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Buying property off-plan? Read this

Those who are looking to buy a sectional title property off-plan should make sure that they know exactly what terms and conditions are attached to the sale. Most importantly, they should ensure that the developer has all the required rights on the property in place.

There have been some instances where investors have had their financial guarantees tied up for a number of years in a development that never got underway because it never had the rights in place, and the rezoning application was declined.

This is according to Chris Renecle, MD of Renprop, who says residential property development has picked up again post recession, and many buyers are interested in buying sectional title homes due to the number of benefits they offer.

Aside from generally being more affordable than their freehold counterparts, when it comes to investing in an off-plan sectional title unit, the buyer signs an offer to purchase based on the current market value of the property, pays a relatively small deposit and benefits from the capital growth on the property while the development is constructed and completed. This means that the new owner enjoys capital appreciation on the property before the first bond repayment is due.

However, Renecle says that many sectional title buyers who are acquiring off-plan property are not aware that the developer needs to have the required zoning rights in place before they can submit their development plan to the council for approval. He says this process should be completed before the marketing of the development begins.

“We believe it is unethical to launch a new development to the public without the necessary rights in place because it misleads consumers into thinking that the development is a sure thing, when in fact the rezoning application could well be rejected or require amendments which would influence the pricing of the units, among other factors.”

Renecle says the rezoning applications upon which the development rights are granted generally take around 12 months to go through the required process, provided there are no objections to the rezoning. For buyers who have put down guarantees on a development where the rights are yet to be obtained, delays of two years or more can be expected, he says.

According to Renecle, banks will not grant finance for a property within a development that is yet to secure its rights. This is because the rezoning application may be rejected, in which case the development may not go ahead.

He says there have been some instances where investors have had their financial guarantees tied up for a number of years in a development which never got underway because it never had the rights in place, and the rezoning application was declined.

Aside from the fact that their money was tied up for an extended period, these investors lost out on other real estate opportunities while waiting for this development to materialise, he says.

Renecle advises buyers of off-plan sectional title developments to check all the details and conditions before signing an offer to purchase to save frustration and disappointment.

http://www.property24.com/articles/buying-property-off-plan-read-this/21382 – Property 24

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