More and more people are buying apartments or retirement village
homes 'off the plan', meaning they sign a contract to buy
an apartment that is yet to be built.
There are many advantages to doing this such as securing a brand
new property at current prices that should grow in value over the
years it takes to put up the building.
You usually only have to pay 5 to 10% deposit to secure a
property off the plan, giving you time to save money while the
building goes up. You don't pay the full amount until the
building is finished. There may also be tax advantages and stamp
But there are also many pitfalls to buying off the plan and you
need to be aware of them before you decide to go ahead.
John Kettle, a property law specialist at Stacks/The Law Firm,
advises 12 things to look out for:
Don't be seduced by glitzy artists impressions or models of
the finished building - check details such as building materials,
bathroom and kitchen fittings, cupboards, floor finishes, size of
elevators, balconies, parking, gardens, communal space - keep all
marketing material and take pictures of display homes and
Don't forget laundry and drying facilities. Many do.
Check the developer has a good record of delivering what is
promised in the plan. Inspect other projects they've done.
Can your apartment's view or sunlight be blocked by a
future building? Visit the site and have a good look around.
Check size of rooms, corridors, ceiling height, storage
If you've ticked off all these, you have to make sure that
is what you get. It's vital your contract is watertight. Many
contracts protect the vendor such as no guarantee for quality of
the finished building. Some buyers found developers made
significant changes such as adding levels or cutting open space.
Does the plan have council approval? It's wise to have
experienced legal advice before signing any 'off the plan'
purchases to protect yourself.
Make sure you'll get your money back if the developer goes
bust or doesn't finish the job.
The Sunset Date - how long does builder have to complete the
project and what happens if extra time is needed?
Get your own independent legal advice, not one suggested by the
agent or developer.
How much are proposed strata levies? Check any long-term deals
Check bylaws - it might ban pets or access to certain
Check security, fire safety, broadband, TV cabling, noise
insulation, utility costs and environmental controls.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Council announced planning policies to encourage more inner suburban retirement village and aged care development.
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