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May 8, 20230

The need for housing has risen in the recent years, this has been attributed to population increase and the scarcity of available land for purchase which has exposed a gap in the housing and real estate sector. Many developers have been trying to fill this gap by constructing multi-dwelling apartments which they sell as off-plan or on-plan/ ready built property.

So, what is off-plan property?


Off-plan property is property that is available for purchase before completion or construction. Unlike on-plan or ready built properties which are ready for occupation, off-plan properties have not been constructed and developers will often show you the building and architectural plans for the apartments/units and the estimated time for completion.

There are several advantages to purchasing off-plan property which mostly relate to the costs.


  1. Off-plan purchases are cheaper as most developers will offer discounts to buyers who purchase off-plan, however once construction of the apartments/units begins the price normally goes up mostly due to increased market value.
  2. With off-plan purchases, the payment plan is more flexible as the payments are staggered, enabling you to plan and make payments easily without being rushed.
  3. You are also given first pick of the apartment/ unit that suits your needs.
  4. There is also a guaranteed high return on your investment as the apartment’s value will appreciate and you can opt to rent or sell the apartment at a profit upon completion.
  5. Purchasing off-plan also gives you adequate time to conduct a thorough background check and relevant searches over the property and the developer.


The downsides to purchasing off-plan property are also present and they include: –


  1. Delays in construction, therefore pushing the completion date further than you expected.
  2. Stamp duty costs will also go up with the increased market value of your apartment/unit, which may be occasioned by long delays in construction.
  3. On the flipside, a delay in construction may also affect the value of your apartment/unit when there are decreased market values down the line.
  4. There is also the risk of the developer not completing construction of the units/ apartments due to lack or mismanagement of funds.
  5. Selling your apartment/unit to another individual before completion may be restricted by the developer, this may lock you in especially if unforeseeable personal reasons are forcing you to exit the contract early.
  6. Poor quality finishes to your apartment/unit may be a discouraging factor resulting in the “what you ordered versus what you got effect” as your completed apartment/unit may not compare to what the developer had shown you in the building/ architectural plans.
  7. Further, the developer may impose very high service costs for maintenance of the common areas and amenities offered in the development, therefore raising the total cost of the apartment/unit.


With all that being said, you can avoid the pitfalls of off-plan property purchases by carrying out proper research before committing to the purchase.

Finding out the developer’s track record for one is very crucial as it will save you from the heartache of losing your hard-earned money, also taking time to review your contract with the developer will protect your interests and prevent financial losses.

Review of such contracts may be a difficult task as you may not know what to look out for, however consulting a legal practitioner will help you navigate the process of off-plan property purchase.

Please feel free to contact MCCK Advocates LLP for any clarification, questions or advice concerning this article and any Conveyancing and Real Estate matters at

This article is issued for general information only and should not be relied upon without seeking specific subject matter legal advice.



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