Off-plan property put simply is where a developer has land with planned housing ready to be built upon it. As an investor/buyer, you are essentially buying and owning a new build which the developer has proposed. This comes with its own positives and negatives which any potential investor would have to consider or be aware of. It's not an easy path and there could be problems particularly when it comes to obtaining mortgages. In this article, we shall guide any investor and outline how COWRIES can mitigate some of the issues with buying property such as off-plan houses or off-plan apartments in London or Dubai.
WHAT IS OFF-PLAN PROPERTY INVESTMENT?
For an investor looking for buy-to-let homes, you need to decide on a number of factors to make sure that you can secure your property. Making a payment for our property can be done via mortgage (normally of the buy-to-let mortgage kind) or stumping up the full payment in cash. Depending on how well you can save, trying to put up a lot of money upfront is not always a convenient option for most. It's a painfully slow method to save money and not always realistic in the long run bearing in mind people's lifestyles.
Timings and locations are obviously important as with any property purchase. During a market downturn, it might be a perfect time to take advantage of cheaper off-plan property prices. An investor, with the assistance of a trusted developer, would have to negotiate this. The location obviously has an impact. For example, the Crossrail train network in London is currently being constructed with new property builds proposed all near the vicinity of train stations. The investor would have quite a lot to do in terms of careful due diligence when considering any off-plan investment be that London property or Dubai property.
HOW TO BUY OFF-PLAN PROPERTY
An off-plan property purchase usually requires a sizable deposit being made (up to 30% typically) and the necessary paperwork being signed to secure the purchase. The developer will have this documentation and it is up to the investor to fully pay the rest of the investment upon completion and the developer needs to fulfil the build on time. Ask for a timeline schedule from your developer. This schedule must be adhered to by any developer since buyers are also protected by consumer codes and standards set by governments.
Off-plan mortgages typically only last six months with a variety of specialist lenders available on the mortgage market. It is up to the buyer to renew their mortgage throughout the duration of construction. First time investors should best seek advice from mortgage advisors where available.
For buyers, problems arise with mortgages, especially if the price of developed property dips. In the event of the property price decreasing, so does the security against the mortgage. The buyer would then have to think about supplying money for making up the balance. If the buyer has no option but to back out of the deal, this can lead to possible legal disputes in the event of the developer reselling the property for less. It may also be possible to obtain an equity loan to help buy off-plan properties. For example, the help to buy scheme from the UK government. However, seek the best advice possible when it comes to financing your investment.
OFF-PLAN BUILDING STAGE
Once the deal is secured; an investor is well on the way to owning a property. Sometimes it can prove difficult to see what the end property would look like, especially from static floor plans, photos and image mock-ups. An investor should trust and work hand in hand with their developer to ensure that the construction is monitored.
An investor should consider making regular trips to the construction site and take pictures. Check the progress against plans and make sure that the development is moving to schedule. Be prepared to ask the right questions about the location and building work. Spot any defects and report them to be fixed immediately.
THE COWRIES TOUCH
There's more possibilities then the single let option. Another question to ask is how many tenants will be able to occupy your property at one time. It may be possible to partition rooms for House Sharing and add additional bathrooms if there is potential or if that's what you require. The HMO (Home with Multiple Occupancy) primarily is about finding the right property and managing an additional budget. Be sure to review your landlord responsibilities to ensure that any property modifications are fit for purpose and safe for multiple tenants. If you've got these points covered then you'll be able to reap additional cash flow from a single property. Obviously, a downside is you'll need to keep more than one tenant happy and this throws up entirely new issues than single lets.
Areas with major universities and colleges typically have HMO accommodation on tap for students. If this is something an investor is considering, the rental yields would be steady and predictable as tenants come in during set university term times. Bear in mind that property in areas where student amenities are close at hand are more attractive than a property that requires a 30 minute bus journey into campus.
Buy to let property is a great entry point for any new investor. It can be a relatively simple way to get up and running quickly in property investment. It can give you a solid foundation accumulating wealth and building up that all important property portfolio. Be aware that property markets and trends are in constant flux, going through plenty changes, so it's best to keep up to date with all things buy to let during your research. Look into landlord rules and regulations where available. Do your due diligence, look at any potential investment prospects from all angles and you could be on your way to making a healthy return on investment.
In summary, as with most property purchases, do your own homework and assess your needs to find the right off-plan property. There are risks but COWRIES can advise and assure would be investors with their years of experience and excellent property portfolio. COWRIES has a great track record for delivering on time for its clients. We will present clear documentation and involve our clients in the construction, offering detailed plans of property and photos. Clients will have ready access to their own contact within our team, on hand to assist every step of the way. So if you are looking at buying off-plan property in London or Dubai, speak to one of our helpful consultants today.
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