Your Guide To Buying an Off-The-Plan Apartment

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding and purchasing the right property. In fact, every home owner’s journey takes its own unique course. So when you’re looking at buying an apartment, you might consider whether off-the-plan is the right solution for you.

We explore all the possibilities of buying apartments off-the-plan and explain everything you need to know so you buy the home of your dreams.

1. Research The Project Delivery Team

Not all apartments are created equal, and the same is true for developers. To ensure your new home will be everything you hoped for and more, spend a bit of time researching the developer to make sure they are well regarded, respected and reputable. Verify their experience as a residential developer by checking out their previous projects and whether they delivered what they promised.

A residential off-the-plan project is only as good as the project team that delivers it. That said, it is worth researching the project delivery team, particularly the architect, engineer and builder. Try to inspect any recent developments they have completed in person, or at the very least conduct some online research into their latest projects.

The Rathbone in Sydney’s Surry Hills, for example, is the latest project from the experienced national developer AVID Property Group, in collaboration with renowned architectural firm Scott Carver, acclaimed designers SJB Interiors and trusted engineers Northrop. These key members of the project team are considered top tier in their respective fields and have been responsible for the delivery of award-winning projects, both nationally and across inner Sydney and Surry Hills.   

2. Conduct Due Diligence on The Project

First you’ll want to make sure the developer has received development approval to deliver the proposed project. Once that’s confirmed, it’s time to visit the display suite to see what they are offering. Here, you can inspect the fixtures and fittings for the apartments, view detailed architectural plans, see 3D models and detailed renders.  

At the display suite, you’ll be able to ask for a schedule of fixtures and finishes so you get a more rounded understanding of the development’s quality. This is also your chance to ask the sales agent for comparable sales within the development.

3. Speak to Your Bank or Mortgage Broker

It’s important to speak to your financial provider before falling in love with your dream apartment. This is because banks treat the purchase of off-the-plan apartments differently to buying an established home.

Use this meeting to understand how much you can borrow by the time construction is finished. Since you won’t require a mortgage until the project is completed (which can often take 18 months to two years), it’s important to speak to your financial provider so you know exactly what your borrowing situation will be like at the start, middle and end of construction. A benefit of buying off-the-plan is that you are locking in the purchase price of your apartment today (via deposit) and you have the ability to save considerably during construction. Upon completion of the project, you would hopefully have a larger deposit when you are required to settle.

4. Get in Before The Best Apartments Are Snapped up

The adage ‘first in best dressed’ applies very well to off-the-plan apartments. That doesn’t mean you should jump into a big purchase without doing your due diligence, but it’s important to be conscious that other buyers may be interested in the same property – and there’s only a limited number of available apartments that may fit your budget in any new apartment complex.

So when you’re happy with your decision and you have the funds for a deposit, time is of the essence.

Top Tip: Ask the marketing agent if the developer would consider a smaller deposit payment to lock in your off-the-plan apartment. It is not uncommon to pay a 5% deposit or less.

5. Make Sure You Have The Freedom to Customise Your Dream Apartment

With an established (2nd hand) property you’ll get what you are given – nothing more, nothing less. With an off-the-plan apartment, on the other hand, you’ll likely be able to customise a number of design elements, fixtures, colour schemes and more.

This is of course dependent on the developer, but at The Rathbone you can choose to  partner with award winning interior designer Kirsten Stanisich of SJB Interiors as your personal consultant. Kirsten will work with you to design the apartment you’ve always dreamed of, so on moving-in day you’ll be able to start your exciting new chapter without worrying about renovations.

The Rathbone at Surry Hills is a collection of boutique apartments set in the heart of Sydney’s bustling inner city. With just 33 apartments available and one of the finest interior designers acting as your personal consultant, these exceptional homes won’t last long – so enquire about our luxury terrace-style apartments today.