Buying Property Off-Plan: A Guide by County Town Homes
If you’re looking at new build properties, you may have heard the term ‘off-plan’ thrown around without knowing what it fully means. Within this guide, we’ll look at what buying off plan entails, including the benefits of choosing this type of buying method.
What does buying off-plan mean?
An off-plan property is one that has yet to be constructed at the time you decide to buy it, meaning you will make your decision based on the detailed plans available for each house type and local amenities rather than seeing the finished building/development. The property could be partly constructed, or the build may not have started at all. Off-plan properties are common on new build developments, where people want to secure a desirable home, in prime positions despite not being able to view a completed building.
The benefits of buying off-plan
Although the thought of buying a property before it has been built may sound daunting, there are several advantages to buying off-plan:
More influence on your home
If your home has not been built yet, you will often have the opportunity to pick a plot you prefer. You may also be able to have a say in some of the interior finishes such as kitchen styles, colours and upgrades. With this, you can have more choice in how your house will look, which really does enhance that feeling of excitement when you walk through the door of your sparkling, brand new finished home for the first time.
Financial support options
When you buy a home off-plan, you might find there are options available to help save you money. Developers are often keen to attract early buyers, so it is during this time that you may find discounted prices or incentives, so don’t be afraid of asking, even if they aren’t advertising discounts.
Safety and modern amenities
There are advantages to buying a new build home in general, such as receiving a 10-year warranty on your home if there are any defects. The house will also be built to meet the latest building regulations and energy standards. Moving into a brand-new home means that you’ll have modern amenities and facilities so that you don’t have to worry about hidden issues like those you might find in an older home.
The process of buying off-plan
There are common steps to go through when buying off-plan, these are:
1. Find your property
The first step in your house-hunting journey is to find a new property development that is right for you. At County Town Homes, we sell high specification new build homes in the Staffordshire and Shropshire regions, which you can explore here.
When searching for the right property, you’ll want to consider factors like proximity to work, supermarkets, schools, public transportation, and more. You’ll want to ask the developer for as much information as possible so that you could view plans and ask any questions you may have. You should reach a point where you have peace of mind and know you have found the perfect plot. Once you’ve found the right development and decided on your plot, you’ll need to formally reserve it. This will require the payment of a reservation fee (this is normally deducted from the balance due when the sale is completed) and provide your solicitors and mortgage brokers/lenders details.
2. Find a solicitor
Buying any property in the UK is complex and an off-plan purchase is no different, so you will require the services of a legal professional to review the contract paperwork, and fully explain your rights and terms and conditions. Ideally, you will want to find a solicitor who has experience with New Build as there are differences between these transactions and second-hand homes. You should ask friends and family to see if they can recommend someone, alternatively, you could ask the developer if they have any recommendations.
3. Arrange your mortgage
The next step is to arrange your mortgage, where you may benefit from specialist advice from a mortgage broker. It is important to get the timing right when acquiring a mortgage for an off-plan property, since a mortgage offer is usually only valid for six months. Therefore, if you can, try to get an idea of the build timeline from your developer. If it looks like your mortgage offer could expire, discuss the opportunity for an extension with your lender.
4. Exchange contracts
After you’ve paid a reservation fee, the exchange of contracts usually takes place in around 42 days (six weeks). This process is similar to purchasing an existing property, wherein your solicitor will review the contract and once they and you are happy, you’ll sign it. After signing the contract, you’ll pay the deposit for the property which is usually 10% of the house price.
5. Wait for your home to be developed
All you need to do now is wait! Your developer will give you an anticipated build completion date (ABCD) which would be the earliest date you could move into your brand-new home. After the exchange of contracts, the developer will aim to construct your home under the proposed timeline. There may be two dates provided – a short stop date is the day they expect to have the property completed, whereas a long stop date is the last day the developer has legally to have the house ready.
Find your perfect off-plan property
Looking for an off-plan property for sale? Keep an eye on our new developments at County Town Homes to find your ideal new build home.