Sisters Fliss and Kim were grappling with the London Property market, trying to find their next purchase. They had been unsuccessfully searching in Hackney for a three bedroom flat with outside space for some time, but all the market had to offer at the time was tiny, badly laid-out flats.
In January 2016, they spotted the beautiful images of a newly renovated project listed with a local estate agent. But, when they called to enquire about a viewing, they were told the images they had seen were CGI and the flat was practically still a building site! They were told that flat was part of a development and was available to purchase off-plan.
Buying a house or flat off-plan means buying it before it's been completely built or renovated.
Fliss and Kim decided to view the property mid-renovation to make a decision. Although the place was a mess - they loved the proposals. Not being in a strong position to make an offer immediately, they waited a little while to arrange finance and after having to fight off some competition a couple of months later, they had their offer accepted.
Talking about their experience, they told me that it wasn't all smooth sailing though - some miscommunication meant that a wall in a bedroom had to be re-built, and they had to negotiate constantly to fight for the high end tiling and lighting finishes promised by the developer – who proposed to change some finishes mid-project. But finally, eight months after first seeing the property, the sale went through, and they moved into their new home in October 2016.
The Pros and Cons of buying off-plan
- Your new home could be worth more than what you paid for it by the time it's completed and you move in
- You could get a discount of up to 5% on off-plan new-builds - and secure a great plot
- Design involvement – you may be able to personalise your new home with fixtures and fittings and have the opportunity to make adjustments to the plans.
- You'll get to experience the entire process come together from scratch without having to be hands-on
- A degree of bespoke elements
- You'll have to pay a deposit upfront to secure the property
- Not seeing upfront what it is you are buying
- Most lenders don't offer mortgages designed specifically for off-plan properties, so you'll have to do your research and find a suitable lender
- Most mortgage agreements are valid for six months, so if your purchase isn't wrapped up in that time frame, you may have to re-apply for your mortgage
- If the property price changes dramatically during the works or build, then the size of the mortgage could change, and this could put your deposit at risk
- If you can't complete the developer could take legal action, so check any contracts or agreements carefully
- Negotiating on final details and finishes and maintaining what was promised in the original plans
On entering, it has all the modern features that I love, lots of light, clean lines, wood floors and plenty of sleek storage, and a huge picture window adds instant impact. The flat is laid out over the ground and first floors, with the living space on the upper floor and the three bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs, with access to the garden from both levels. A huge bonus is the garden room with WC, which was included in the developer's plans.
Fliss and Kim work in film and advertising and clearly, and both have a creative eye, they've worked together to furnish and style the flat themselves – they are still searching for a few pieces, but overall it would make any stylist proud.
Despite a few issues, Fliss and Kim are now happy and settled in their new home. They persevered, showing that if you can hold your nerve and work with a developer, you can end up with a modern and stylish home with a high-end finish.
Want to steal their style?
Fliss and Kim's flat is a great example of how a modern base can be layered with Scandi style and a hint of glam. I've put together the moodboard below with some of the key pieces to achieve their style.
1. Agent's Photo.
All others by tashsouth.com