Buying off the Plans

The advantages, pitfalls and the Kawarau Falls case

If you live in one of New Zealand’s cities, it’s likely that you’ve noticed a multitude of brand-new apartments, terraces, and town houses popping up in your area. You may have decided that you too, want to secure one of these brand-new properties as an investment or as a home. What do you need to know before taking the plunge?

Many people choose to buy these kinds of properties ‘off the plans.’ Developers make building plans and specifications available to prospective purchasers and sell the properties ahead of construction as a method of convincing the bank to fund their project.

To secure one or more of these properties for yourself, you would need to enter into an agreement where you agree to pay a deposit (usually 5%–10 % of the developer’s asking price for the property) and then pay the balance on completion.

Before entering into any agreement with a developer, you should be aware of the advantages, and pitfalls, of buying off the plans. We have set out some below, but they are by no means exhaustive.

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Major Revamp of Consumer Law

SaleIn December last year the Consumer Law Reform Bill passed into law. The legislation incorporates the most significant developments into New Zealand consumer law in more than 20 years. This article looks at how businesses will need to comply with the changes.

The new laws will strengthen consumers’ rights, simplify business compliance and ensure consumer protections are clear and accessible. The changes are also designed to achieve alignment with Australian consumer law by amending several consumer related acts, the Fair Trading Act 1986 (FTA) and the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (CGA). Other changes reflect advances in modern business practices and technology, such as internet and credit card transactions, online auctions, increased selling of extended warranties and sales campaigns conducted via social media, telephone and text.

How long to comply?

Most of the changes don’t come into effect until 18 June 2014 so your business will have time to change contracts and trading practices in order to comply with the legislative changes. The key changes which you will need to consider are summarised under three key dates.
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