Off-the-plan guide for downsizers

3 years ago
5 minutes

How to determine if an off-the-plan home is right for you when downsizing

There are currently numerous financial benefits to downsizing and purchasing an off-the-plan apartment or townhouse, particularly thanks to record-low interest rates and a number of government incentives.

If you’re an owner-occupier buying off-the-plan, you may be eligible for stamp duty exemptions or savings, as well as the new HomeBuilder grant. The Commonwealth Government’s latest grant scheme aims to help inject some life back into the residential market and construction industry, and many developers are also jumping on board to offer further incentives to purchase off-the-plan – with some offering to double the grant so you receive a total of $50,000. 

Downsizing might be the perfect option for you if your children have left home and you no longer want to spend the time and money on keeping on top of home maintenance. When you purchase a smaller off-the-plan home, not only will your maintenance costs be slashed thanks to the brand-new build quality, but in a lot of cases you will also spend less on utility bills. 

Many new developments are built with a keen focus on sustainability, energy and water reduction, meaning you will be saving significantly on bills. 

By selling your family home and downsizing, you can move to your ideal location – whether that is overlooking the ocean, in the city-centre or close to a plethora of local amenities. There are off-the-plan property offerings in locations across Australia, meaning finding an off-the-plan home in your desired location will be simple. Click here to browse the many off-the-plan apartments and townhouses available across Australia. 

What does it mean to buy a home “off-the-plan?”

Buying a home off-the-plan is a different process to buying an established home, as often the decision to purchase is made without inspecting a physical residence.

After viewing the plans, i.e – the floorplan, renders and key details about the development and your individual property, the contract of sale is signed before the building is completed – or in some cases before construction has commenced. You agree to purchase the property with guarantees pertaining to quality, style, timeframe of construction and completion date, size, decor and functionality – and these guarantees are written into your contract of sale.

The process begins when you inspect the display suite for the development – and by appointment private inspections and virtual appointments are now widely available. Thanks to a number of increased buyer protections and developers offering impressive building guarantees, those purchasing a home off-the-plan can do so with increased peace-of-mind.

There are many benefits to downsizing, and when combined with the decision to buy off-the-plan, what may have been an emotional time leaving your family home can become an exciting property opportunity. 

How to negotiate space when buying a smaller home off-the-plan

Downsizing to an apartment or smaller home can be extremely functional and convenient, and it is important to ensure you maximise your space in order to have an enjoyable and usable place to live. 

Having a calming, coherent colour palette can help to expand the appearance of a room, without having to fully embrace complete minimalism. When you buy off-the-plan, you are often purchasing a home that has been designed by an expert team of architects and interior designers, meaning that all of the hard work in selecting the perfect colour palette, finishes and fixtures has been done for you. Light colours tend to trick the eye into thinking a space is larger than it really is, and clever mirror and furniture placement will also help with this to expand your space. 

If you have access to natural light, bringing it into your home as much as possible will instantly connect the room with the outdoors. Designers are highly aware of this, and the use of perfect window furnishings and window placement means that many new off-the-plan apartments have amazing access to natural light. 

Make the most of low-interest rates

Interest rates have been at record-lows since March, and many property experts are saying that now is the perfect time to buy. 

David Milton, residential property expert at CBRE says, when discussing current interest rates and lending conditions, “there are enormous positive benefits to buying now thanks to the current low interest rates, and all financial forecasts are saying that they’re going to stay this low for the next 2 to 3 years – it’s never been cheaper to buy!”

Is it time to downsize?

Eventually, the time comes when a four-bedroom home in the suburbs is no longer necessary. Many Australians will downsize at some point, and even though it can seem like a daunting concept, moving to a smaller residence has many advantages.

Young Australian families and professionals are already making the move towards amenity-rich, convenient apartment living – and downsizing to a new apartment development is a great way for knowledgeable downsizers to stay close to the facilities they have come to know and love in their locale, while eliminating the many responsibilities that comes with owning a oversized detached home.

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