Eight Essential Questions to Ask When Buying off the Plans
Eight Essential Questions to Ask When Buying off the Plans

So you've found your dream apartment, in an idyllic development, that may be already under construction. Everything looks great on paper, but you know you should be doing due diligence. Here’s a list of interrogative questions you could – and should – be asking the developer before you buy.

1. Is this apartment the best fit for me?

What’s best for you isn’t just how many bedrooms, or which floor — or how high the ceilings are — but the actual physical layout, too. When you've fully measured it out, a space can look very different to how it appears on paper. We suggest getting a tape measure and pacing out the floorplan.  

2. What stage is the development at?

If construction on a development hasn't yet commenced, there are still signs that it is en train. Land is a significant investment so owning the site is a good sign the developer is raring to go. Resource Consent is another signal — it should be already in place, or an application will be well underway.

3. Which construction company will build the development?

At Ockham, we have our own in-house construction team — Ockham Construction — because
we believe this gives us greater quality control and oversight. However, developers often contract-out construction work. This is not necessarily a bad thing but make sure you also give the construction company a decent look-over.

4. Who is the developer?

By this we mean, what is your potential developer's track record? Do they deliver what was promised? Ask how many developments the company has completed on schedule in the past. Take a drive past some of their previous builds to get a sense of the style and how they’ve weathered.

5. When will construction kick-off, and what’s the expected completion date?

Construction is a fiendishly complicated game with heaps of moving parts — not least Covid — but an experienced developer will plan accordingly and be able to mitigate most issues
as they arise.

6. What are the nuts and bolts … or rather, the fixtures and fittings?

Tiling, taps, carpet... your apartment will likely have everything, including the kitchen sink, already set up and built into the purchase price. Ask to see samples and be sure you are happy.

7. What does the price include and is it negotiable?

Typically buying off the plans means the price is set, but apartments can come with or without parking spaces, storage lockers, and other amenities. Will you need all of these, or are you paying for something you won’t use?

8. What are the Body Corporate fees?

The sales team should be able to give you an estimate of what the Body Corporate fees will be — with the actual amount confirmed just before settlement and reviewed annually
after that.