Buying Off the Plan
A popular way to buy a new unit, townhouse or strata commercial property is to purchase it before building work is even started.
This is called buying ”off the plan” and means you have to:
- make a judgement on the location of the unit and it’s parking within the complex
- read the plans carefully and hopefully comprehend exactly what you are getting
- look at the display unit (if there is one) and decide if the finishes and inclusions are OK
- check that quality of work matches the display unit or schedule of finishes agreed to
- trust that the developer and builder will build a quality product.
Problems can arise when you assume that certain items should have been included in the finished product or are part of supposed industry practice.
In short, the builder or developer will only build what he has agreed to build in the contract. And, even then, things can be changed or ”accidentally” left out. For instance, exhaust fans may be left out, kitchenettes may be in the wrong place, the wrong sized sink may be installed or roof insulation may be missing.
The outcome can be a disaster for you as you face either immediate costs for making unexpected changes or installing missing items or long term expense of rectifying defective work. And that is if you are lucky enough to know about the omissions or defects in the building.
You can minimise problems in off the plan transactions by seeking correct advice verifying that:
- all necessary documents are included e.g. plans, specification and any engineering or air-conditioning drawings
- the information in the drawings has been carefully checked for errors, completeness and most importantly quality of finishes and inclusions
- quality of the completed building is assessed including compliance with the contract documents and receipt of all necessary certificates.