With so many new complexes popping up across Sydney, house hunters are often cautious and confused about the process of investing in newly built off-the-plan apartments.
Despite this, it is clear that buying off-the-plan has it benefits, with newly released data from realestate.com.au revealing that 40 per cent of people like the modern features associated with new builds, while 35 per cent are attracted to the cost-savings incentives.
When short-listing projects, the price was also the most important factor for 57 per cent of people surveyed, while 45 per cent of buyers would be prepared to pay extra for a car space.
If buying off-the-plan is your preferred method, then there are plenty of key considerations that need to be taken into account to ensure the best outcome is achieved.
Propertybuyer.com.au founder and buyer’s agent Rich Harvey said one of the first things to consider was the track record of the developer and builder, as this is vital to ensure the build quality is at the level expected.
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“When making a decision the quality and reputation of the builder is crucial,” Mr Harvey said.
“Make sure they have a strong and long track record and are licensed. You can look them up on the Fair Trading website.”
The recent issues with the Opal Tower in Sydney Olympic Park raised questions about the security of buying off-the-plan, as many owners in the building are still without certainty surrounding their future.
Other things that need to be considered are the finishes and fixtures that are to be included in the build.
“Work out the aspect, light and layout,” he said.
“Looking at the floorplan it can be difficult to get a feel of what it will look like and what you will get.”
Also important is to check the contract for a variation clause, which could allow the developer to change the dimensions of the property, Mr Harvey added.
Checking the sunset date, the date by which the development must be complete, is also crucial, as is any requirements surrounding that.
Ensuring your finances are in order is also something buyers must tick off, as it is with any purchase you make. The risk with off-the-plan though, Mr Harvey said, is that once the building is actually complete, the value of the property might have fallen from what you originally paid, especially in an over-saturated market or if conditions weaken.
If you are planning to buy off-the-plan, the safest bet is to look at blue-chip suburbs that have low stock, with new developments offering a rare product in a premium location.
“If you find something unique, that has a reputable developer, is in an established suburb and in a boutique block, those are the things that will help it hold its value in the long run,” Mr Harvey said.
Research was key to buying off-the-plan for Peter and Maureen Steele, who recently downsized into their new apartment in Norwest.
The pair bought a three-bedroom unit in Mulpha’s new Haven complex, having previously looked in other areas of Sydney and regions like Newcastle.
The reputation of both the developer and builder and their track record across Sydney was a big reason they decided to buy in the newly established precinct.
“If you are buying off-the-plan you need to research the developer,” Mr Steele said. “You need to have a look at their reputation and how they handle things.”
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