Buying property off-plan…here are a couple of legal look outs

Buying off-plan, what does it mean?

Buying off-plan refers to buying property before it’s built. No foundation! No stones! Just a piece of land, a model and plan of the structure. Risky? Not really. It has both sides of the coin to it.

Why consider buying off-plan?

Buying any form of property off-plan is a worthy investment because:

  • Buy at current rate – You buy the piece of property at the current market value, regardless of the project’s completion date.
  • Flexible payment plans – Various developers give their clients payment plans  that are tailored to meet their needs.
  • Stress-free – The developer takes care of the construction and you don’t need any level of expertise.
  • Monitoring progress – You get to monitor the progress of the construction from the foundation to the finishing. What’s more? You get to choose your model.

What to look out for

  • Developer – It is important that you find out if they are registered and accredited by the respective agencies such as the National Construction Authority to carry out such levels of undertaking. Additionally, you should find out if they are insured against any risks such as fire that may occur during the construction period.
  • Site visit – Always conduct a site visit to the proposed piece of land the construction is to take place. Have this done before establishing any sort of commitment, especially monetary. While doing so, establish if the developer is indeed the owner of the land and has the authority to put up such developments by inspecting the title deed of the land.
  • Payment plan – Agree on this after having carried out the site visit and establishing the legal owner of the land. Do not make any payments in cash as this has no paper trail in the case of an arising dispute. Any money paid should be through a bank transaction and obtain a receipt from the developer acknowledging the same. Where possible, put the money in an escrow account for it to pass upon the completion of the construction. This will ensure that your money is safe and put to its proper use.
  • Certificate of ownership – Obtain this from the developer to show that you are indeed the rightful owner of the property after its completion and payment of the entire sum agreed. Further steps should be made to ensure that you obtain a title deed as the certificate of ownership is temporary and only acts as proof of payment.

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