What’s up ladies and gentlemen!
Hope everyone had a great weekend.
MrsFrugalSamurai-to-be certainly did – seeing as she had her hen’s on Saturday night.
Poor old me was left home alone to entertain myself. I was crestfallen.
… for about a minute! Because HUZZAH! It meant I finally had free rein over what I wanted to watch on Netflix.
No more Korean dramas or American sitcoms for me!
No siree, straight to bingeing on “The Adventures of Tintin”.
But call me old, fact is that after the day I had on Saturday I really just wanted to lie in bed and watch some nostalgic childhood TV shows to unwind.
You see, I had accompanied my parents earlier to conduct a final inspection of their upcoming apartment purchase – a completely new build in the Western suburbs of Sydney.
They purchased this in 2015 and it’s taken over two and half years to finalize the build, with the developer encountering issue after issue which caused one delay after another.
Even before buying a single property, I’ve personally never warmed to the idea of buying one brand new… actually come to think of it, I don’t really buy brand new for most things – it’s not really my thing (except for food and water, always buy these brand new).
My parents on the other hand, insisted on purchasing brand new – the privilege of being the first I suppose.
So in fairness, I’ve come up with 6 main pros and cons for brand spanking new builds, both apartments and houses (what’s called “off-the-plan”). It’s a bit of a longer read, but do hope you enjoy it!
Buy now, pay later.
Most of the advertising brochures for off-the-plan builds have this slogan “put X% down and pay the rest in Y years” where X can be as little as 5 or 10%. Y is usually 18 or 24 months (depending on estimated time of completion).
What this means is that a buyer can put a small deposit down to acquire the property, and when it finishes building in a year or three, pay the remainder (usually with a bank loan i.e. mortgage).
This is great for cash flow, with a small outlay you can acquire a property to either live or invest in, and as it’s not finished yet – you can work towards saving the rest until the build is complete.
In many states around Australia, there is government incentives and stamp duty (a transaction tax those bastards apply) savings for a new build purchase.
This can range from government grants to stamp duty exemptions to additional first home owner grants for new buyers.
One of the biggest unseen costs to buying property are the government taxes, fees and charges, my personal rule of thumb is I whack on 5% to the purchase price of any property I am buying.
A bulk of the additional cost is from stamp duty (calculator here), imagine being able to not have to fork out $30,000 for a new home? You could do a lot with $30,000 I’m sure.
That New Smell.
Like my parents, many people prefer buying properties new – all the taps are working, the walls are unblemished and the air-con is pumping out air for the first time.
Not only does every appliance work, but with new builds, you are able to personalize your property prior to construction even commencing.
Yep, this means you can design the property layout yourself, pick out a colour scheme, choose the finishes and layouts – all before it’s built.
What’s more, in new apartment buildings and master-plan communities (house + land packages), there are usually current lifestyle amenities such as common areas, pools, gyms, tennis courts, children’s playgrounds, concierge services to name a few.
Everyone knows the story of my uncle Joe who went to buy a new Ferrari from the dealership. After he drove out, he realized he didn’t like the car anymore and went back inside the dealership to get his money back.
“Sorry, can only give you 80% back” said the car salesman with a glint in his eye.
“What” said Uncle Joe “Why?”
“Depreciation” replied the salesman, with glints in BOTH eyes.
Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a rich uncle Joe who spends his money frivolously on Ferraris (I do have one who fancies himself a stock market guru – but that’s another story for another time) but the moral still applies.
Depreciation is very real and it’s very much prevalent when you are investing in property.
The Australian tax office allows depreciation to be deducted against the building, plants and equipment (the fixtures and fittings) for new purchases. This can mean, as an investor you’re able to deduct thousands when you file your tax return (check with your accountant). Handy to say the least.
The developers are usually under pressure (from their lenders) to get the first sales signed up and recoup some of their costs. This is because the banks usually won’t approve financing for the development project until most of the properties are sold.
So usually the developers try and incentive prospective buyers by lowering the price for the first few properties in their build.
This is also true for the very last few sales, the developers want to wrap up the project and get cracking on construction, so often the case offer discounts to ensure all the properties are sold.
If you’re one of the earlier ones – potentially you can have the pick of the bunch too, from choosing the view it faces, to the orientation of the unit/block, to the one with the best Feng Shui – go nuts.
Warranty and Less Maintenance Costs.
With new constructions, it can be covered by warranty (for example in NSW read here)
“Closely inspect the finished project and list any items of concern. Contracts for new homes come with a warranty known as the ‘defects and liability period’ (usually 13 weeks for new homes)… Legally, it’s the contractor’s responsibility to make sure the work is free of major defects for 6 years after the work is completed and 2 years for all other defects”
That’s good right! If anything doesn’t work like it should, or if the construction wasn’t built well – then warranty their ass!
New constructions also mean that maintenance costs should be lower also.
But be warned, it really is a case of caveat emptor as there have been huge controversies in recent years in Australia when major defects and poor construction of new builds was exposed.
Have a read of this case which made the headline news, one in which I personally know people involved in this tragedy. It’s changed their lives and countless others, wouldn’t want to wish the financial, emotional and personal angst on anyone.
Those are the main pros in my opinion for buying off-the-plan.
Now don’t get me wrong, they can and some are definitely great homes/investments – but like I said, it’s not my personal kettle of fish.
This was also echoed by my parents, who weren’t the most thrilled when they went to inspect because…
But I’m getting ahead of myself, come back next time and I’ll share some cons, in my opinion, of buying brand new and off-the-plan.
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P.S. Again with the disclaimers but it has to be said – please please please, do your own research whenever buying anything, especially when it comes to hundreds of thousands of your own money!