BUYING A HOUSE OFF THE PLANS

If this blog touches on any issue of interest to you please do not hesitate to contact us at nicholas@oshearussell.ie for some preliminary guidance and advices.

On our Home page www.oshearussell.ie you will find a number of useful CHECKLISTS if you are considering the Purchase of an existing house.

Buying “off the Plans” presents an entirely different set of challenges. With the beginnings of a resurgence in the Property Market, it is inevitable that we will return to a time when new Private Housing Estates and buying from plans and Brochures becomes commonplace. This will be attractive to First Time Buyers and others alike. For First Time Buyers, we continue to offer our special Profession Fee Rate of €995 plus Vat.

Buying “off the Plans” means Purchasing a Property which has not yet been built. You are buying on the basis of the Developer’s Plans and specifications for the property and Development. A certain amount of imagination is required, though, most Developers will build a Show House early in the process as a tangible example of what your house will look like when constructed.

Some of the potential issues to bear in mind when purchasing a property “off the plans” are: –

  • Without seeing the finished article, the Buyer has to rely on the Developer to build according to the plans. A Developer usually contracts with the Buyer to build a property in accordance with the specifications provided and in a good and workmanlike manner and in accordance with all Planning Permissions, Building Regulations, etc. It is, however, also known for Developers to retain the right to make alterations to boundaries etc, although this should not affect the overall value of a property.

 

  • There will always will be uncertainty as to when the property will be finished. The Buyer has to rely on the Developer to build the property on time. If taking up a Mortgage on the property the Buyer should ensure that his/her Mortgage Offer does not expire before the completion of the construction works.

 

  • If the Housing Market declines, the finished house may be worth less than the Buyer has agreed to pay. A Lender may not lend as much as was originally offered and the loan to value ratio would be an issue. This is a matter that needs to be discussed with your Solicitor.

 

  • If the Developer becomes insolvent after the Buyer has put down a deposit, the deposit may be at risk though, generally, there is Homebound or Premier Bond cover. Even where there is this cover, it can take some time for the Buyer to reclaim the deposit.

 

  • A Buyer should consider what he/she would do if his/her own circumstances changed before the property is finished e.g. Redundancy, Illness etc.

 

  • Employing an Independent “Snagging Architect/ Engineer” to inspect the property prior to completion of the transaction is essential. The Contract itself can force a Purchaser to complete even if there are minor issues which have not been addressed. However, early snagging can help avoid this eventuality.

 

  •  A Buyer should not assume that he/she will able to “sell on” the property while under Contract and make a profit. Most Developers now add Clauses to ensure that it is Contracting Party alone who must complete the Purchase.

 

  • On a positive note, as the Property would not have been built at the time the Buyer commits to purchase it, a Developer may allow the Buyer to have a say in the fixtures and fittings in the property such as bathroom fittings, fitted kitchen, tiling etc.   A Builder may also agree “extras” if the Buyer wants a particular interior finish.

If purchasing in a large development, a Buyer should consider which Phase the property is in.   If the property is located within an early phase of development, the Buyer should be aware that Building works may well continue in the vicinity of the property for quite some time after completion of the Purchase.

  • If Purchasing a property from a Developer who is registered with Home Bond or Premier Bond, some protection is provided.

As in all property transactions, it is far better to speak with your Solicitor at an early date in the transaction so as to avoid unforeseen problems.

 

 

 

 

 

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