First home buyers are increasingly buying off-the-plan (OTF). There are all sorts of incentives offered by both developers and governments but there are some other considerations to be addressed before signing contracts.

Do your research

Make sure you do as much as you can to research the property itself, the area in which you will be living and of course with new developments, the developer and the builder that they will use.
Area: You are buying a brand new property. Make sure you are familiar with the area and that you are happy with the surrounding neighbourhood. Do you know the selling and rental prices of similar properties in the area? Are you getting value for money based on what else is available?

Builder: Do some research on the builder or developer. Investigate what other properties they have completed and if there were any “unexpected” issues with the projects. If possible, have a look at other completed projects. Check if the developer has received DA (Development Application) approval for the project. It is very important that you are going to deal with someone who is trustworthy and reliable when making such a significant purchase.

Property: Have a really good look at the floor plan of your future dwelling. Understand and visualise the room sizes and layouts. They can look quite different in reality, upon completion. If you are buying within a complex or multi-construction site, also investigate proximity to other houses, vehicle access and the parking situation, particularly for visitors. Make sure you understand what appliances are going to be installed and that you are happy with them too.

Consider outside help

We have all heard stories of people buying OFT and winding up with problems because they did not fully understand all aspects. The temptation might be to save money early because things don’t look too complicated. But for the sake of a few fees, which will be small in the overall scheme of things, getting some professional advice can be invaluable. Maybe you should consult a property consultant, a legal advisor or conveyancing lawyer. You need to know what you are paying for, what you are not paying for and your entitlements.

Get your finances in order

In many cases, you will have a year or two before completion and moving in. This will give you considerable time to save and plan. Also be aware that you might be entitled to receive some government funding assistance such as first home buyers loans and savings on stamp duty.

Note though, as from 1 July 2017, the Victorian Government has made changes to the OTP stamp duty concessions. The changes means that the concession will only apply to buyers purchasing an OTP property to occupy as their home with a dutiable value under a certain threshold. We can help you through the changes.

Do your sums. We would be pleased to help.


Murray Nicholls

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