Should you tighten your belt or maximise on the lowered interest rate? We look at buying off-plan, an accessible way to negotiate the property market
WORDS: ATLEHANG RAMATHESELE
While many people enjoy the freedom and independence of building their own home, it is not for everyone. Although the process has its merits, everything from managing builders, architects or the municipalities can be irksome. Not to mention the contention of unforeseen costs and delays. If you have ever built a home from scratch, you will understand the pressure accompanying the exercise. After one too many unexpected mishaps, even the most enthusiastic of buyers could feel like burying themselves in the vacant site rather than building their dream home.
This is why many people opt for buying off-plan, whether it is a freestanding home or a unit in a complex, the arrangement is flexible and economical with less administrative headaches. In a nutshell, when buying off-plan in a new development, you can select from a design that is at least close to what you want while not having to deal with a builder, architect or the city council.
Katya Varga, assistant area and projects manager for Pam Golding Properties in Stellenbosch and Somerset West, says this level of preplanning often allows for more options. “Plot and plan residential developments, typically managed by seasoned developers and builders, are well thought-out with cohesive design throughout, all while offering buyers a choice of a few plans at different price points, including the interior specifications or ‘looks’ such as dark or light options,” she says. Perhaps the most lucrative part of this arrangement is the potential financial benefits. “Buyers save on transfer duty as development sales are inclusive of VAT and therefore regarded by banks as the purchase price,” says Varga. In addition, more advantageous financing options are usually available and plot and plan purchasers can receive 100% home loans.”
There is also added stability of the end cost already being finalised with a buyer signing a building agreement at a set price. “Furthermore, a cash deposit of just 10% generally secures the purchase, with the balance payable from about one to a few years later when construction of the unit is complete,” she says. Buying off-plan is especially a good idea for those who intend to occupy the property, because investors might not be as concerned with the quality of life and the neighbourhood. Newer developments are often in gated communities and estates, which allow for improved lifestyle benefits and security while also offering tailor-made and modern home options. While it is worth noting that buying set plans and plots largely benefit those who want to stay within a fixed budget while enjoying good design and functionality, it is also attractive to investors.
According to Sean Coetzee, Pam Golding Properties area principal in East London, buying off-plan is a sensible option for those who want to buy-to-let. “New houses in these developments come with a developer and National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) guarantees, while architectural guidelines maintain a standard of construction and design, protecting your investment and preventing a ‘popcorn’ village’, where the designs of homes lack uniformity.” he says. “It ensures house prices are maintained and increase in value.”
BUYING OFF-PLAN BENEFITS
- Modern design and optimal technology – including fittings for satellite TV, Wi-Fi and air conditioning.
- More room for green and sustainable offerings.
- More warrantees, which enable faster turnarounds when dealing with issues and defects.
- Less maintenance costs after completion.
NEW OFF-PLAN DEVELOPMENTS
The Terrace (featuring luxury two- and three-bedroomed apartments) within the Sandton Gate precinct, sell from R1.849m. Construction has started and occupation is in October 2022.
Situated in exclusive Bryanston, Lallybroch features stylish apartments, each with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, selling from R1.450m. Units range from top, middle and ground floor apartments with lifestyle facilities such as a swimming pool and clubhouse.
Occupation: Phase 1: January 2022 Phase 2: September 2022.
WELGEGUND DOMAINE PRIVE
Set in a luxury security estate in Stellenbosch, Welgegund Domaine Prive offers 32 units starting from R2.1m. This boutique estate also features a pond and viewing deck surrounded by mountains and vineyards.
This picturesque, private Estate and Golf Club in Chintsa Valley, offers three- to five-bedroomed homes ranging from 500m² to more than 2,000m². It is also home to an 18-hole golf course, restaurant and bike trails. Prices start from R2.89m.