Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ben Macky, Founder, and CEO from Wallace & Stratton to discuss the pros and cons of ‘buying off the plans’. I was keen to gather insights from local experts in this type of property selling as his sales teams have managed a significant number of ‘off the plan’ builds and seen an increase in interest from buyers and the media in this type of property offered to the market since COVID hit.
With stiff competition between buyers when buying property, there can only be one successful purchaser on each property, leaving disgruntled buyers who have missed out.
Ben says buying off plans is an attractive option for buyers as an easier way of getting into the market, as most buyers are able to select their preferred property off the plans as opposed to missing out through the competitive auction process. Another benefit of buying off the plan says Ben is the old saying ‘the early bird gets the worm’. To get in early, as soon as the project is released to the public, increases the probability of securing a property at a lower price point in this rising market, and that says Ben, is a great buyer’s strategy.
Wallace and Stratton only deal with reputable developers which gives buyers confidence in the buying process as there are both aesthetic decisions and legal loopholes to work through with new builds and buying off the plans. Hence Ben’s recommendation that buyers check out the pedigree of the developer at the beginning of their viewing process, some dedicated google searching may well save you a lot of strife and legal battles down the track.
A reputable developer says Ben is likely to offer a 10-year build guarantee plus options to upgrade and be able to give you an absolute timeframe for completion. A starting point for buyers would be to consider if you are after a high standard of build or are the basics sufficient for your needs? Do be aware of aspects that looking at plans may not show you, so do visit the actual site not only to assess the location and take a good look to visualise what the outlook will be. Will your view from your living area be a sports ground or another high-rise building? Good advice is to ask the agent and visit your local council to ascertain what is being developed locally.
When it comes to on-selling down the track, lacking a point of difference to others in the development may see you struggle to sell alongside competing apartments on the market at the same time. Ben suggests you be on the lookout for what is unique about the property at the viewing stage, so you have a high chance of selling well when the time comes. There are basics things to look for, like, is yours a corner unit with extra windows and a superior outlook? Is the floor plan layout better than others? Is the access better, ie closer to the elevator? Does it have garaging when others don’t? Winning on as many of these options as you can at the buy-in stage will benefit you when it comes to sell. There are also other personal aspects to consider, ones to suit your lifestyle. Do you like morning or afternoon sun? Ground floor or elevated? Is soundproofing important to you? Do your own research and write up a list of other questions that determine aspects that will be important to you to enjoy your new lifestyle … will they allow pets? Is the development close to public transport?
Ben’s final advice is to seek legal advice before signing the sale and purchase agreement and to most importantly find out if there is there a ‘sunset clause’ to the benefit of the developer or you the buyer and will your deposit be secure? Your solicitor can explain any Body Corp obligations you will have in regards to levies and maintenance plan which will establish whether the buildings and complex be well maintained and uniformity kept.