What is buying off-the-plan?

Market Insights
2 years ago
4 minutes

Buying off-the-plan, whether it’s an off-the-plan apartment, townhome or house and land package, is a great way to secure a stylish, functional and spacious home for the next exciting chapter of your life - often for significantly less than the suburb’s median house price. 


What does off-the-plan mean? 

One Lakeview, Williamstown VIC

Purchasing property is one of the most important decisions of your life, so it’s essential to be well informed. Understanding precisely what buying off-the-plan means is the first step to making an informed decision about whether this is the right property option for you. 

Essentially, purchasing a property off-the-plan means buying a property that is yet to complete construction. Generally, off-the-plan apartments and townhomes enter the market once the development is approved for construction and the design has been confirmed. Unlike traditional property purchasing, where you can inspect an established property, this usually means there isn’t a physical property to inspect. 

Development teams will offer prospective buyers display suites to visit and inspect - letting you get a feel for your potential new home. Here, you can inspect the layout, design, quality of craftsmanship and chat with the development team involved. You’re encouraged to ask as many questions as you have and visit the display suite as many times as you want. 

The Harrington, Prospect SA

When you agree to purchase off-the-plan, you will receive guarantees around the quality of the build, style of the interiors, a timeframe of construction and a completion date. These and many other factors will be written into your contract of sales.

One of the most significant advantages of buying off-the-plan is that you will be moving into a brand-new property that no one has ever lived in before. Your new home will likely be architecturally designed and be located in a sought-after location. 

Whether you’re a first home buyer, looking to upsize, downsize, or feel it’s time to move out of your detached family home, there is an affordable off-the-plan property to meet your needs. 


How is buying off-the-plan different from other ways of purchasing property?

Southpoint, Highett, VIC

Off-the-plan properties offer many ways to customise your new property to suit your lifestyle needs compared to established properties. For example, you can often select your ideal floorplan and choose your preferred colour scheme. You can also select your choice of finishes and fixtures.

Securing the finances to afford an established home in a sought-after postcode is becoming increasingly difficult. The median price of an off-the-plan apartment or townhome is often significantly lower than pre-existing houses - offering significant savings without having to compromise on your ideal location. 

Additionally, buying off-the-plan requires a smaller deposit - sometimes as low as 5%. This gives you until the completion of construction to secure the remaining cost. For those who like to plan ahead, this also offers ample time to source and order furnishings to arrive as soon as your new home is ready to move in. 

Leonard Teplin, Director of Marshall White Projects, comments that “most buyers do not have to, nor do they want to, move in straight away. [When buying off-the-plan], they have time to save their money and obviously, they also have the benefits of buying brand new.” 

“Customisation of layout, specific colour schemes and personal idiosyncrasies can also be tailored in that time to make an apartment more homely when it’s time to move in,” he continues. 


Why do developers sell off-the-plan?

The Waverley Residences, Southport QLD

Developers sell off-the-plan to attract as many pre-construction sales as possible. This allows them to secure the necessary finances from their lender to complete the build.

While this may sound unnerving, it’s not something to be concerned about. The contract of sales will always outline the obligations of the developer once you have handed over your deposit. As mentioned, this will include a timeline for completion, style and quality standards that must be adhered to. The contract of sale will also include a cooling-off period for increased peace of mind. 

Off-the-plan living is at an all-time high in Australia. First home buyers, investors and downsizers are increasingly being drawn by the financial gains and lifestyle upgrades that come with these purchases. To check out off-the-plan apartments and developments in your dream suburb, click here. 

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