Off-plan property investment – the difficult first week

Your obligations when buying a property off-plan

You’ve made the decision to make an off-plan property investment. For many people, this is a big step, despite realising at least 7 reasons why investing in property beats all other investments. You’ve done your research and due diligence. You’re on top of property news and the property market. You understand the dynamics of property prices. There’s no reason why buying a property off-plan shouldn’t prove to be an excellent investment for income and capital gain. Now the question is, what happens next?

The process of completing an off-plan property investment is more complex than buying an existing property or home. Even seasoned property investors work through a property investment company for the benefits of smoothing the transaction process (as well as early access to the best off-plan developments).

In our investment blog post ‘How a sales progression team de-stresses off-plan property investment’, we gave you an overview of the work that Gladfish’s Sales Progression Team does on your behalf to complete on the ideal off-plan property for sale.

In this post, I’m going to delve a little deeper into what happens during that crucial first week. You’ll have a much better feel for what you have to do to turn the dream of buying a property off-plan into a reality.

Who you’ll speak to when you make an off-plan property investment

In this first week, you’ll start the ball rolling by reserving the property. You’ll also need to pay the reservation amount and any other fees, and get a solicitor on board. There will be money laundering processes to go through, questionnaires to complete, and emails to send. Lots of emails. You’ll probably be on and off the phone trying to coordinate it all.

This first week is when you first find yourself with two full-time jobs: the one you’ve been doing for the past however long and this new one of coordinating your off-plan property investment purchase.

Let’s break this first week down into bite-sized chunks.

1. Reserving your investment property

You speak to the developer, having already conducted site visits and done your due diligence. You’ll need to fill in a reservation form, making sure that all the i’s are dotted, and the t’s are crossed.

You might have to chase the developer to make sure there’re no mistakes on the reservation form. If there are, this could delay your investment or even stop it from happening altogether. This is your responsibility to get right.

2. Engage a solicitor

In double-quick time you’ll need to appoint a solicitor. Preferably one with experience of investors buying a property off-plan. There will be a questionnaire to fill in, and you’ll need to confirm that you have appointed the solicitor in writing.

3. Complete the money laundering process

You’ll need to go through a money laundering process. More alien forms! You’ll need to do this for both the developer and your solicitor. By the time you’ve scratched through your mistakes (we all make them), you’ll be something of an expert at the money laundering process.

4. Send your reservations fees

Now that your solicitor and the developer both know that you’re not an international terrorist trying to divert and clean your illegal money, you can pay the reservation fee.

5. Chase the developer

It isn’t over until the fat lady sings, as they say. And this first week isn’t over (and you’re off-plan property isn’t reserved) until the developer’s solicitor has forwarded all the legal documentation to your solicitor. Even though it’s in the best interests of the developer to make sure documents are completed and sent, you’re probably going to use a big chunk of telephone time calling the developer and hustling them to make it happen.

Forget about a leisurely lunch away from the office – the telephone will be glued to your ear.

Don’t be dismayed – there’s no gain without pain

If this sounds like an awful lot of hard work, that’s because it is. And don’t forget, before you even get to this first week you’ll have conducted a lot of in-depth research to make sure that the investment is a viable opportunity. Here at Gladfish we believe in making the process of off-plan property development as simple as possible for off-plan buyers like you.

If you’ve got any questions, have a chat with us on +44 (0)207 923 6100 today. We’ll be pleased to discuss about how your sales progression manager will take the stress out of your off-plan property investment.

Live in passion and fun,

Brett Alegre-Wood

About the Author

Brett has over 20 years experience in all facets of property, he owns various companies centred around property and is the driving force behind the education and training at Gladfish. His companies have sold over £850 million in UK and London property and he manages over 1200 properties through his estate agency chain. Today he shares his time between UK, Australia and Singapore. He is married to Arlene and together they have 4 kids.

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