Buying off the plan – What you need to know

As a potential home buyer, you must prepare yourself for challenges along the way as your set yourself up for one of the most important and exciting decisions in a life time. As if that isn’t stressful enough, buying off the plan can often be an even more overwhelming and daunting task as you prepare to fork out for something that doesn’t even exist yet!

Off the plan purchases have become increasing popular in recent years, especially in Perth, as the population continues to grow and individuals move more toward apartment living. The popular venture can come with some serious advantages – the stand out being buyers are able to purchase a property that is yet to be built, at today’ prices, which will hopefully rise in the future. Furthermore, you are buying something that has never been lived in or used before – the perfect purchase for some!

If you are considering buying a property off the plan, it is crucial that you thoroughly understand and feel comfortable with the property plans, associated clauses and fine print as this will help you avoid any disappointment once the property has been built.

Now, for those of you who don’t already know, buying off the plan involves purchasing a property before construction begins or before it is completed. These properties are generally listed at a cheaper rate with an assortment of incentives often pinned on. For example, those who buy off the plan have the option of customising your new property – having a say on finishes such as colours, tiles, fixtures, layouts and fittings.


Below, we take a look at six aspects you need to know before taking the plunge and signing that dotted line.

  • Have you received the full set of detailed plans for the property?

The building plans should show the full dimensions (in millimetres) of all rooms including bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and laundry – showing all door and window locations and sizes. The detailed drawing must also show wall and floor tiling layouts, window and cupboard placements, which all should be to scale.

  • Have you viewed the display suite?

If you have the option, we recommend inspecting the display suite. Buying a property off the plan can be difficult to get your head around when spending all your time looking at floor plans and samples. This often results in people thinking that their property is bigger than it actually is. Avoid the disappointment and view your future property in reality to ensure you know exactly what you are agreeing to.

  • Have you received a full building specification?

The specifications for your property should include the cabinet materials and finishes, appliance models and makes, wall and floor tiling, tap ware models and makes, electric fittings and garage door model, to name a few.

The common area specifications should include the make and model. For example, the window and door makers, wall and floor tiling, light fittings, garage door maker and air conditioning unit model and make. These seem like a minor aspects but it is important you are made aware of every small detail of your property and are happy with the quality of the specifications before purchase.

  • Do you know who you are dealing with?

Spend some time researching the developers, architects and builders of your future property. What are their history? Do they complete projects in time? How are they tracking financially? This information is key to knowing and understanding the quality of construction of the property.

Once you have identified who is who, it is important that you research some of their past and current projects. Consider visiting some of their finished properties to gauge the quality of their work. Take note of finishing touches to the property as you will have to assume a similar standard for yours.

  • If applicable, has a strata management company been selected?

The strata management company will be very important to your property once completed, ensuring that everything is maintained and managed efficiently. If the strata company has been selected, you will be able to conduct some of your own research on their services.

If it is a strata plan, ensure you are made fully aware of all of the rates. You should know these prior to making your offer to purchase. This will eliminate the possibility of you buying a property with strata fees that you are simply unhappy with.

  • Are the plans dimensions and layouts fixed?

The building plans supplied must be fixed and not be open to amendments during construction. If this is not documented in your sale contract, you might find yourself in a property you did not approve of. It’s best to avoid this possible situation at all costs as it will be a futile battle once the property is built.



About peardrealestate

Peard Real Estate is an award winning network of boutique offices throughout Western Australia delivering innovative property solutions, services and results for home owners, landlords and investors.
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