New Homes ‘Need to Know’: Buying Off-Plan


One of the more confusing aspects of buying a new home for first-time buyers can oftentimes be to understand how the process differs when buying an existing, already-built home rather than buying one ‘off-plan’.


As with all new things, this can create a sense of fear as so much feels intangible when working from plans and spec documents, but we are here today to explain exactly what is involved and answer any questions that you might have; if fact, we may even answer a few questions that you hadn’t yet thought of!


Firstly, let’s start off by saying that buying off-plan is something would-be purchasers in Dublin and many parts of Ireland will need to get used to as the persistent shortage of housing in urban areas means that that majority of homes coming to the market over the next few years are likely to be new-builds. And, of course, these newly-built homes are most likely to be offered for sale before they are built i.e. off-plan.


So, accepting that purchasing off-plan is set to become the new norm for home buyers, here is an overview of what you can expect throughout the buying process:


Great expectations


Unless you are an engineer or have some training in the property industry, the drawings can be intimidating and the glossy CGI images can seem almost too good to be true. Rest assured, CGI images today are fantastically realistic and the finished version of your home, and of the development, will be identical to those rendered.


Check the spec

Do not make any assumptions here, read the spec documentation in detail and be sure to ask us if you are at all unclear about what finish will be delivered throughout your new home. At Victoria Homes, we always specify exactly what fittings and fixtures are provided as standard and what are available as optional ‘extras’.


Get your bearings


The most important thing to identify on the drawings and images is the orientation and aspect of your chosen home. Again, do not make assumptions, certainly ask the question ‘what will this window overlook?’. Also, it is important to know the aspect of the garden. Traditionally a south-facing garden was considered to be a non-negotiable must-have (with a premium price attached), but with great design and a creative approach, many developments today address this.


Swings and roundabouts


No, we are not referring to a playground – although that is certainly something to look out for on the plans – we are talking about the inevitable trade-offs and choices that you will be faced with.  For example, depending upon the layout of the development, you might get to choose between a larger back garden with a smaller front garden/parking area, and vice versa.


Green fields are unlikely to stay green indefinitely


Finally, do not assume that whatever your new home is overlooking upon completion is permanent – this is something that is likely outside of the control of the homebuilders and, while we can speculate on future uses, it is up to the State planners within the local authorities to determine what future development gets the go-ahead in each area.  One helpful tip here is to keep an eye on planning applications on your local authority’s website.

To discuss this and other housing matters in Dublin, please contact me directly on +353 (0) 87 937 0896,  or check out all of our current developments at