Updated: Dec 23, 2022
It’s worth remembering that Project sales often take years, from start to finish, so you want to look at your marketing campaign for the long haul.
Below are my top tips when it comes to your marketing strategy, from the initial stages, throughout the build & as you get closer to completion.
1. Get the Best 3D Render Set Possible
If there’s ever a place to spend money when it comes to maximising off the plan sales before settlement it’s on these renders. Because renders sell, it’s as simple as that.
2. High - Quality Marketing Brochure
A high-quality marketing brochure is another non-negotiable when selling properties off the plan. This is where you put the collate all the renders you’ve just had done up in lights.
3. More than one sign board or banner
Erecting a signboard on your development site with a marketing banner is another place you get your renders up in lights.
It’s another touchpoint (the more touch points the better!) you can leverage when selling property off the plan before settlement. One good point to remember is to keep your signboards fresh. You won’t want a faded sign board that’s been sitting in the weather for months. We suggest updating your signboard & website every few months with how the project is developing,
4. Clean and Tidy Sites
Make sure your site is clean and tidy at all times. When you engage your builder, you need to make a point of it.
If a potential buyer does a walk or drive by to check out the site and its progress and they see a messy site it’s not going to give them too much confidence around what they can expect the finished product to look like.
It might not even be a conscious thought, it doesn’t matter.
When you’re selling property off the plan there aren’t too many free hits. This is one of them so make sure you take full advantage of it and have your builder execute the presentation of the site accordingly.
Engage your local community
Can you host events during the build to help engage buyers & attract new ones. These can of course be run separately. Nothing over the top. Buyers need reassurance that things are running smoothly and potential buyers will feel more inclined to purchase if they can see there’s substantial interest in the property.
These ideas can be a mix of short articles, video content and images. The aim is twofold. One, to engage your current buyers and update them, two, to attract new buyers and help make it easy in making a decision.
Securing pre-approval to ensure you can afford the property
Realising the lags involved - when does the finance offer end, when does construction start, when does the property settle
Prepare for settlement as this will be required in 14 days of notification
Being properly organised from placing the deposit through the period to settlement, construction and moving in - these time gaps require organisation and discipline (where to live, continuing to save, ensuring the loan is organised for the right time, etc.)
Getting informed advice on the grants and stimulus available to them and for which the property complies - be wary of making assumptions and not knowing the detail
Understand and confirm the sunset clause & what it means
Do not have experience in reading plans
Consequently buying properties not suited to their lifestyle or circumstance
Misled by agents as to when construction will start
The main things people can do to avoid making major mistakes in this process, include:
Not allowing themselves to be pressured into a sale
Don't impulsively buy
Do not fail to get adequate legal advice
Don't spend wildly on discretionary items during the construction period and ruin your serviceability
Make sure that the vendor you are purchasing from has a proven track record of delivery and a high standard of finish
Make sure the purchase of the off the plan property suits your overall life plan outcomes and get good legal and accounting advice
Make sure you know exactly what you're getting upfront, including brand and model. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. This is also relevant to the size of an apartment. Arguably, this is the most important aspect of your purchase as it's the one thing which cannot be changed. There are many developments where apartment sizes have been compromised to maximise the number of dwellings within the project. Purchasing a property that's too small can really impact the long term desirability of that property.
Another source of disputes is ambiguity in contract terms. Make sure your contract includes detailed information such as proposed plans, specifications and sunset clauses, so you don't get caught out. A good lawyer will ensure everything is documented properly, so you get what you paid for.
Make sure you're buying from a reputable developer. Do your research and check they have a history of successfully developing projects similar to what you're looking to purchase.
Make sure your deposit is held in a trust account and never let a developer take your money.
It's really important to understand your borrowing capacity. Sit down with your mortgage broker and see if you're likely to qualify for a loan once the property is built. If your finance doesn't come through the developer can seize your deposit. If the property is valued at less than what it was at the outset, you can also run into problems. It's best to have a cash buffer set aside to cover you if needed, otherwise you may have challenges come settlement.
Make sure property is right for you – Does this property meet your planned wish list? Research the property and the area. Will it have long term appeal for you and for likely future buyers.
Value risk – on signing a contract to purchase at a fixed price, the value on settlement is not known. Normally property values increase, and the cost of construction generally increases continually. However, the value on the completion of sale may be the same, or more or less than the contract date. Your obligation to complete the sale will be at the contract price.
Contract of sale - be completely satisfied with the terms of both the contract and the disclosure statement. The disclosure statement details your purchase as well as the ongoing running and costs of the building. Discuss these issues with your solicitor.
A buyer has the legal obligation to settle the sale. If the development is completed in the manner described in the contract before the sunset date, there is an obligation to complete the contract. Be aware of delays in the start of construction; know your "sunset date".
If the buyer cannot settle the sale – the developer generally has recourse to take the 10% deposit and to enforce the completion of the sale, or to take legal action to recover the balance of the purchase price (after making another sale of the property) plus costs. (seek legal advice as to your obligations)
Off-plan contracts are generally not subject to finance – It is prudent to discuss your financing needs with an experienced off-plan broker before your purchase. A lender may indicate your suitability to be approved for a loan; however, normal practice is to arrange funding around three years prior to settlement.
Bank funding process – Your lender will require a valuation which will be performed at the request of the lender once the building is virtually complete in the lead up to sale completion. This valuation may or may not be at selling price. The lender will typically lend an agreed percentage of the valuation amount.
Insufficient sales to proceed – In the majority of cases, developers will require a certain number of off-plan sales to enable construction funding so that construction can commence. In some cases, if sufficient sales are not made, the project may not proceed. In this case, the deposit is refunded. This may result in lost opportunity for a buyer as they are out of the market for a period. A developer with a reputation for well-considered projects and regular delivery of completed projects is worthy of consideration.
Similarly, the way a building is designed and the shared amenities it presents can indicate the neighbours you can expect to share a building with. Likewise, it is important to consider the neighbourhood in the building and surrounding the project. Who lives in the area, and do they align with your lifestyle?
This is important as generally speaking, living alongside like-minded people allows a strong community to form and can enhance your overall lifestyle, e.g. children for your own to play with, people to socialise with or perhaps collect your mail while you're away.