Off-the-plan happiness

When you buy a property off the plan, the property hasn’t been built yet. Once built, a plan of subdivision (which includes the property you might have bought) will be registered with the titles office.

The obvious difficulty with buying off a plan is that you haven’t actually seen the product you’re buying. You’ll have seen advertisements and brochures with illustrations, and floorplans. But most contracts for off-the-plan sales will include conditions that state that advertisements and brochures are examples only, and can’t be relied on for what the end product may look like.

So, what happens if the property you end up inspecting before settlement doesn’t look like what you saw when you signed your contract (other than you being upset!)?

Unfortunately, not much else. Disappointment isn’t grounds for terminating a contract, so unless the finished product is actually different to what the contract says, you’ll still have to go through and complete your purchase.

You can protect yourself from this by doing some groundwork. Get about town and check out developments completed by the same developer who is selling you the apartment. There may even be some apartments from that developer which are built and for sale, so you can go to an inspection and actually see an example. This could give you some idea of what you might get.

You can also include special conditions in the contract to ensure that anything you specifically require is actually delivered.