Buying

5 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying Property Off-Plan

Buying a house is, in general, an investment that some people take long to think over.

And rightfully so, as it’s a darn important decision to make!

Buying a property that you haven’t seen before is even riskier!

Buying an off-plan property means that you are buying a home or a complex unit before it has been built and the completion of your home is totally dependent on the builder and developer.

It usually happens when one unit has been constructed as an example or no units have been constructed at all.

So, when buying property off-plan, it is crucial to ask yourself these 5 very important questions:

Buying Property Off-Plan Question #1 — Why buy something that is not completed?

There are a few important reasons why one ought to consider it:

  • Buying directly from a developer means that you pay zero transfer fees so there is a huge advantage there.
  • The most important incentive is that the bank will finance the total cost of the house, including VAT and other fees that may arise.
  • You will also be covered by the Consumer Protection Act, giving you greater protection than it would have if you were to buy a house privately. This also puts a greater amount of responsibility on the developers because you cannot see the unit.
  • You will also be able to customize the final product as you want it.

Buying Property Off-Plan Question #2 — Can I be sure of what I am buying?

It is important to monitor the progress of the building because you might find that there are size and layout changes if you don’t keep an eye on it.

Make sure you check your contract carefully: contractors who work with respected builders will state that there may only be 5-10% discrepancies of the original plan!

Buying Property Off-Plan Question #3 — What if the property has been badly built?

  • You have the right to lodge a complaint in order to rectify these mistakes or deviations within 3 months.
  • And if there is a problem, such as a roof leak, you have 12 months to instruct a builder to fix it with reputable materials and workmanship.
  • Should there be any type of serious structural defect you have 5 years to instruct a builder to rectify these if they are non-compliant with technical building standards.

Buying Property Off-Plan Question #4 — How can I ensure tenants will look after my property?

Unfortunately, you will never know how tenants treat your property which is why landlord insurance is a good idea. This covers you for a potential loss or damages that tenants might incur on your property.

It will also cover you should a tenant not be able to pay the full amount of rent that has been prescribed.

Buying Property Off-Plan Question #5 — Can I sell before making a transfer?

Selling your property before transfer is possible, but it is something that you should proceed with cautiously.

If you buy in order to sell then you might be disappointed: some deeds may state that you are not allowed to sell without written consent from the developer.

Properties that are in a more developed phase of building will be marked at higher prices which means that developers will be selling more expensive stands without buyers undercutting them in the first phase!

The most important thing that you can do is consult your contract and make sure what it stipulates.

Make sure to consult a real estate agent or the developer of the property in order to gain more clarity about the specific unit that you are interested in buying.


Have you ever considered buying property off-plan? How was that experience? Whether it’s good or bad, feel free to share with us in the comments below!

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