Benefits and Risks when Buying Property on Plan
It is very common nowadays for people to buy new-build property before it's built. The common term used for this is buying on plan, which means you buy the property based on the plans, rather than on a physically completed building that you can view in person.
The question is, should you buy a property that has not yet been built? And the answer to that question depends on several factors.
Your Circumstances (including your finances)
When launching new development projects in the market, property developers offer their new to be built units at what is known as pre-construction prices as an incentive to buy their property. Buying on plan allows you to 'lock in' the value of your new home, which can mean that by the time you move in, it is already worth more than you paid for it.
The Property Developer's Track Record (check out the builder)
Many developers (home builders) have been in the business for years and produce a quality product. However a few do not. Check review sites, licensing boards and court records to see whether the builder you're considering has ran into any trouble, including lawsuits, complaints with licensing boards and disciplinary action by the state and relative agencies. This is also a great time to talk to previous customers. Also check with the developer about warranties. Some offer warranties on materials and workmanship. Make sure you understand what is and what isn't covered and what process you need to follow to get something fixed.
Research the Area and Community
There's no harm in actually visiting the area and talking to neighbours. You don't want the home of your dreams in an area that's a nightmare for you. Before you buy, find out as much as you can about the area. Visit at different times of the day and talk to residents about what they do and don't like.
We Like the Things We Buy to be Personal ...
Being there before the start of everything provides you with the advantage of changing things if you wish to. Buying a house on plan allows you to be a big part of the process of the finished result. You get to make it yours, without having to adapt to any choices someone else made before you. For example, you might want to turn the third little bedroom into a walk-in closet. You also get a say on the finishing touches, whether that's the colour of your kitchen tiles or laminate floors, an upgrade to metallic light switches instead of plastic ones, or some other influence over the fixtures and fittings.
Problems with Buying on Plan
There's no denying that buying on plan can have its downsides. If the development is delayed, your moving-in date will most likely get pushed back too so if you have a date fixed in stone, this could cause problems. If you decide to buy a property before it is built, it's important to get the legal work right to make sure you are protected against the risks as much as possible.