Top 5 tips by Jennifer Hogan, Ray White Projects

Questions and Answers from an expert, don’t be fooled into thinking you already know it all – build your expertise.

When buying a new apartment, are there major differences between buying from a developer direct, or via an agent?

Despite what buyers may think there are no differences, most reputable developers would always
have a price list available which applies to all appointed agents in the market. It’s extremely unlikely that you would secure a better deal by dealing with a developer as an individual buyer.

When selecting an apartment from many that may be available in a large development, what key things do you think buyers should consider when choosing the right apartment for them?

It’s important to remember that prices can rise from $5K to $15K per floor, so I always suggest
that it’s good to buy at the maximum of your buying power. Some apartments may be priced the
same but there could be a larger balcony or a different floor configuration that suits you better. Remember too that apartments that face North have no valuation difference but they do offer occupancy and desirability benefits. Most modern developments have very good sound proofing but have a think about road noise or the view, some may prefer looking over a park, others perhaps the city landscape. If you’re unsure how your selected apartment is positioned, a good agent will always take the time to make sure you get what you are paying for.

Are developers open to negotiation and if so, what should buyers be asking for, or what terms may be flexible?

For apartments off the plan, very little is negotiable, in particular the base price of the unit. Some developers offer certain incentives, i.e. you may be able to get a rebate at settlement which can be useful, particularly for first-time buyers. Recent incentives include rental guarantees where a developer can guarantee the first year’s % yield for investors. Smaller additional requests may be for the developer to include blinds, discount furniture packs and possible upgrades to fittings or appliances. It’s important to remember that you really do get what you pay for, a developer needs to make a profit and you want to be happy with the property, free add-ons are purely a luxury and not a guarantee.

What are the benefits of buying off the plan and with so many apartments / agents to choose from, what caution should buyers exercise?

Benefits of buying off the plan can vary state to state, for example in Victoria there are savings on stamp duty for new properties. Buyers should really look at the track record of a developer, if they have never done a development before, will it reach construction and settlement? Be sure to check the sunset clause date and if in doubt have a solicitor give you advice.

If a family member came to you asking for your “pearls of wisdom” when choosing their property, what would you say?

I’d actually suggest that they go for an apartment that is a bit different to the norm, perhaps
something with a unique feature such as a heritage façade or great location. I’d always suggest to include a car spot if available as they do offer good value and will always be in demand. Make sure that the area you are buying into attracts quality tenants as this has benefits for owner occupiers and investors. Above all else make sure that you buy from reputable agent, one who has done the research and knows their market. At Ray White Projects, we represent quality developments and care for each of our relationships from start to finish and beyond so you’re in good hands.