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Old 31.03.2021, 12:34
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Buying off plan

Hello

I posted on here a few weeks ago about struggling to find somewhere to buy and you all gave some great advice - so much so we have reserved a house on a new construction and even had first choice from the four being built. It has all moved so very fast - within 24 hours we had seen plans, visited plot and paid the reservation fee to the notary. I was just wondering, from further looking at the plans I do wonder if we can change some things - namely the staircase, lose a bathroom etc. I know we will need to meet with the architect to discuss and ask questions and maybe some of the changes we want won’t be able to happen. I just wondered if anyone on here any experience in modifying the plans for an off plan purchase and how much additional architect fees you had to pay for modifications? Was it worth it?
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Old 31.03.2021, 12:59
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Re: Buying off plan

We did.
We changed some windows (type and position) and added a wall to make a separate kitchen.
We also removed a wall and door and opened up what would have been a ground floor bedroom to make the living area bigger.

I don’t remember the extra architect costs being very much and the whole build came in within budget.
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Old 31.03.2021, 13:08
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Re: Buying off plan

Depends very much on the project. We bought "sur plan" and had a huge amount of flexibility in terms of being able to move internal walls, add a second bathroom, skylights, etc., and we had pretty much unlimited flexibility in terms of materials for flooring, kitchen, tiles. Friends who purchased down the road from us in a larger project were much more restricted: no ability to move internal walls, only a choice of four different tiles for outfitting the kitchen, etc. Theirs was part of a big project and I think the developers kept their costs down (and maximized their own profit) by making every unit identical in terms of floor plan and only offering a restricted selection of flooring and tiling.

My number one piece of advice: if you are able to modify the plans don't compromise on anything. This is your home, and it should meet your needs/desires. We had to push the architects for a few modifications that they weren't too keen on mostly because they seemed allergic to doing anything that would require an effort on their part, but we persevered and got what we wanted in the end.

My number two piece of advice: you can never have too many electrical sockets.

Last edited by Bossa Nova; 31.03.2021 at 14:18.
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Old 31.03.2021, 13:54
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Re: Buying off plan

Been there, done that.

You can normally change anything within the building, including walls if not load-bearing. And not heating (which will be warm pump). BUT it will cost! We spent 20% over the initial budget getting things the way we wanted them.

Things may be moving quickly now, but expect up to 2 years for the project to be finished - and then any garden will still need completing...
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Old 31.03.2021, 14:17
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Re: Buying off plan

- do not forget to discuss ALL the costs in advance. And I mean ALL.
- Swiss have a habit that you discuss something, and that it is taken for arranged. So it is imperative to define this during the talks with builders, is it something to be done or you are just thinking about it.
- Ask for a "Protokoll" after every meeting
- can you get it defined in your contract (the ability to change the plans....)

Basically you can get everything changed as long as it doesn't interfere with "baubewilligung", but it is mostly about the size and position of the house, facade (windows), etc but it is always a question price.
Often the inflated prices for changes are a business model of many building companies, you know, like water bottles in restaurants
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Old 31.03.2021, 14:29
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Re: Buying off plan

i bought too late to make changes but if i could have ... like Bossa Nova says you cant have enough plugs. have them at least in every corner of your living room so you can move the furniture about and not worry about cables. and get one on both ends of your kitchen island.

also, the original design will probably include the cheapest type of parkett floor. definitely upgrade. the cheap stuff scratches easily.
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Old 31.03.2021, 14:29
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Re: Buying off plan

yes, done it twice.

Start early with the structural changes. If you start too late, then there will be limits due to the plumbing, load bearing walls etc, being finalized already.

For our second place, I paid the reservation fee to grab the place quickly, but told myself that if they can't re-design the layout the way I wanted it, I would cancel and try to get the fee back. That gave us about 2 months before the appointment at the notariat for the proper signing of the final documents and getting all the financing in place. The little details like choice of tiles, flooring, bathroom fixtures can be done later and they will give you the necessary deadlines.

The contracted suppliers had very good variety of stuff so we did not have to go elsewhere. We moved the whole staircase from a U-shape in the middle of the property to a straight one on the side. Moved some walls, turned a cellar into a proper room by adding heating and proper walls and floor, moved the bathrooms, got more secure windows, turned the pantry into a washing room, etc.

In case you decide to go to another supplier eg., Kitchen, do make sure that the contract allows you to. In our first property, we only got 85% of the budget back, and if our own guys mess up something while installing whatever (like scratching your wooden flooor), it will be our problem.


The biggest expense will usually be the kitchen (because they never budget enough for it), bathrooms and electricals (yes, someone mentioned sockets. And spot lamps are crazy expensive). Moving walls which were anyway there will be free but there will be some architect fees. So I would say you will spend at least 50k on the extras, and this can go pass 100k. The architect fees will be around 10% of that.
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Old 02.04.2021, 11:12
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Re: Buying off plan

Thanks everyone for the advice!!
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