Buying off plan – an honest view.

February 25th 2017
By: Tracey.Anne.Green
Buying off plan – an honest view.

It’s an interesting concept, buying a house ‘off plan’ from a drawing on a piece of paper – particularly when there’s no show house around for you to look at and imagine your own furniture and family inside.  Generally you get given an ‘estimated’ completion date – somewhere in the future that’s subject to change.  We saw the development advertised and went to have a look at the plans, we liked the house layout and size and decided to take the plunge.  The price was fixed – had we decided 6 weeks earlier, the price would have been even lower.

So, feeling excited that we’d found our house, we paid our deposit to secure the plot in December 2015, sold our properties and exchanged contracts with an estimated completion date of ‘Spring 2016’.  In for a penny and all that, the house was exactly what we wanted in terms of the number of rooms and the layout, and location wise was right where we were looking to live.  There was nothing else in on the market at the time that ticked all the boxes in the way that this one did.

We lived close to the site so spent many evenings walking past, seeing the progress on the various plots and looking at ours trying to imagine what it would look like when it was finished. It was quite tedious at times and we needed an awful lot of patience, then finally things started to move.

We chose our carpets, tiling, kitchen units and made a few changes to the bathrooms – a definite advantage of buying at the earliest stage of the build.  Financially it was a sound decision – we fixed the price, great in a rising market and good to limit the length of the chain – especially as we were selling two properties to buy this one together.  The real financial bonus was that the developer paid the stamp duty – a considerable amount to have to find on top of all the other costs of moving.

After months of the estimated date moving from ‘Spring’ to ‘Summer ’ - to us finally getting our keys - the wait was over and we got our new home - in October 2016!
Financially it was a sound decision, but we needed far more patience than I thought I would ever need or actually had! Now we’ve got our home and we’re all really happy with it, it’s great to have brand new everything – much easier to keep clean and tidy when everything has a proper home.  There’s plenty of light and storage with fitted wardrobes, a huge airing cupboard and cupboards downstairs too.  The room sizes are generous and the garden is bigger than we had pictured – we’re definitely looking forward to the summer and longer evenings to be able to get outside and enjoy it all properly.

Top tips:

  • if you have to put furniture and belongings into storage, do a big cull and then do another one.  Every square foot costs and when you unpack it all you’ll probably do another one!
  • do your homework and check out the developers and builders – the estate agent marketing the properties will help push things through and act as a useful intermediary.
  • add time to the estimated completion date and expect it to move.
  • be patient, carry on with normal life, once you’ve signed the contracts, mentally put it all to one side so it doesn’t become all consuming.

Would we do it again?  Ask me next year! Probably…
Susannah Wheeler