A Guide to Buying New and Off-the-Plan Properties

From search to settlement


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Australia's the best service for new and off-the-plan properties.

Buying an off-the-plan apartment or townhouse, or purchasing a house and land package, are all exciting projects. However, before you can really get started there are many things to consider, and ensuring you do your due diligence is key.

This may feel like an overwhelming process, which is why we have developed this guide. Learn everything you need to know about buying off-the-plan. We'll go through what's involved, the benefits and the risks. Keep in mind our team of property experts are ready to assist you and help answer any questions, guiding you from search through to settlement of your new home.

What buying off-the-plan means

Buying property 'off-the-plan'(OTP) means buying a townhouse, apartment or house that hasn't been built yet or is still under construction. To understand what you are purchasing, you can assess the building plans, view lifelike digital renders and in some cases visit a display home. However, you won't be able to see the finished building before your purchase.

In Australia, usually, off-the-plan buyers will only need to pay a 5-10% deposit with the remaining due once construction is completed. Typically houses will be completed faster than apartment buildings, but construction times will vary with the size and scope of the project.

Understanding the off-the-plan market will enable you to make informed decisions when looking for your new home or investment property, that's where we can help.

Benefits of buying off-the-plan

Buying a new or off-the-plan property can be a daunting prospect for first-home buyers and investors alike. However, there are significant benefits to buying a property off-the-plan.

Government Incentives

When buying an off-the-plan property, you could be eligible for some of the Government incentives such as the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) and Stamp Duty concessions. The incentives differ per state but could end up saving you thousands of dollars on your purchase.

These incentives are often put in place to help first-home buyers get their foot on the property ladder.

Choose Your Own Home

Buying off-the-plan can often give you more choices on location, design and finishes of your home.

Generally, you will have the flexibility to not only choose your property and its location in the development, but you can also customise elements of your home design such as floor plans and finishes. The earlier in the development process you purchase, the more input you should have in your home design.

More Time To Save

When buying real estate, conventionally you will need to pay a 20% deposit of the full purchase price, compared to a 5-10% deposit for an off-the-plan property.

Off-the-plan differs as typically a property can take up to 1-2 years to construct, giving you extra time to save for a deposit, and you don't have to worry about paying a mortgage during this time. This only starts once construction is completed. Also, buying off-the-plan can be more affordable compared with established properties.

Potential Capital Gains

Buying off-the-plan allows you to buy at today's price, where you lock in the purchase price commonly 1-2 years before construction is completed.

House and unit prices surged by 22.1% in 2021, with some areas far exceeding that growth. This often means you will own a property that's worth more than you paid for it by the time you move in.

Reduced Insurance and Maintenance Costs

Purchasing off-the-plan property will commonly come with the benefit of the latest in home security technology.

Modern safety features often come standard like doorbell intercoms, concierge, keycard access, off-street car parking and monitored security cameras. Additionally, buildings with elevator access provide an extra layer of safety. This all adds up to making your property more secure, decreasing the cost of insurance.

Also, newer homes will require less ongoing maintenance and fewer repairs compared to established properties.

Statutory Protection

Builders of new properties in Australia are required to take out home warranty insurance, which protects you in the event of a major building defect, giving you peace of mind.

Considerations when buying off-the-plan

It's important to protect yourself legally. Realink can connect you with a solicitor or conveyancer to carefully go through the contract. Many people, see buying off-the-plan as a good way to purchase a brand-new property. However, as with any major investment, there are points to consider for when buying off-the-plan.


When you purchase off-the-plan, you are committing to something that has not been built which can bring a degree of uncertainty - it’s basically like buying site unseen.

The quality of the builder and developer is so important and that’s where Realink can help. The due diligence and the industry knowledge of our property experts ensure that we work with experienced builders and developers with strong track records.

Construction Delays

Unexpected delays in construction could mean you are unable to move into the property or rent out to tenants as planned. Realink partners with reputable builders and developers to minimise this risk from occurring.

Typically a contract will include construction completion timeframes, providing you with confidence around the delivery of your property.

Changes to the Property

When buying off-the-plan, developers can make small changes to the floor plan or finishes. Developers should generally notify buyers however, ensure your contract protects you from potential changes.

Once the property is built, before settlement, the buyer will have the opportunity to inspect the property and notify the developer of any flaws.

10 Questions to ask

  1. What is the builder/developer track record?
  2. When will the construction be complete?
  3. What is my deposit and is it secure if the construction doesn't go ahead?
  4. What are my rights if there are delays?
  5. How much are the levies/strata fees for an apartment?
  6. What are the inclusions in the property?
  7. What can I customise with the property?
  8. What changes to finishes or fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen can I make?
  9. What happens if the builder changes the design/layout without my consent?
  10. When the site is under construction, am I allowed to visit?

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