Opportunities to improve 'off the plan' house and apartment buying
For buyers
  • Evaluate the credibility of the builder
  • Obtain independent legal advice on contract documents
  • Understand the rights and obligations associated with community living
  • Consider an independent building inspection
  • Know where to seek assistance.
For developers
  • Improve communication with buyers
  • Contribute to the cost of government oversight of the housing sector
  • Increase accountability in forecasting of sinking funds
  • Create better relationship between what buyers want and what is offered
  • Build better quality buildings.
For lawyers
  • Develop responsive, dynamic contracts with standardised requirements
  • Create a standard "off the plan" sales contract with the assistance of law societies
  • Propose a mechanism to certify consumer comprehension as part of the sales contracting process.
For agents
  • Be accountable for clearly articulating to buyers who you are acting on behalf of and receiving a financial benefit from
  • Establish interactive online platforms to engage customers
  • Provide sufficient information in the early stages
  • Use digital representations of buildings to give buyers an understanding of what they're considering
  • Use techniques such as choice modelling to learn consumer preferences and co-design information disclosure.
For policy makers and regulators
  • Establish government oversight or ombudsman service for the housing sector
  • Consider data integration and streamlining of processes
  • Implement effective government intervention to ensure that bodies corporate and lot owners are receiving the necessary information
  • Integrate financial and contract literacy within school curriculum
  • Develop online training on community living
  • Understand buyers' journeys and integrate consumer behavioural insights into policy reviews and reforms
  • Guide consumers to get certification from lawyers
  • Impose penalties or a greater degree of positive obligations through law reform
  • Strengthen the "unfair contract" provisions in Australian Consumer Law.
Source: Author provided
Images: Wes Mountain/The Conversation CC-BY-ND