Much like the virtual world of Sims, the real world also presents the option between unleashing your creativity on a spot of vacant land or popping a pre-designed house onto a plot and making it your own. One of the many enticing factors of purchasing a property off-plan is that you get a say in how the final product will look. The question is, how much can you change when purchasing a property off-plan?

What can I change?

Each off-plan build will have its own set of customisable options. That being said, most off-plan developers will give buyers a range of choices for the following features: cupboard door finishes and handles, kitchen countertops, flooring options and paint colour. Generally, buyers will have a choice between a handful of options for each of these features. In some cases, one option might come as standard and the others will come at an additional charge. If you don’t like any of the features on offer by the developers, you may propose your preferred option, but usually this will come at your own cost if it is approved.

What can’t I change?
Any structural changes can only be done pending approval from the developers and are likely to result in additional admin costs since new plans will have to be drawn to include your changes. Be cautious if you are hoping to make alterations once the build is over that were initially rejected by the developers during the building process. In most cases, the red tape does not come down after the property has been built. These off-plan properties are most often built in estates managed by HOAs with strict bylaws regulating the appearance of all homes within the community. Some even go so far as to prohibit what sorts of plants may be planted in the front yard. It might be easier to get away with changes to the inside of your home, but alterations to the exterior of the property will be trickier to hide.

Is it better to build my own home?
The reality is that buying off-plan is not the same as building your own home. If you want the flexibility to design a home that is one hundred percent what you would prefer, then you would save yourself a lot of frustration by building a property from scratch instead. Click here to start searching for vacant land or get in touch with your nearest RE/MAX office.