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Buying off-plan

Posted: February 2015

By Jo Eccles

Q: I am buying a property off-plan in a development – do you have any tips for negotiation?

A: When buying off plan, remember that there are various elements you can negotiate on – as well as the price itself.

Firstly, select the property you want to buy. Most developers will release sections of the development in phases, essentially drip feeding the properties to the market. If you see a property you like (or unit as they’re often called in the new build world), which hasn’t been released for sale yet, don’t be afraid to see if they’ll sell it anyway. We often negotiate to buy unreleased properties for clients.

Once you’ve agreed which property to buy, the next elements to negotiate are the fixtures and fittings, and anything else you can get included in the price.

A lot of new build show homes will feature ‘extras’ such as granite counter tops in the kitchen when the standard finish is laminate. Or they’ll have built in wardrobes in all bedrooms, whereas the standard is a wardrobe in the master bedroom and wardrobes in other bedrooms are extra. Make sure you read the specification carefully and then outline in your offer letter any extras you want included in your purchase price. You need to outline them at the outset as this is when your bargaining power is strongest.

In some cases, you could request a parking space to be included in the purchase. We’ve negotiated a parking space for a client buying a one-bed flat where parking spaces were only being sold with two bedroom apartments. They can be worth a lot so do try your luck!

The final thing to negotiate is the price itself. Some developers will reduce the price to make a contribution to your stamp duty cost, so find out if this is possible. Also, sales teams are very target focussed so if you’re offering towards the end of a calendar month, they may be more open to negotiations if it means it will help them hit targets. It’s the same if you’re negotiating towards the end of a developer’s financial year, so researching when that is can help.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email info@sppropertygroup.com or tweet her @joeccles.