How To Invest In Property Off The Plan
When it comes to buying real estate, there are two options that have been around for as long as we can all remember – physical property viewing and building a property from scratch. Off-the-plan investment is an option that brings new levels of ease, convenience and affordability when buying your new property. Although it requires quite a lot of trust, it may very well be worth it.
If you’re thinking about buying property off the plan and don’t know where to start – you’re in the right place. We’ll walk you through exactly how to invest in property off the plan and all the benefits that you might reap from the venture.
What Does Investing Off-Plan Mean?
Investing in off-the-plan property means buying a property before it’s built rather than buying into existing real estate. So no need to hire an expensive cleaner to bring your investment property up to scratch. Instead of going to view a house and buying it or being completely involved in your house’s construction, you’ll look at the builder’s drawn house plans and blueprints to imagine your home.
Sometimes, a previously built home will be showcased to give you an idea of what your building will look like when it’s completed. That way, you can get a better idea of what you’re getting into before making your decision. These properties are often built in a cluster or sectional-type development with the same layout and design.
The Benefits Of Investing In Property Off The Plan
Taking property-hunting off the plan does require some amount of trust that it’ll turn out the way you imagine and how it has been showcased. Once you’re over that hurdle, doing things this way can cut out some of the costs and hassles of property hunting for both real-estate investors and home-seekers.
Although this is probably reason enough to sweep most off their feet and into the market, there are many other benefits to think about:
Reduced Purchase Price
A guaranteed benefit is that the purchase price is generally less in comparison to an existing property. Developers will always include financial incentives and lower prices to secure the project before the construction. Other cost reductions come from no transfer fees and a GST-inclusive purchase price.
In most cases, you’ll only need to pay a holding deposit to the builder and land agent before construction and settle the rest of the amount once the building is under construction (via construction loan progress payments). This means that you have A LOT more time to put aside money for the settlement while the property is being build.
Despite not having settled the balance of the building, as the property is built, it’s likely to grow in value. That means that you’ll reap capital growth from the property.
New property equals greater tax depreciation. This means that on the purchase of new real estate, it’s easier to improve the after-tax flow of cash as well as to maximise its benefits. Depending on your area, claims for stamp duty concessions or other exemptions may mean further tax reductions for property investors.
Although the property plans might be similar, there’s still the opportunity to make the property ‘yours’. The earlier you buy into the off-the-plan process, the greater the chance that you’ll be able to customise your design – ranging from the house location to floor plans and the detailed finishes.
While your property is under construction, builder’s warranty insurance protects you and ensures that the builder must repair certain building faults within a specific time period. The guarantee of insurance is area dependent so make sure to not leave room for any surprises!
How To Invest In Property Off The Plan
If you’re completely sold at the idea of buying off the plan, there are many ways to go about it and loads of things to consider along the way. The standard things to look out for and how you actually navigate them remain pretty much the same though.
To help you do this, we’ve broken down the process (what to look for, when to look and what you need to do) into 10 easy-to-follow steps.
1. Set A Budget
The first step in how to invest in property off the plan is making sure you have put a finger on your budget. It’s important to make sure that you have accurately calculated an amount within your means and that you have some leeway to account for any unexpected costs along the way. These costs may include fees like an increase in repayment rates due to a rise in the interest rate.
If you are taking out a loan from the bank, it’s especially important to set your budget before seeking any finances. If you haven’t, you’ll likely borrow the maximum loan amount presented by the bank. This may end up being far beyond what you can safely afford when you incur the extra costs.
2. Select A Development
Location, location, location! This is the cry of many a real estate agent. However, the location of your property does have a big impact on the rise or fall of the value of your property in the future.
It’s also important to know exactly what you want out of the property and what the ideal location would be (based on the distance from your work, school, shops, etc), as well as what’s actually available on the market.
Going with a well-known and reputable developer in the area will increase the likelihood of the growth of your property value. Transport links, nearby government infrastructures such as roads and surrounding hospitals, shops and education institutes all indicate green lights for following through.
3. Select A Plan
After selecting a development, you should be able to visit a display home. This gives you the opportunity to pay close attention to the quality of the construction, the provided appliances and owner testimonials. Other things to consider are the floor plan (it’s orientation and accessibility), security, refuse collection, property services and amenities such as onsite gardens, pools and cafes.
If you’re satisfied with the development, you’ll need to reserve it by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) and paying a holding deposit. The balance of the deposit will have to be settled in about 2-4 weeks depending on the policies of the developer.
4. Seek A Solicitor
Because off-the-plan contracts are more complex than conventional property buying, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a professional.
The solicitor will make sure that the contract stands to benefit and protect both parties and ensure that you understand all the terms and finer details.
5. Check In With The Finances
The next step in how to invest in property off the plan is to check and apply for any governmental grants (if you are eligible). Developers may also sometimes offer similar grants.
Once you’ve checked this out, it’s time to review mortgage options. Review all your options and make sure to choose one that is trustworthy and that presents a competitive rate.
6. Contract & Deposit Settlement
Once the solicitor has double-checked and amended any problems in the contract, it’s time to sign the dotted line! You’ll probably also need to pay the 10% of the deposit at this stage. This excludes the holding deposit amount.
7. Pay Stamp Duty
If you’re planning on using the property as your main place of residence, then stamp duty concessions may be made to extend the payment deadline (usually going from 3 months of the contract date to 15 months).
8. Building Completion & Inspection
After settling the contracts, the development can get underway. Once the construction is complete, and before moving in, the developer will take you through the property so that you can check everything out and make sure you’re happy with it. It’s very important to know exactly what was promised in the contract so that you can make sure everything’s up to standard before you move in.
Your solicitor can help you to make a checklist of what to look out for. These usually include the development’s inclusions, exclusions, faults and damages, as well as the quality of the electricity and plumbing services.
9. Valuation & Settlement
During the settlement, your money-lender will determine your final loan based on the completed development. The developer should help out in this step to ensure the valuator understands the project. This will help them to end up with the most favourable outcome for all parties.
If the inspection goes well, your solicitor will complete the settlement – to be closed with your signature of course. Your lender will then process the transfer and keep the certificate for the duration of your mortgage.
10. Moving In
Now that all the admin is done and dusted, the keys are finally in your hands! Over time, the value of the home will appreciate, which means that in a few years you may be able to resell and make a profit. All thanks to investing in property off the plan!
Final Thoughts On How To Invest In Property Off The Plan
Although buying an off-the-plan property can seem complicated and overwhelming, it doesn’t need to be. Following these simple steps means that you will be informed and know what to look out for, who to contact and when to contact them. This, while evaluating the pros and cons for every decision, will make for the perfect setup to get you en route to your new home in no time!