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Buying a townhouse? Tips to get started

Buying a townhouse? Tips to get started

Trying to find the perfect townhouse to suit your needs and wants is probably going to take you a lot longer than you think. Most of our clients have been looking at either off the plan, under construction and complete townhouse options for between 6 months to 2 years before they purchase. So why does it seem to take so long to buy a townhouse?

Well the townhouse (townhome, town residence, duplex, ) market is so popular and in demand across every buyer type – from first home buyers, singles and couples, young families and growing families to downsizers and property investors. Buyers are attracted to the internal size and layout of the dwelling and the external area and land component including balcony and courtyard. Lock and leave for today’s busy lifestyle, they offer minimal maintenance as compared to established homes.

When searching for a townhouse you need to take into consideration a townhouse can also be referred to as a townhome or town residence – different terms for that is the same. In New South Wales for example townhouses are referred to as duplexes. Inner city townhouses with a shared common garage and then multi-level dwelling are loft style townhouses, so just keep in mind when searching that townhouse terms and layout vary.  

Townhouse developments are sold in a similar fashion to apartment developments, by real estate agents, project marketers, buyers’ advocates and advisors. There was never one website that had all these off the plan, under construction and built and brand new townhouses so we thought it would help buyers search on the one website platform.

Townhouses are often sold off the plan and in what is known as off market or pre-release. This is, before they are advertised on real estate advertising and listing websites or in newspaper and magazines – so it is the ability to get in early to be the first to pick the best before launch to the public.

Off the plan marketing and sales exists as the cost to purchase land and then build out or up a development is just too costly for any one builder, developer, bank or financial institution. So the market went to selling property from marketing collateral, brochures, scale models and display suites before construction commenced. This was usually done to client databases and through registration of interest in a property or suburb.

The advantage for the purchaser is that you get to choose a property before it is advertised to the public on a website or in a newspaper or magazine – hence the marketing and advertising headlines and phrases pre-register, exclusive launch, off market, before public launch, advance viewing and so on.

Off the plan townhouses are sold quickly because they are in such high demand. The difference between off the plan townhouse development sales and off the plan apartment sales is that because there are usually fewer townhouses for sale the marketing material for townhouses can sometimes just be the black and white architectural floor plans that have been submitted to and approved by council and the list of fixtures and fittings and a contract of sale so the comparison or research to buy is by reviewing the floor plans, the design and location of the development and the track record of the builder. So this means visiting previous developments and walking through completed projects. Off the plan apartment developments will sometimes have display suites that have a mockup of what the apartments will be like with a completed kitchen, bathroom and so on.

The process to purchase off the plan is typically after you have reviewed the floor plans and price and picked a townhouse you like you reserve the townhouse with a reservation form and holding fee which varies from builder and developer but usually $1,000.00 or $2,000.00 and this usually gives you a few days to review the contract of sale with your property conveyancer or solicitor. Once you have reviewed and happy to proceed you will need to complete three copies of the contract of sale, one copy for you, solicitor and builder/developer. You will need to send back to the property sales person or developer to sign and then usually 14 days after you have signed the contract the 10% deposit of the sales price is due which can be paid in cash or bank guarantee, then when the townhouse is built, that is complete, you pay the remaining 90% of the purchase price at settlement. The build time frame varies from townhouse project to project but you will typically be kept up to date with photos and construction timeline to follow the progress of your new property. Also when you buy the number of the townhouse maybe referred to as a ‘Lot’ so lot number 1 then at settlement once titles have been allocated the townhouse is townhouse 1. Numbers are set, we sometimes get requests to have certain numbers but unfortunately it is not us, the agent, the builder or developer that decides on the end numbers it is the local council.

When the townhouse is built or complete it is regarded as established, and you purchase with a straight sale then you will not need to wait for construction to finish so you would then typically buy with signing the contract of sale and 10% of purchase price as a deposit and then the remaining 90% at settlement which can be at a time frame nominated by you as the buyer or as requested by the vendor (the seller) and can be anything from 30 days to 60 or 90 days.

To be kept up to date on our new townhouse listings you can enter your contact details on the contact us page and you will receive weekly townhouse development updates, we promise to not bombard you with emails and texts!

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