Is Buying Off the Plan Right for You? Weighing the Risks in Queensland’s Market

buying off the plan risks | CJC Law

The Queensland property market continues to boom, with many developers offering enticing opportunities to “buy off the plan.” This approach lets you secure a new property before construction, often with a smaller initial deposit. While it sounds appealing, especially for first-time buyers, there are inherent risks to consider before signing on the dotted line.

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing Property without a Deposit

What is Buying Off the Plan?

Buying off the plan refers to purchasing a property that has not yet been built. Buyers enter into a contract to purchase the property based on the developer’s plans and designs. While this can offer a chance to secure a new property at today’s prices, it also comes with significant risks.

1) The Risk of Delays and Changes

One of the primary risks of buying off the plan is the possibility of construction delays. Developers may encounter unforeseen issues that push back the completion date. These delays can disrupt personal and financial plans, leaving buyers in a difficult position.

Additionally, changes to the original plan can occur. The finished product may differ from what was initially promised in design, size, or quality. These changes can be disappointing and may affect the property’s value.

2) Financial Risks

Buyers typically make a deposit when buying off the plan, with the balance due upon completion. If the market changes and property values decrease, buyers may find themselves paying more for a property than it is currently worth. This can be particularly problematic if the buyer needs to secure a mortgage, as lenders may be unwilling to finance the original agreed amount if the property’s value has dropped.

3) Developer Bankruptcy

Another significant risk is the possibility of the developer going bankrupt. If the developer cannot complete the project, buyers may lose their deposits and face the daunting task of trying to recover their funds. Even if the project is taken over by another developer, there can be substantial delays and changes to the original plan.

4) Lack of Transparency

Transparency issues can also pose a risk. Buyers must rely on the developer’s information and may not have a clear picture of the project’s progress or the developer’s financial health. This lack of transparency can leave buyers feeling uncertain and vulnerable.

4) Legal Risks

Legal complications can arise when buying off the plan. Contract terms can be complex, especially with the sunset clause, and buyers may not fully understand their obligations or the developer’s responsibilities. It’s essential to have legal representation to review the contract and ensure that all terms are fair and reasonable.

Also read: Buying Apartments Off The Plan: 5 Key Points You Should Know

Questions to Ask Before Buying Off the Plan

To mitigate the risks associated with buying off the plan, prospective buyers should ask several critical questions:

  • What is the developer’s track record? Investigate the developer’s history and previous projects to gauge their reliability and quality.
  • What are the terms of the contract? Ensure you understand all terms and conditions, and seek legal advice if necessary.
  • What protections are in place for my deposit? Verify how your deposit will be held and what protections exist if the developer fails to complete the project.
  • What are the timelines for completion? Obtain a realistic timeline for the project’s completion and understand the potential delays.
  • What happens if there are changes to the plan? Clarify what changes can be made to the original plan and how they will be communicated to you.


Buying off the plan requires careful consideration. While it can be an exciting prospect, do your due diligence, understand the risks involved, and seek professional advice to ensure it aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and what works for one buyer might not be the best decision for another.

Protect Your Investment with CJC Law

Are you considering buying off the plan? Don’t let the risks outweigh the rewards. At CJC Law, we specialise in providing expert legal advice to help you navigate the complexities of off-the-plan purchases. Our experienced team will review contracts, ensure your rights are protected, and offer guidance every step of the way. Contact us today for a consultation and safeguard your investment with confidence.

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