What to Look For When You Buy a House and Land Package or Off the Plan

Buying a brand new home often means signing up to a house and land package, or if you’re buying into a townhouse or apartment complex, buying off the plan.

In both instances, however, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds, as no two house and land packages or off the plan purchases are ever the same.

We’ve put together a checklist of things to look out for and consider when buying a house and land package or off the plan.

The community

When the government releases land that is eventually sold off by a developer, like Stockland or Clarendon, they’ll be creating an entirely new community or suburb (formerly and sometimes still referred to as an estate).

Although this new community may be adjacent to an already established suburb, it will contain many new homes — often upwards of a hundred. The best new communities are those that are self-sufficient. Consider the following:  

    • Travel time to work, family, friends once the development is completed
    • Community design — landscape and social infrastructure like child care centres, etc
    • Transport and shopping options — will shopping centres and transport operate in the community? If not, what’s the distance to nearby shopping and transport
    • Are there are any public spaces like parks, walking trails or sporting grounds?

These considerations also apply to buying off the plan townhouse or apartment complexes.

The lot

In most house and land packages, land sizes range from around 300 square metres up to 600 square metres. Smaller lots are usually located the public spaces, like shopping centres and transport. The same rule is often true in townhouse or apartment complexes.

Choosing a lot in a new community isn’t much different to looking at the land with an already established dwelling on it. You should consider:

    • Grading — flat blocks will cater to plenty of house designs, while sloped blocks require bespoke designs
    • Aspect — is the land north, east, south or west facing?
    • Topography — elevated blocks are ideal for homes with balconies
    • Beware of unstable soil or underground rock, which can increase building costs

If you’re buying an off the plan, you don’t need to be as concerned with the grading or underground rock, but you should pay attention to the location of your unit or townhouse in the complex, as well as aspect.

The builder

When buying into an apartment of townhouse complex, checking the builder’s previous work will ultimately help you to decide whether a complex will be a good buy or not.  

In buying a house and land package, you sometimes have a little more freedom to pick and choose your own builder (although sometimes this isn’t the case, as many developers like Stockland will also build the homes).

Enquire about:

    • Inclusions: Display homes and apartments usually feature the best fittings, finishes and appliances, but they may not always be included in the standard package.
    • Layout: Is there flexibility to make changes to where the bedrooms, kitchen, dining areas are?
    • Construction: When will it commence and what’s the expected completion date?
    • Environmental features: The cost of power, gas and water keep rising, so find out what features are sustainable.

Check the builder:

    • Is licensed
    • Has insurances
    • Knows the lot is suitable for the design.

There are lots of things to consider when buying a house and land package or off the plan. For help finding your new home or investment property in the Newcastle, Cessnock, Port Stephens or Lake Macquarie areas of NSW, contact EzyEstate.

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