FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What happens if there is a delay?
Delays to construction commencing can happen for a number of reasons. Usually it's as a result of continued inclement weather or if the developer is unable to commence immediately, owing to insufficient sales, therefore not yet satisfying the criteria for a construction loan. It is prudent to ask an agent if there are sufficient sales to start building and if so when is construction anticipated to start and complete?
How do I know that I will get what I see in the pictures?
Any imagery shown on a render or within promotional material needs to be indicative of a finished product. The contract of sale you approve also has the specifications for your townhome or apartment. It’s worth noting that these may not include specific brand model numbers as often appliances have been discontinued prior to it being necessary for a builder to place an order. There is a substitution clause within most off the plan contracts of sale which allows the developer to provide you with “like for like”. The developer or Project Manager should advise you of this, should this occur during the construction period.
I heard the developer can change things without my consent?
Before proceeding with any off the plan purchase it’s a good idea to take prior advice on the rights and responsibilities afforded to you within any off the plan contract of sale. As an example, changes such as an alteration to a plan of sub division affecting common areas must now be bought to your attention prior to the settlement period. Speak to your legal professional for further information.
What changes can I make to my apartment of townhouse?
Most developments (particularly boutique in size) will allow a purchaser to make a limited number of changes, allowing you to bespoke your purchase to your own taste and designs. Be careful however, as not all developments will allow changes so it’s important you discuss your options with the selling agents at an early date. Permissible changes will usually be either cost neutral (i.e. substituting “like for like”) or at the purchasers cost for each of their requested upgrades.
Can I have the floorplan with the dimensions included in the contract?
Typically floor plans and price lists are only available in hard form at the Stean Nicholls Projects office, located at Suite 1, Unit 19, 669 Dean Street, Albury. Floor plans will have a scale allowing you to measure off rooms, ensuring your chosen off the plan purchase is suited to your buying requirements.
What is the sunset clause or registration period?
Most off the plan contracts of sale will have a “sunset clause” or “registration period” which defines the length of time where both the vendor and purchaser are bound to the contract of sale. Usually this period ranges anywhere from 24 to 60 months. Whilst this length of time is typically longer than the actual construction period, these conditions are typically a requirement of the developer’s lending policy, necessary to getting the project started.
What happens if the market falls or interest rates rise?
Whilst we currently enjoy a real estate market of relative stability, there are no guarantees of the markets continued performance during your buildings construction. In an environment of market decline or a rise in interest rates, you are still expected to complete your purchase at settlement. Should this create difficulties, then it’s crucial you speak to your Stean Nicholls Projects sales representative at an early date to discuss alternative finance arrangements or to your legal representative regarding your options in nominating your sale well before you’ve been called to settle.
What are the owners corp fees about?
The owner corporation’s fees are determined by the owner’s corporation manager. These quarterly amounts should be provided to you by your Stean Nicholls Projects salesperson, setting out your contribution to communal items such as ongoing maintenance of the common areas, building and public liability insurance.
Why should I buy off the plan?
Before proceeding on any off the plan purchase it’s a good idea to take prior advice on the rights and responsibilities afforded to you within any off the plan contract of sale. As an example, changes such as an alteration to a plan of sub division affecting common areas must now be bought to your attention prior to the settlement period. Speak to your legal professional.
What are depreciation benefits?
Depreciation benefits are only applicable for investors. A quantity surveyor will prepare a depreciation schedule, allowing significant depreciation benefits to be offset against your taxable income. For advice relative to your own personal circumstances we recommended speaking to your tax professional.
What are the inclusions?
All inclusions are detailed within the contract of sale. You should check these carefully prior to going ahead ensuring the expected inclusions are fully detailed. Note however that typically items such as curtains or blinds are not included for an off the plan sale.
What is the legal process when buying off the plan?
We recommend receiving advice from your own legal professional. Purchasing off the plan can be a relatively straight forward process if your fully informed from the start.
Why should I get in early with regards to buying within a group?
It’s not unusual that popular developments will have one or two price increases during the selling period. We recommend speaking to our Stean Nicholls Projects sales people as soon as you become aware a new projects launching and reserve your prime position at one of our many VIP launches during the year.
What's the process leading up to settlement?
A project manager or developer should send out regular construction updates during your new properties construction period. Alternatively, you may be directed to the developers dedicated website with information and pictures of your new purchase under construction. It is important you have your finance in place at an early date and respond promptly to a request for a final inspection from either the developer or a developer appointed settlement company.
When do I secure my finance?
Prior to entering into a contract of sale for an off the plan purchase, you should discuss your individual financing requirements with your lender. Stean Nicholls Projects can also assist with recommendations for finance, allowing you to secure an option best suited to you. Usually three to four months from a forecast completion you should speak to your lender again ensuring they are ready to assist you meet your settlement commitments.
What's a cooling off period?
Any contract of sale for residential property (including an off the plan purchase) provides the purchaser (only) with a three day cooling off period. These are three working days expiring midnight on the third day. You should be aware however there is a penalty of .2% of the purchase price given to the vendor should you subsequently withdraw (in writing) after exchange. It’s always prudent to do all your homework prior to entering into a contract of sale.