off the plan buyer questions you need to know

off the plan buyer questions you need to know

February 2018
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Off the plan buyer questions you need to know

If you’re a developer who has been around the block, you’re sure to be noticing a rise in the intelligence of the buyer. More than ever, when buying off the plan, people want to understand every aspect of the build. They are no longer satisfied with standard inclusion information; they want to know what’s in the walls.

When a buyer only has a piece of paper, rather than a physical house to walk through, your responses to their questions will have a dramatic effect on their confidence. As Brett Ayles, from 1 Village Project Marketing, notes “You need to know your product, inside and out”


What is the material and R-rating of the insulation in the walls and ceiling?

Buyer’s now have a deeper understanding of insulation efficiencies. What used to be a straight forward question, with a straight forward answer, now requires a lot more thought.

Not only do you need to select the appropriate R-rating for property’s location, but you need to select the appropriate material too. Researchers have known for some time that some types of insulation perform better at different temperatures.

Achilles Karagiozis, the director of building science at Owens Corning, studied the difference between extruded polystyrene (XPS) and polyisocyanurate (polyiso). He concluded that at lower temperatures R-5 XPS actually beats R-6 polyiso in cold climates. In warm climates however, polyiso outperforms XPS.

These climatic factors can become problematic for green builders, who sometimes prefer polyiso for it’s more environmentally friendly make-up.


What is the SHGC value for all external glass?

Not only does insulation save the buyer money down the long run, but it also reduces the project’s environmental impact.

Naturally, the Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient (SHGC) of the windows is an important part the project’s insulation and buyer’s want to know the value. Keep in mind that the direction these windows face plays a big part in rationalising any decision; buyers may not know this.

It is also recommended to discuss the U-value of the windows. SHGC only refers to the direct sunlight transference and U-value refers to its resistance to heat flow.


What’s inside the walls?

Many developments now have a similar inclusions list. Aesthetic materials aren’t distinguishing sites as much as they used to and buyers want to dig a little bit deeper.

If you can’t clearly articulate the materials inside the walls, or justify the reason for choosing them, your buyer will lose confidence in you and you may lose the sale.

  • Why did you choose that particular timber?
  • Is the party wall double brick?
  • Have you used hollow core doors?
  • Are there any gaps?

Buyers are now very mindful of noise travelling not just horizontally but vertically too.


Do the market conditions make this a worthwhile purchase?

Whether the buyer is interested in investing or living in, they will still want to know if the market conditions are in their favour. The site location, other local developments and reasons you chose the site in question are all relevant.

They will do their own research as well, but if you can provide them with ‘insider expert’ information, rather than simply sales history figures, you will earn more of their trust.


Know your product

This age-old adage is something you’ll hear again and again and Brett Ayles recognises its importance in property marketing.

You’re basically selling open sky, hopes and dreams, you’re selling off a piece of paper that there is no product for them to inspect. They’ve only got that information to go off and they’ll be drawing conclusions and making decisions based on Specs-A vs Specs-B, which one is better?”

Know your product and justify your decisions, or risk being caught out by an increasingly aware community of buyers.