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Top Questions to Ask When Buying Off-Plan Property

Posted by Location Real Estate on March 29, 2024

Introduction

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, and when it’s an off-plan property, the stakes can feel even higher. Off-plan properties are those sold before they are built, offering the advantage of securing a new home possibly at a lower price. However, this comes with its own set of considerations and risks.

Understanding the off-plan buying process is crucial. It starts with choosing a property from the developer’s plans and ends with moving into a brand-new home. Because you’re buying partly based on plans, asking the right questions becomes even more important.

A comprehensive checklist of questions can guide you through the nuances of this process, ensuring you know what you’re committing to. This checklist should cover everything from the timeline and payment schedule to the finishes and specifications of your new home.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the essential aspects of buying off-plan properties. We’ll explore the key questions to include in your buying checklist, discuss the risks of buying off the plan, and guide you through the buying process.

Understanding the Basics of Buying Off-plan

Buying an off-plan property means purchasing a home before it’s been built. This concept might seem a bit unusual at first—after all, you’re deciding based on plans and drawings. However, this approach has become increasingly popular, especially for those looking to buy a new build which can be tailored to their own style and tastes. 

The process of buying a new build off-plan typically starts with selecting your future home from the developer’s plans. You’ll often visit a show home or an office where you can view models and drawings of the property, get a feel for the layout, and sometimes even choose finishes and fixtures. After you’ve made your choice, the next steps include:

Reservation

You’ll pay a reservation fee to hold your chosen land plot. This fee is normally around 200,000 Thai baht and is of course deducted from the final purchase price.

Contract of Sale

Once the reservation is in place, you’ll enter into a Sales and Purchase contract for the land and also for the building of the property. These legally binding documents outlines the terms of the purchase, including the price, payment schedule, and completion date.

Deposit

Alongside signing the contract, you’ll pay a deposit, which is normally around 20% of the purchase price. This commitment further secures your property.

Building Period

After these steps, there’s in then the build time of the property – this is anything from 6-12 months depending on the size of the property and your requirements. Payments are staggered along the build process, either a percentage each month or at milestones along the construction timeline. During this time, you will also have the option to select certain aspects of the interior design.

Completion

Once construction is finished, you’ll complete the purchase, often involving a final inspection, payment of the remaining balance, and transfer of ownership.

Understanding this process is crucial for any potential buyer, as it highlights the unique aspects of buying off-plan compared to purchasing an existing home. Each step requires careful consideration and trust in the developer. That’s why asking the right questions and understanding the various off-plan options available is so important—it ensures that you’re fully informed and comfortable with your decision to buy a home that’s yet to be built.

Key Questions to Include in Your Buying Checklist

1.    What is the Developer’s Track Record?

Investigating the developer’s history is like looking up reviews before making a hotel or restaurant booking. You want to know about their successful projects before and if buyers were satisfied. Look for completed projects, and read testimonials, talk to past buyers and talk to an independent agent like Location Real Estate. This research gives you a taste of what to expect from your potential new home and the confidence that your investment is in good hands.

2.    What Guarantees or Warranties are Offered?

Guarantees or warranties with your off-plan property act like a safety net, protecting you if something doesn’t go as planned after you move in. They can cover everything from structural issues to the smaller details like fixtures and fittings. Think of it as a promise from the developer that they stand behind the quality of their work, ensuring you’re not left out of pocket for repairs or defects.

3.    What is the Expected Completion Date?

Knowing the expected completion date helps you plan your future. It’s like marking a big event on your calendar. However, construction can face delays, so it’s important to ask about what happens if the timeline stretches. Will they keep you updated? Is there compensation if you’re inconvenienced? Understanding these details helps you manage expectations and plan accordingly, whether it’s extending your current lease or arranging temporary storage.

4.    Can Changes be Made to the Finishes or Layout?

Find out if you can customize your property at your chosen development. Some developers allow wholesale changes layouts at extra cost and others only allow limited modifications. Knowing how this process works ensures your home feels personally yours, without any last-minute surprises.

