Is buying an off-the-plan apartment the right choice for you?
Off-the-plan has become an attractive real estate option due to its array of potential benefits that continue to entice both real estate investors and buyers alike.
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What is buying off-the-plan?
Put simply, Off-the-plan properties are available for purchase before the property has been built. Apartments and townhouses are typical examples of real estate types that can often fit into the off-the-plan category.
When purchasing an off-the-plan apartment, the price is fixed, and a contract with the developers is executed without a physical examination of the property (as it’s not yet built).
However, you will be provided with complete transparency over project information such as property plans, images, floorplans, amenities, finishes, and computer-generated images (CGIs), which give a clear picture of what is to expect.
Despite not being able to conduct a physical inspection of the finished property prior to purchasing, there are important financial and peace of mind benefits to consider when buying off-the-plan.
Here are 8 of our top reasons you should buy off-the-plan.
1. CREATE YOUR OWN HOME
An existing property may be challenging to deal with if you want a home that represents your uniqueness. The building time allows for design feedback.
On many properties, you may be able to work with the developer to choose from a variety of design options. This can include the colour palette, flooring material and even kitchen or bathroom finishes. Buying off-the-plan means you often have the first pick of the apartments available, putting you first in line to select the best apartment in the complex based on your requirements. Including access to a wider variety of floorplans, levels, aspects and availability of parking spaces.
For investors, a new home could be seen as a more attractive option to renters and this would typically enable you to create a higher rental yield compared to other surrounding existing properties.
2. DEPOSIT BENEFITS
When buying off the plan, the typical deposit amount is set at 10% (sometimes even as low as 5%!). This deposit is paid at the time of exchange, where a formal agreement between the developer and the buyer is made, and the remaining balance does not need to be paid until the building is complete (which is when you will settle). This is the perfect opportunity to save!
3. MORE TIME FOR SAVING
Construction time provides a buffer period to help you build up financial assets. This allows you to set up or reset your financial strategy and prioritise spending, save for a larger deposit, or pay off debt. As a result, off-the-plan apartments may be a better method to maintain financial security during the home-buying process. Time is money!
When purchasing off-the-plan, the purchase price of the property is locked in at the time of exchange. Therefore, the price was fixed at the time of contract signing and will stay the same, regardless of what happens in the property market. The construction time can allow for capital growth as the property has the potential to appreciate during this time!
5. CLAIM TAX DEPRECIATION
Interested in renting out the home after it’s finished being built? When you file your tax return, you may be eligible to claim tax depreciation on the property and some of the contents as the Australian Tax Office (ATO) recognises these slowly depreciate in value each year.
6. YOUR PURCHASE IS PROTECTED
You can be certain that security measures are in place to protect your future off-the-plan apartment purchase. Fair Trading New South Wales (NSW) has put in place a number of safeguards for every off-the-plan sale in NSW.
Developers are obligated to provide additional relevant information about the property. This includes a disclosure statement in the contract outlining important aspects like sunset dates and other conditional events, as well as drafted papers like a plan, projected timetable of completion, and so on.
From 1 December 2019, all deposits and/or instalments paid under an off-the-plan contract must be held by the stakeholder (Usually the selling agent’s company or a third party) in a trust or controlled money account during the contract period. This money cannot be released to the developer before settlement, meaning that deposit and instalment monies are protected.
7. SAVE ON STAMP DUTY
In most cases, stamp duty must be paid within three months of the contract’s exchange date. For off-the-plan purchases, there is a stamp duty concession that allows stamp duty to be deferred for up to 12 months after your exchange date – deferring this payment and giving you time to save for it!
There are also many stamp duty concessions available for first home buyers, where you may not have to pay any stamp duty at all – Find out more here!
8. SAVE ON REPAIR/RENOVATION COSTS
When buying pre-built real estate, there’s always a risk it’ll have some defects and difficulties due to previous owners neglect.
Problem solved! – An off-the-plan purchase can avoid this common issue because it rewards the buyer with a brand new, top-notch home that is unlikely to require any costly, drastic adjustments or repairs in the near future.
Therefore, you won’t have to worry about mildew, cracks, defective floors, or any other faults and concerns with the property, that you may often find with existing properties!
More and more Australians are choosing to buy off-the-plan due to the many financial and lifestyle advantages mentioned, as these are desirable by prospective buyers.
Is off-the-plan buying for YOU?
Consider the advantages we’ve mentioned to plan out your next property purchase or speak with us by enquiring below!