Stockland’s National Customer Experience Manager, Chris Kenny, takes us through the five steps to moving day.
Buying a townhome off the plan is an easy way to move into a brand new home in an established community – but there are a few things to consider before you make your final decision.
1. Choose the perfect home
“For most people, this comes down to affordability, location and space,” says Chris. “Do you need two bedrooms or three? Do the transport and school options work for your family? Talk to the sales agent about what’s being planned for the community in the short and long term.”
Top tip: This is the best time to talk details with the sales agent – discuss any changes you’re keen to make to the specifications so you understand all your options. Also read the fine print carefully. Even if you can’t see a display home, you need to understand the floor plans, product quality and inclusions.
2. Pay your deposit and ‘exchange’ contracts
To secure your preferred home, once the contracts have been drawn, you’ll be asked to pay a non-refundable holding deposit. This is when your contract becomes ‘unconditional.’ It will detail the floorplan and every inclusion so check this carefully, and ask your conveyancer or solicitor for advice as these contracts are binding: if you don’t settle you will lose your deposit. When you buy off the plan, there is very little room for changing things once you’ve exchanged.
Top tip: You’ll want to know when you can expect to move in. We’ll provide you with an estimated time frame for settlement however this is subject to change because there are a number of variables during the construction journey e.g. including Local Council requirements, weather and availability of building materials and suitable tradespeople etc. However, ensure you start working with your conveyancer or solicitor and your lender early to make the final arrangements before settlement and avoid any unnecessary delays.
3. Stay in touch with progress
“We’ll keep you informed of every milestone in construction, from civil works and the pouring of the slabs to the new park opening,” explains Chris. Your customer relations agent can answer any questions you may have, and discuss how you’re going with sorting out your finance.
Top tip: We know you’ll be excited to see your new home taking shape. It’s natural to want to drive over and look at the building progress. But it isn’t safe to wander into a construction site – in fact, it’s a safety issue. Though rest assured, Stockland will provide you with construction updates and invite you to inspect your new home prior to settlement. Of course you can drive by and we would encourage you to spend some time in the new neighbourhood getting to know your local cafés, parks and shops and becoming part of the community.
4. Valuation and inspection time
Once we get close to completion, it starts to get busy. Occupation certification, inspections and valuations can all be happening simultaneously. Independent, external providers will check for any defects over multiple inspections, and then you’ll be able to inspect it for yourself. You’ll be given a detailed Pre-Move In Checklist to help, plus our Customer Relations team can help you log any concerns. “We work really hard to make sure your home is perfect, but there are a lot of variables,” explains Chris. “There is a ‘post settlement maintenance period’ of 90 days/ 3 months, however, this may vary from project to project. Your builder is the main point of contact regarding any building maintenance related matter.
Top tip: The valuation of your home will be an important milestone in your journey. There are various ways to measure the value of a new town home. Valuers usually take comparable sales to calculate the value of your brand new home against established homes nearby. Therefore, it’s really important to understand how valuations work and how it may affect your lending ability. We recommend that if you speak to your broker and/or bank to understand this process.
5. Moving day!
Settlement is the big day you take legal possession of your new townhome and finalise payment. “It’s not unusual for someone to settle and move in on the same day,” says Chris. Once you have the keys, your townhome is yours to add your personal touch. Move your furniture in, make friends with your new neighbours, and fire up the BBQ in your new garden.
Top Tip: Read more about how to make your townhome your own and personalise your new space. By employing just a few clever tips and tricks – choosing your furnishings, colour schemes and storage solutions carefully – you can maximise your space and tailor it to suit your lifestyle.