Buying Property Off the Plan - Pre-Purchase Checklist

Are you considering purchasing a propeRty off-the-plan?
Follow this checklist to ensure you are well informed before signing the contact.

1. Choose a location and property that meets your criteria and lifestyle requirements. 
For instance:

  • Is it close to amenities?
  • Is there parking?
  • Can you make changes to the finishes in any of the rooms?
  • Can you select appliances?
  • Do you have access to an outdoor area?

2. Check the history of similar developments in the area to make sure the price of the property reflects market value.

3. Check the credentials of the developer / builder / architect and investigate their past projects.

4. Arrange to visit the onsite display office and examine the plans so you know exactly how the property will look once complete.

5. Have a solicitor experienced in buying off the plan go over the contract and make sure the information fits with what the developer has told you. Also ask your solicitor about all relevant insurance and warranties so you are fully covered.

6. Check the layout of the building from the plans – where is your apartment in relation to views, common areas and lifts. Finishes and fittings – are substitutions permitted?

7. Review the contract carefully, especially with regard to:

  • Can the apartment be 
  • on sold before completion?
  • Completion date delays – do you have any 'get out' clauses if it’s not finished on time?
  • Defects identified post completion - will the builder rectify these?

8. Prepare a checklist for your visit that includes items such as adequacy of power points, phone lines, TV outlets, gas outlets and fridge space.

9. Make sure all features and items on display appear in the ‘inclusions’ section of the contract (such as stove, oven, dishwasher, window furnishings and respective quality/brands).

10. Ask to see samples of materials and fittings being used in the construction.

11. Is landscaping included within the development?

12. Ask what the ongoing associated costs are of the apartment, such as the estimated owners' corporation and what it includes, the council rates and the water rates.

13. Check which services will be connected (ie; gas, power, water)

14. Is pay TV available within the development?

15. Check the amount of stamp duty to be paid at settlement.

16. What are the ceiling heights?

17. What security does the building offer?

18. Note the heating and air conditioning system (split/ evaporative/ducted) and where the plant for these will be located. If it is a split system, also check where the internal cassettes are located and ensure they are rated for the floor area of the apartment.

19. Know how the area of the apartment has been measured. Make sure the sales consultant explains what the internal area is (excluding balcony) and does not include it as a total area.

20. Ask for a set of scale drawings or one showing measurements. Remember that some plans are not to scale which makes it very difficult to work out measurements.

21. Determine what the wall and floor systems are made from and what Building Code of Australia acoustic rating they achieve?

22. What glazing systems are installed. For example, are they laminated or double glazed?

23. Assess the surrounding area of the developments.

24. What energy-efficient measures will the building have and what energy rating does it conform to?

25. Have your finances in order in case the development finishes before the original deadline.

26. Get a building inspection prior to settlement. You should be fully satisfied that all building work is complete and all specifications and contractual inclusions have been met before paying the balance of the purchase price.

27. Check your completion times and sunset clauses.

28. Has the developer engaged a builder? Who are they?

29. Ensure all of the insurances and warranties are in place.


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