5.    What are the Payment Terms?

The payment schedule for an off-plan property is crucial because it outlines how much money you need to pay and when. You’ll likely need to pay a deposit first, followed by installments, with a final balance due at completion. Understanding these terms helps you manage your finances smoothly, ensuring you’re prepared for each stage of the payment process.

6.    What Happens if You Want to Sell Before Completion?

Sometimes, plans change. Maybe you find a job in another city or your family grows quicker than expected. If you need to sell your off-plan property before it’s built, check the contract for any rules about this.

7.    Are There Any Additional Costs?

Extra charges, such government transfer fees and taxes which are normally split 50/50 between the buyer and the developer and communal fees or sinking funds which are required to be paid by the buyer upon completion of the property can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. Asking about these additional expenses helps you budget accurately, ensuring you’re fully aware of the total investment required.

8.    Understanding the Off-plan Purchasing Contracts

This contract is your roadmap through the buying process, outlining what you and the developer are responsible for. It’s crucial to understand every part of this document, as it impacts your rights and obligations. Consider it the instruction manual for your purchase, highlighting everything from payment terms to what happens if disputes arise. If anything is unclear, asking questions and talking to your Lawyer before signing can help you navigate with confidence.

9.    What Facilities and Amenities are Included?

Confirming the included facilities and amenities. Whether it’s parking, storage, or communal spaces, knowing what’s available enhances your living experience. It’s also worth considering how these amenities match your lifestyle, ensuring the development offers everything you need for comfort and convenience.

10. What’s the Plan for the Neighborhood or Surrounding Area?

Future development plans in the area can affect both your quality of life and the property’s value. Are there plans for new parks, shopping centers, or perhaps construction that could block your view? Understanding these plans helps you picture what life will be like in your new home and how the neighborhood might evolve over time.

Navigating the Risks of Buying Off the Plan

Buying off-plan means committing to a property before it’s built, it’s exciting but comes with its own set of risks. One common risk is delays in construction which can affect your moving plans or financial situation. Another risk is the final product not meeting your expectations. To navigate these risks, start by thoroughly researching the developer’s track record. Make sure they have a history of delivering quality projects on time. Next, understand exactly what’s included in your purchase and get it in writing. This is your order confirmation, ensuring you get what you paid for.

Effectively mitigating these risks involves doing your homework, asking the right questions, and keeping communication lines open. Its always best to use an agent that is experienced at selling off plan properties and also has a wide understanding of the various off plan developments in the area. With these strategies, you can enjoy the rewards of buying off-plan while minimizing the potential downsides.

Evaluating the Purchasing Contracts 

When you decide to buy a property before it’s built, called “off-plan,” the purchasing contracts is super important. Think of it as your guide. It tells you everything you need to know, like how much you’ll pay and when the home should be ready. Make sure to check when your new home is expected to be finished and what happens if there are delays. You’ll want to know if there’s a plan in place if things take longer than expected. Also, the contract will talk about payments. It should clearly say when you need to put down your deposit and make any other payments. This helps you plan your money right.

It’s also important to see exactly what you’re getting. The contract should list everything that comes with your home, like the kitchen counters or bathroom tiles, and what to do if changes are made. Look for information about checking the property before you fully buy it and any promises from the developer to fix things if they’re not right.

Lastly, the contract should protect you, the buyer. It might say when you can decide not to buy the property anymore and what happens if you do that. 

Having a lawyer review all contract and complete due diligence is essential. They can help you understand the process and make sure you’re protected.

Conclusion

Knowing the ins and outs of what you’re purchasing, from construction timelines to the nitty-gritty details in your contract, is essential. It ensures that your investment is sound and that you’re stepping into this venture with your eyes wide open.

To navigate this process smoothly, leaning on professional advice is invaluable. Experts in the field, such as Location Real Estate, can provide the insights and support you need to make informed decisions. With a reliable partner like Location Real Estate guiding you, the path to securing your new home becomes clearer and more manageable. Our expertise can be the key to unlocking a hassle-free and successful off-plan purchase experience, bringing you closer to your dream home with confidence.

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