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The top 5 pitfalls of buying a house off the plan

John Tran
June 20, 2023
The top 5 pitfalls of buying a house off the plan

Buying a house off the plan can be an attractive option for many people because of the affordability and convenient purchasing process. However, there is also a risk of inadequate construction standards or poor selection rights involved, that's why understanding the benefits and risks associated with this decision is important.

We will discuss the top five pitfalls of buying a house off the plan in this article so that you may decide with knowledge before signing a contract. Be sure to read this blog and gather the knowledge you require before making the decision to purchase an off-the-plan home or apartment if you're considering doing so.

What is Off the Plan?

A growing number of people are choosing to buy a home, apartment, or townhouse off-the-plan. When signing an off-the-plan contract, purchasers are effectively buying something that doesn’t yet exist - relying on the developer's plans, designs and renders in order to visualise their future home. While this can be exciting as you are essentially creating a customised space that meets your needs and tastes, there can also be some risks associated with off-the-plan purchases.

When you buy off-the-plan, it is important to understand the timeline of construction - from when the initial 10% deposit is paid through to completion. Generally, houses take less time to build than apartments or townhouses, and the time frame can range from a few months to some years. It is vital that buyers are aware of all timelines and requirements, as well as any potential delays or changes that may occur during the construction process. This type of purchasing requires thorough research and careful consideration before signing any contracts - but if done right, buying off-the-plan has the potential to be very rewarding.

The top 5 pitfalls of buying  a house off the plan

1. Quality Construction

The quality of construction in off-the-plan houses is important, that’s why you have to do your research and ensure that you are buying from a reputable builder with experienced staff. Moreover, you should ask questions related to building materials, levels of soundproofing, type of insulation and other factors that will affect how well the house is constructed.

It's also worth considering the warranties offered by the builder, and whether they will cover any defects in quality or construction. If possible, try to visit existing off-the-plan developments to get a better understanding of the level of workmanship involved since doing your research and taking steps to assess the quality of construction can help you make a decision, and ensure that you buy a house off-the-plan that meets your expectations.

2. Changes to Plans

Since there are various scenarios where plans can significantly change between the time a buyer pays their deposit and eventually moves in, staying up to date on any modifications that may come up in the plans of a house you are buying is crucial. Even though certain changes might be advantageous, be sure to look for any inconsistencies between what was previously promised to you and what is stated in the due diligence documentation. This will make sure that any alterations to a house's plans are in keeping with your expectations.

Additionally, depending on where you live, there may be regulations and restrictions regarding certain types of modifications or additions that are allowed for a particular property - make sure to familiarize yourself with these guidelines before signing any papers. To be successful in your home-buying journey, keep in mind that being aware of the potential changes that could occur during the process can be helpful.

3. Delays

The process of buying off the plan can suffer from delays. That's why purchasers should be aware of potential delays caused by outside variables like weather changes or supply chain concerns and should pay particular attention to the deadlines outlined in their contracts. Buyers should make sure they are sufficiently protected in case of delays. Many contracts contain a provision that, in the event of material delays, entitles buyers to cancel the agreement and obtain their money back. The expense of additional rent or storage due to a delayed settlement must also be considered by buyers.

4. Property Over-Valuation

Anyone purchasing a home off-the-plan runs the danger of overvaluing the property because when this happens, the home may end up selling for less than what was paid for it when it is finished. It happens when a home is priced higher than its market worth at the time of sale. This risk can be especially severe when there has been a sudden rush of new construction, which artificially drives up real estate prices. 

Investors should be aware of this risk when considering buying off-the-plan and do their research to ensure they are not overpaying for the property. They should also pay close attention to how properties in that area performed previously, as well as the potential future development plans that may affect the value of the property

5. Developer Insolvency

Developer insolvency can pose a major risk to property buyers as it may lead to liquidation proceedings and project abandonment. This means that the developer’s assets, including any land or property under development, could be seized by creditors. As a result, any money paid towards the purchase of these assets will likely be lost.

It's critical to investigate the financial standing of any developer you're considering purchasing from in order to protect yourself from such a risk. This can be achieved by investigating their accounts, looking up their credit score, and getting unbiased guidance from a trained expert. Researching project risks and understanding the developer's prior performance might help to spot any potential future bankruptcy problems.


In conclusion, purchasing a house off the plan can be a great way to save money and take advantage of pre-built amenities. So it is important for prospective homebuyers to ensure that they do their research thoroughly and speak with reputable mortgage broker experts before making any decisions because doing so will help them make an informed decision that meets their needs while avoiding potential losses of money.

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