off the plan purchase means you should also conduct a range of other checks to ensure the smooth running of your purchase.
Check 1: CONTRACT
Off the plan contracts are drafted and tailored very differently to a normal property contract. It is always a good idea to seek legal advice with a property and contract law professional if you have never dealt with an off the plan contract before. You should always check the following factors included in your contract - cooling off period, adequate plan disclosure, deposit, inclusions and warranties, finance, defects, stamp duty & completion
Check 2: BUILDER/ DEVELOPER
You should always look into the builder or developer completing the project. A good starting point are company websites, it is a great insight into past and other upcoming projects but gives you a sense of who the company is and what it is that they do. If any concerns are raised it is always good to reconsider the contract and seek legal advice on what other checks you can do on the developer or builder.
Check 3: FINANCING THE PURCHASE
It can be tricky to get finance approved for off the plan purchases with some investors losing their deposit after being unable to complete the deal. Some lenders may be reluctant as properties may be sold for more than they are worth, or unsteady markets may decrease the value of the property between the signing of the contract and completion. It is always a good option to seek out financial institutes such as Commonwealth, Westpac or Suncorp who offer long term loan approvals, which are subject to a conditional "on completion" valuation, conducted 90 days before settlement.
Check 4: THE PROPERTY & SUBURB
In most cases it's first in best dressed. Penthouse apartments and ones with the best views are usually snapped up first and may be sold for more than other apartments in the development. It is always good to go in knowing what you are looking for and want from the apartment. A few things to consider:
- Is it facing towards the nicest aspect?
- Is it removed from noise sources such as busy roads or workshops?
- Is its car space located in a convenient spot?
- Is it as high or low in the building as you would like?
These points and checks are only a few things you can conduct in order to make an educated decision as to whether the apartment if for you or not. It is always a difficult thing trying to imagine the finished product with drawings, but if you do your research and find a place that's perfect for you lifestyle you can't o wrong!