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Buying off the plan

What is buying 'off the plan'?

Buying off the plan means that you’re purchasing a property based on the building plans and designs, but it hasn’t been built yet. While this may have advantages compared to buying an existing property, there are some risks to consider too.

Some potential benefits of buying off the plan

  • Because the property hasn’t been built, you may have more time to save money and plan ahead before moving in.
  • In some states and territories, you may be able to save on stamp duty because you’re not buying a completed property.
  • If you're buying your first home, you may be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant.
  • Some developers offer a discount or some other kind of financial incentive if you sign a contract before construction begins.
  • In some instances, you may earn interest on the cash deposit you've paid until settlement.
  • You may be able to customise your property in terms of floor plans and finishes (such as the option to choose floorboards instead of tiles), depending on your developer.
  • If you're buying for investment purposes, your tax accountant may advise of any tax benefits you may be eligible for if you're buying off the plan.
  • New properties generally come with a seven-year builders’ guarantee to cover structural or interior building faults.

Things to consider

  • Get your solicitor or conveyancer to read the contract carefully to make sure there aren’t any unusual costs or conditions to do with the development. These include any compensation that you should get if there are any delays, or any penalties if you change your mind.
  • You should also find out what the process would be to fix any defects that have been identified when the building has been completed.
  • You may like to find out how you’re covered if the developer goes bankrupt before completing the project.
  • There may be a difference between what you think you’re getting and the actual end product, as you don’t have a physical building to assess (except perhaps for a display home). Spend some time researching the developer, builder and architect to make sure they have a good track record.
  • If you’re buying it as an investment, do bear in mind that during the time it takes to build the development, market fluctuations and other housing developments may affect its resale value.

Any advice does not take into account your personal needs and financial circumstances and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you and read the relevant Terms and Conditions, Product Disclosure Statement and Financial Services Guide before acquiring any product. 

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