Buying

Off-Plan or Existing Homes – Which Decision is Best?

Story Highlights
  • #1 - Do enough research
  • #2 - Explore the location of off-plan or existing homes
  • #3 - Existing homes might need upgrades
  • #4 - Off-plan homes give you options
  • #5- New homes are NHBRC-guaranteed

Potential buyers are often torn between choosing off-plan or existing homes.

Is it better to build a new home from scratch or should you go the traditional route and buy an existing home?

The truth is that each type of house has its own benefits and it all comes down to personal preference.

What you need at that moment will determine the type of house you buy. If you are uncertain, here are a few things to consider before making the final decision. 

#1 – Do enough research

The best way to make a decision is to do enough research. If you are not informed enough, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

One of the advantages of buying an existing home is that you are buying in an established neighbourhood.

The house is part of a community and you know exactly what you are getting for your money. There is usually very little construction going on and it will already have an established infrastructure.

There will be amenities available like schools, malls, and restaurants and these might not always be available when you buy off-plan. 

#2 – Explore the location of off-plan or existing homes

Another thing that you can do before making the final decision is to explore the suburb you want to buy in. This will help you to determine the distance of the property to amenities and facilities.

Off-plan homes might be far from established malls and schools while existing homes might be a bit closer. On the other hand, off-plan homes might be a bit more affordable than existing homes.

Weigh up the pros and the cons of the suburb before you decide. 

#3 – Existing homes might need upgrades

Two main disadvantages of existing homes are their age and maintenance.

An existing home might be old and outdated which means that you have to spend more money if you want to modernize it.

You might find that the kitchen isn’t at all what you want and this type of remodeling can cost quite a bit of money.

The other problem that you might have is that the previous owners didn’t maintain the property. This will cost you even more money.

Maintenance on older homes is also not a once-off thing; you’re going to have to spend more and more on maintenance as the years go by. 

#4 – Off-plan homes give you options

Buying an off-plan home gives you the freedom to choose and to design the house to your tastes. You can usually choose a specific layout, the size of the unit, and certain finishing touches.

Some developers even add extras like appliances or a levy holiday. You also don’t pay transfer duty on new developments.

A huge advantage is that you can build a more energy-efficient house by using new materials that will save you money in the long run.

It is always possible to make energy-efficient changes to an existing house but the cost won’t be the same as with a new development. 

#5- New homes are NHBRC-guaranteed

New homes come with a five-year guarantee from the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).

This means that any faults should be fixed by the developer as soon as possible and at no cost to you.

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) also comes into effect if you buy from a developer but not if you buy an existing home.

However, a new development also means that you will only see the finished product at its completion, you might have to compromise on the date of occupation, and you have less control than if you were building your own home. 

Buying an off-plan or an existing home is a big decision to make. Make sure you have enough information at your disposal before you sign on the dotted line. 


Ready to buy a home? Start your search on ImmoAfrica.net! Find cheap and affordable properties for sale in the following popular areas:

GautengSandtonRandburgMidrandRoodepoortAkasiaCenturionAlbertonBedfordviewEdenvale
Western CapeAtlantic SeaboardCape TownGordons BayGeorgeKnysnaMossel BayPlettenberg Bay
KwaZulu NatalUmhlangaBallitoAmanzimtotiPinetownWestvilleHillcrestMargate


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