Buying off the Plan? Consider These Pointers

What are the benefits of buying off the plan?

If you’re thinking about buying a house, then one of the choices in front of you is whether to purchase a property that’s already been lived in or buy off the plan.

It can be easy to decide in favour of buying off the plan – after all, you’re getting a brand new home that’s never been lived in before. But there are a number of things to take into consideration before you decide this is what’s right for you.

Being able to buy a completely new home and have input into design considerations isn’t too shabby a benefit. Not only does it mean you’ll have a modern home that can automatically accommodate the latest technology without expensive renovations, you also have the chance to suggest small customisations to the home for your own particular needs.

Not only that, but a number of states like Queensland and New South Wales offer a stamp duty concession on new homes and vacant land on which they intend to build on. In NSW, for example, the First Home – New Home scheme exempts first time buyers from duty on any new home valued up to $550,000, and grants a discount on it if the home is valued between $550,000 and $650,000.

One other advantage of buying off the plan is that you pay the current market price for a property that will be finished later, when prices could be higher.

Sounds Great, Where do I Sign?

Easy, tiger. There’s more to think about. Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball we can use to look into the future. There’s no guarantee that market conditions will get more favourable for those with property. House prices could fall in between the signing of a contract and the completion of construction, and interest rates could rise, too.

Also potentially problematic is the fact that you’re depending an awful lot on the builder or developer, so you need to make sure they’re honest, will complete the project on time and are financially stable. It would pay to do a bit of research on them before signing anything. Go on their website, look at what people are saying about them online and check the history of previous properties they’ve worked on.

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You’ll want to also go physically down to the building site and inspect it first hand. Look at the building plans, check out the area it’s in and find out the market conditions for that particular part of town. You might even like to discuss your expectations with the builder or developer.

Pre-Purchase Inspections – What to Look For?

The Importance of a property inspection

Caveat emptor, or buyer beware. We’re used to having this little piece of Latin wisdom in our heads when we buy electronics or perhaps a home appliance. But how often do we think about it when it comes to buying a property?

Sure, we know it’s important to research the surrounding neighborhood, as well as consider the number of rooms in a house and weigh up whether local zoning laws will allow any renovations we have planned. But it’s just as important to undertake an in-depth of inspection of a property’s smaller details.

A pre-purchase inspection is critical to ensure you don’t come away with a lemon. Here are just a few of the things you should be looking for.

Plumb its Depths

Making sure the plumbing and water work fine are a key elements to tick off your checklist before buying a house. Missing this out could mean you’ll have expensive repairs to cover down the line, along with expensive water bills.

Take a look at the plumbing fittings and make sure there are no leaks or cracks, and test the various hot and cold taps around the house to make sure they have the right pressure, not to mention that it’s not a strange colour.

Also, be sure to check for dampness around drains and the areas where pipes connect to the ground. Some sellers may paint over it, so you may have to get those nostrils working.

Be Roof-Less

Given the fact that owning a home is colloquially referred to as having a roof over your head, this is one area that’s pretty essential to check out.

Try and discern what type of timber was used for the roof frame. While pine is generally quite stable, hardwood can lead to cracks in the ceiling and plaster and a creaky roof.

There’s also some more basic, cosmetic details you’ll want to keep an eye on. If it’s made of iron, make sure there’s no rust. Also, are there loose or broken tiles? Tiled roofs deteriorate over time, and if they’re concrete tiles, may need new sealant after 25 years, and every 10 years after that.

Wall’s Well that Ends Well

Once you’re done with the roof, you want to turn to the walls that are holding it up. There are the obvious issues, such as making sure the walls are straight and free of cracks. This can potentially cost you thousands to repair.

Less obvious things to look out for are mould stains and damp brick walls, as well as patch repair. Shining a light at the wall on an angle can help highlight this.