Your Off-the-Plan Checklist

Off-the-Plan Checklist

Buying a property off the plan in Australia can be a complex process. Here’s a detailed checklist to guide you through each step:

1. Pre-Purchase Checks

Location and Lifestyle Considerations

  • Choose a location that meets your criteria and lifestyle requirements.
  • Consider proximity to amenities, availability of parking, and access to outdoor areas.

Property and Development Analysis

  • Check the history of similar developments in the area to ensure market value.
  • Assess the surrounding area of the development for future potential.

Developer, Builder, and Architect Credentials

  • Investigate the developer, builder, and architect’s past projects and reputations.
  • Verify their credentials and track record for quality and reliability.

Property Specifics and Customizations

  • Visit the onsite display office to examine plans and understand the final look of the property.
  • Check the layout, views, common areas, finishes, fittings, and any customization options like changes to finishes, appliance selection, and substitutions.

Legal and Contractual Review

  • Have a solicitor experienced in off-the-plan purchases review the contract.
  • Ensure the contract covers aspects like insurance, warranties, on-selling clauses, completion delays, and defect rectification.
  • Ask about all relevant insurances and warranties for full coverage.

Financial Preparation and Cost Awareness

  • Understand ongoing costs such as owners’ corporation fees, council and water rates.
  • Check the amount of stamp duty to be paid at settlement.
  • Ensure finances are in order, including for earlier-than-expected completion.

Property Inspection and Quality Assurance

  • Prepare a checklist for property inspection including power points, phone lines, TV and gas outlets, and fridge space.
  • Make sure all features and items on display are listed in the contract’s ‘inclusions’ section.
  • Ask to see samples of materials and fittings used in construction.

Building and Apartment Details

  • Check the building layout, apartment position, ceiling heights, security features, and HVAC systems.
  • Ensure understanding of the apartment’s measured area, both internal and total.
  • Request scale drawings or plans with measurements.

Construction and Energy Efficiency

  • Determine the materials for walls and floors and their acoustic ratings.
  • Inquire about glazing systems (laminated or double glazed).
  • Assess energy-efficient measures and the building’s energy rating.

Additional Considerations

  • Assess if landscaping is included in the development.
  • Know the sunset clauses and completion times.

Final Preparations for Settlement

  • Confirm if the developer has engaged a builder and their credentials.
  • Ensure all insurances and warranties are in place.
  • Get a building inspection prior to settlement for completeness and specification adherence.


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2. During the Purchase

Negotiating the Contract

  • Negotiate terms, including price, customizations, and inclusions.
  • Ensure the contract specifies what happens if the developer fails to complete the project.

Inspecting the Display Suite or Showroom

  • Visit the display suite to get a feel for the quality and finishes.
  • Verify that specifications in the showroom match what’s in the contract.

Monitoring Construction Progress

  • Regularly check on the construction progress.
  • Request updates from the property developer or your solicitor.

Preparing for Settlement

  • Arrange final financing in anticipation of settlement.
  • Stay informed about the expected completion date to plan for settlement and moving in.

3. Pre-Settlement Checks

Pre-Settlement Inspection

  • Conduct a thorough inspection of the property.
  • Check for any defects or deviations from the contract specifications.


  • Have the property valued to ensure it aligns with the purchase price.
  • Address any discrepancies with the lender and developer.

Final Legal and Financial Steps

  • Review final documents with your solicitor.
  • Confirm that your financing is in place and ready for settlement.


  • Arrange for building insurance effective from the settlement date.

4. Post-Purchase

Defects and Warranty Claims

  • Report any defects to the developer for rectification.
  • Understand the warranty period and what it covers.

Property Management

  • If purchasing as an investment, consider hiring a property manager.
  • Prepare the property for rental or occupation.

Record Keeping

  • Keep all documentation related to the purchase and settlement.

Ongoing Monitoring

5. Additional Considerations

  • Market Research: Stay informed about the property market trends and forecasts in the area.
  • Tax Implications: Understand the tax implications, including potential capital gains and rental income tax.
  • Community Involvement: Engage with the community or owners’ corporation to stay informed about issues affecting the property.


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