Top tips for buying off the plan

Buying a new apartment off the plan is a popular choice for many purchasers and has some distinct benefits. However, this option can be confusing if you have never done it before.

In our latest blog, we look at the advantages to buying off the plan and helpful tips to consider when doing so.

Benefits to buying off the plan

Buying off the plan can be a great option for many people with key benefits being choice of apartment type, time to sort finances and everything that comes with the purchase of a brand new property.

  • Choice – you can choose the apartment that best suits your needs in terms of location, aspect, views, configuration (number of bedrooms, bathrooms and general layout) and facilities.
  • Financial – usually it is a 10% deposit on the purchase price required when buying off the plan. This allows you time to make financial arrangements well ahead of settlement.
  • New – buying a brand new property means a lot less maintenance, which can save you a lot during the early years. If you are an investor, a new property asset offers significant depreciation benefits.  

What should you consider when buying off the plan?

If you have never purchased off the plan before, you should consider a few key things. Take the time to ask the sales agent questions, review plans and layouts.

  • Layout of both the apartment, storage and parking– what sort of accommodation do you need? Do you need a car parking space? Is there storage available in the basement or in the apartment? 

  • Location and amenity – consider the location of the new apartment development and surrounding amenity. For example, is the apartment close to public transport, shopping, restaurants, education and quality open space? All of these things are important not only for owner occupiers but also for investors looking to attract quality tenants.  

  • Solar access and the ability to benefit from the prevailing breeze – the overall design of the building can make a huge difference to how comfortable your apartment is. Consider which way the building faces, how living areas are designed and so on (see our blog on solar passive design tips for more details in this area)

  • Privacy – ask about any overlooking or privacy issues – whether that be from other apartments within the complex or nearby buildings. 

  • Level of specification – review the level of specification, fit out and the quality of the build. You want to protect your future investment. Ask questions about what appliances will be included, the type of bathroom fittings and air conditioning, for example. Often there will be optional upgrades, so find out what these are and weigh up the benefits of taking them up.

  • Use of common facilities & strata fees – it is worth considering what common facilities you will actually use. For example if the apartment development you are considering has a pool and you don’t like swimming, remember you will be paying strata fees for facilities you aren’t using. Also make sure you ask about the ongoing strata fees so you can make sure you budget for them. (You can read more about strata titled living in our blog on this topic!)

  • Project completion dates – when is the project scheduled for completion? Ask what level of pre-sales need to be achieved before the project commences construction as this may give you an indication of overall timing. In addition, check the ‘sunset’ or latest sales date in the contract. 

  • Do your homework on the developer – look for a developer with a good track record to deliver a quality outcome. You also want to make sure your developer has the financial capacity to underpin the development. Check out the builder and the architects the developer is working with. Ask to see examples of previous apartment buildings successfully delivered by the developer.

Compare other apartments already built – in the current WA market, it is worth considering already completed apartments. You still get the benefits of buying a new property, but if timing is an issue for you, you have the option of moving in straight away!  
Buying a brand new apartment or a new home is an exciting time, and there are many perks to buying a property that is yet to be built. It doesn’t need to be daunting either, as long as you do your research and follow our top tips above. Good luck and happy apartment hunting!

Source: Pindan

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