My Real Estate Mate summer reading series: Buying off the plan - the finished product

As crazy as it sounds, settling a new off the plan apartment requires you to be even more organised then when you purchased. It is an exciting time and you are well on your way to reap the advantages of apartment ownership, such as:

  • Freedom and flexibility.
  • Predictability and stability.
  • Accumulating capital and equity.

A quick recap: you have picked your apartment out with Apartment Register, signed the contract of sale and paid your 10% deposit, and the construction of the development has commenced. Now what do I do? Depending on the size of the building, construction will take on average 18 months to two years before you can settle and move in or rent the apartment.

Over the course of the construction of your off the plan apartment, My Real Estate Mate will update you with photos and construction commentary from the builder and developer. It is a fascinating and rewarding time to watch one of your lifetime's largest purchases be built from the ground up.

The settlement process involves every person you interacted with when purchasing the apartment, to ensure the process runs smoothly. The following tasks are required to be completed:

  1. Final inspection.
  2. Certificate of Occupancy.
  3. Settlement time and date confirmation.
  4. Valuation report.
  5. Statement of Adjustments.
  6. Transfer of funds.
  7. Registration of the title / transfer of land.
  8. Handover packet.

The handover packet will include your keys, appliance guarantees and other information, such as the appointed body corporate manager. The body corporate will require a number of apartment owners within the development to be on the committee which manages operational matters of the development. The body corporate manager will hold an annual general meeting, which you can attend to be kept up to date with items such as building maintenance.

Effective the day of settlement, Apartment Register recommends connecting all apartment services such as electricity and water and commencing insurances. You don’t want to move in in the dark! As a new owner, you will need to book the time and date to move in. This is to ensure a lift is allocated to ensure smooth, stress free day. Depending on the development move in schedule, you may only be allowed to move in on a weekday.

If you are an investor, you will need to appoint a rental agent. Apartment Register recommends interviewing local agents as they know the area and may have potential tenants ready to move in. You will need to sign a rental agreement with the agent, along with placing an advertisement on various real estate websites.

The rental agent will then hold open days throughout the week to gain interest and take apartment application forms from prospective tenants, who will have to provide information on their current employment status, referees and rental history. You as the vendor choose your tenant from the application pool and then enter into a tenancy agreement.

Your rental agent will provide you with regular apartment inspection reports to ensure the tenant is looking after the apartment, along with monthly or fortnightly financial statements.

My Real Estate Mate hopes you found our summer reading series useful and remember to be nice to your neighbour! Our previous articles in this series:

Apartment Register is a value added service offering our clients first pick of apartments in new off the plan developments prior to public launch. Register here and we will be in contact with you straight away.

Cameron Clarke is licensed real estate agent and managing director of My Real Estate Mate and Apartment Register; a joint venture partner of Alamar AV Communications Pty Ltd, publisher of Urban Melbourne. Each Saturday over summer Cameron will provide provide commentary and tips on all things apartments.

Cameron's published commentary is not designed to be taken as financial advice and should you wish to register with Apartment Register, Urban Melbourne strongly recommends registrants consider their financial position and do their own research before entering into contracts for sale.

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