An off-plan property signifies the buying of a property that is not yet complete. The construction may be at any stage – even at the pre-licensing stage, if you are buying a property that has not yet fully completed in all regards, then it is said to be an off-plan property. The demand for pre-construction overseas property, or off-plan property, has seen a steady rise over the past decade as more investors turn to the overseas property market for bigger capital growths. On the face of it, investing in property abroad seems a good proposition, but it’s always advisable to acquaint yourself, as far as possible, about the pros and cons of an unfinished property.
Advantages Of Investing In Off Plan Property Abroad
An off-plan property investment abroad entails a whole lot of advantages to the investor. Some of these include –
The foremost advantage is the price factor. You can avail strikingly lower prices for the undeveloped property. The builders offer these discounts because they need to raise immediate capital for construction purposes. Moreover, it’s always the endeavour of a builder to sell the property during construction to offset any probability of failure to gain from selling it in future. Another reason for builders to offer off-plan property at discounted rates is to obtain better interest rates on their development loans from banks and investors. The price obviously has to be on a lower side for an unfinished construction as the builders have hardly anything to show except for a floor plan and an artist’s impressions of the finished development.
Moreover, even this discounted price is not paid immediately. Normally, the builders ask for 20%-30% deposit at the time of the Sale Agreement, and the balance normally becomes payable on completion of the property. You can easily finance the balance on a 70% mortgage in most countries.
Investment in an off-plan property overseas will, most certainly and drastically, mitigate your capital gains tax liability.
If all the payments you make to a builder are covered by a bank guarantee, it means that anything paid is returned to you should the builder defaults. So, your investment is largely secured by a bank guarantee.
An off-plan property investment gives you a chance to supervise your returns on the property during the construction period as well, which is generally 1-3 years. This way you can realize the profit during the construction period as well, should you require immediate money. This benefit is particularly significant if one considers the small amount invested in the form of deposit at the time of Agreement.
The overseas property should be alluring enough to invest. In other words, the builder must, at least, promise to employ state-of-the-art construction materials and install modern gadgetry to make the finished product an exciting proposition to reap maximum rewards, if resold. Some builders also allow the investor to choose the fixtures and fittings to be installed during the construction.
Disadvantages Of Investing In Off Plan Property Abroad
Though off-plan property investment abroad may seem quite a cheap proposition, it has some pitfalls too. Here are some of the disadvantages you might face in an off-plan investment –
The apparent negative feature of off-plan property investment is the chances of the developer disappearing or going bust. Therefore, it’s extremely vital that you do your homework and research thoroughly the credentials of the developer. If the developer is a well known entity in that particular region, chances are that the deal will be good, but if he is a new entrant in the business, you must be extra vigilant in ensuring that your money won’t go down the drain.
Another risk you will be undertaking by investing in off-plan property is its possible sudden fall in value within the real estate sector. You can never predict the tilt of market forces, and can incur losses if the demand for that kind of property has hit a low during construction.
There is a wide gulf between the projected and the actual product. The overseas builder can easily take you for a ride if he uses inferior or different materials during construction than promised. However, if the developer has a good reputation, chances are that such cheap tricks won’t see the light of the day.
If you are planning to move into your newly acquired possession, then ensure you are flexible with your moving dates. You can never be sure about the precise date by which the construction will be completed. There may be any number of hurdles in the construction process, and during this period, you just cannot pack your bags and hop in your dream home or apartment.
Legally speaking, you are not the actual owner of the off-plan property until it is completed. So, you don’t enjoy all the rights against the property as enjoyed by an owner. Without ownership, the banks may not lend against the property, and therefore, any money required before completion may have to be raised from personal resources. However, these cases are few and far between, most banks will lend the remaining monies in the form of a mortgage secured on the finnished product.
After getting yourself acquainted with the pros and cons of off-plan property investment, it’s time for you to make a decision.