Seduction and purchasing an off-the-plan apartment
Regrettably, the skilful art of seduction, leaving one irresistibly drawn to a place which may or may not be desirable, is sadly becoming lost, replaced by the far less romantic notion fostered by a number of social media apps, including Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and others.
Allegedly, a “swipe right” will reveal the prospect for romance, notwithstanding the liberal use of Photoshop and profiles that bear little resemblance to reality.
But fear not, the art of seduction is still present, only it appears now in the hands of developers and real estate agents wanting to sell you an off-the-plan apartment. Their techniques vary but are aligned to some extent with the art we used to know. It involves creating wonderful lifestyles around resort-style pools and gyms, gold-class cinemas, and outdoor barbecue facilities The actual dimensions and facilities of the apartments seem to take a second spot. Embellish with access and walkability to all the restaurants, galleries, and cafes that Melbourne has to offer. Hard to resist.
So, what can we do to protect ourselves from the siren’s lure? Binding ourselves to the mast is a little old-fashioned, and not particularly practical. Having dealt with literally thousands of off-the-plan purchases over the years, several lessons stand out.
Lesson one: This is not a good time to place yourself in the hands of a first- or second-time developer.
You really are taking a big chance as the future level of quality of the project is an unknown. It follows then, that you should look for a developer who has been building apartments for a number of years, preferably at least 10 years. Firstly, if they are still in business that is a very good sign. Secondly, it gives you an opportunity to inspect the apartments they have built and, if possible, to talk to some of the residents. There is little point looking inspecting an apartment block that was built a year or two ago. It will still be bright and shiny. Far better to look at an apartment block built some 10 years ago or more and see what condition it is in because the condition will affect its value.
It is also important to understand the outgoings, particularly the owners’ corporation (OC) quarterly maintenance fees. In some developments there are a number of OCs. You will, along with a few hundred or so of your closest neighbours, be paying for the cost of maintaining and operation of all common property facilities, including swimming pools and gyms, and in many cases a bevy of concierges providing a 24-hour service as well as the cleaning, light and power. Being seduced generally comes at a cost.
Lesson two: The contracts that you see from developers and their lawyers normally run into more than 100 pages and are structured to favour the developers. They do contain the plans of every other apartment in the building generally, which is why they are so long, but in any event the special conditions are complex and lengthy, and it is a good idea to seek advice about them. The issue is to deal with someone who has a reputation they want to protect. At the end of the day, providing you do your part by paying when required, you simply want to know that you will get what they promise you.
So how best to resist the seduction? Our advice is to always deal with a developer who has consistently delivered what they have promised over many years. They have a reputation to protect.
We have many years of experience not necessarily in seduction but certainly providing you with a legal solution when purchasing an off-the-plan apartment.
We are in your ‘hood.