The project & tips
Buying an apartment in a residential complex off-plan
If you decide to buy an apartment in a residential complex off-plan or under construction, you avoid the hassles of construction.
You sign a deed of sale of property off-plan which provides that the total price is paid in instalments, based on the progress of works. This type of contract is governed by the laws of Luxembourg.
The promoter is required to offer you a completion guarantee, which will be annexed to the notarial deed of sale and registered with him. Through this guarantee, a bank undertakes to pay the sums necessary for the full completion of the construction in accordance with the terms of the contact, should the seller not fulfil his completion obligation. The bank may replace this completion guarantee by a repayment guarantee. In that case, it undertakes to repay the buyer the instalments paid by the latter.
Besides the deed of sale, you also sign the co-ownership deed, which specifies the common areas. The Co-ownership rules define the rules for joint living conditions among the co-owners.
When you receive your new accommodation, a delivery report mentioning any shortcomings and defects is drawn up. By countersigning this report, the builder undertakes to carry out the necessary works at the earliest. The ten-year guarantee given by the builder covers the building against latent defects for a period of 10 years as from the delivery of the apartment.
Buying an existing house or apartment
Before you buy a house or an apartment, a thorough visit can avoid unpleasant surprises later. The opinion of a building expert can also be useful to estimate the value of the building, detect latent defects (cracks, humidity) and estimate the costs of repairs to be carried out.
When you have found a suitable house or apartment, you can sign a pre-contract. If the buyer finances the purchase of the property through a loan, it is usual practice to add to the pre-contract a suspensive clause providing for the outright cancellation of the pre-contract if the necessary funds are not obtained from the bank.
Some renovation or transformation works may be vital. In that is the case, do not forget to apply for the necessary permits at the local Authority.
Choosing a suitable land for construction
Before purchasing a land, first check for the following:
- Is it really a building land, with an authorisation to build issued by the Administration des Ponts et Chaussées (Ministry of Public Works) which is necessary for alignment of the house. You need a building permit, issued on the basis of the architectural plan by the Local Authority.
- Are the basic connections such as sewer, water, electricity, telephone and gas (if applicable) available?
- Does the land include hidden easements, such as a passage, spring, municipality pipeline?
The Local Authority, the Land Registry, your notary and your architect can give you the answers to these questions.
Building a detached house
You are the owner of a land and you wish to build a detached house?
If you wish to personally handle the various phases of the project, customised construction provides you with a wide range of possible interventions. Your architect designs a pre-project taking into account your tastes as well as your financial capacity. He also prepares a detailed description giving precise specifications on interior and exterior finishes, installations and materials to be used. Once the final project is agreed, the architect gives you a detailed plan and plans the various construction phases.
It is your responsibility to launch calls for tender for the different categories of tradesmen, to assess their proposals and to choose the companies to undertake your project. Your architect can help you find the most competitive and the most competent construction company, with references that can be verified.
In order to relieve you of the responsibility and the conduct of the works, you can choose the option “turnkey house”. The construction company coordinates and supervises the works, and guarantees that deadlines and the quality of services are met. Along with the builder, you sign a purchase contract or a construction contract along with a specifications document describing the works to be undertaken.
If the cost of your house is to be paid in instalments, you have the right to request a bank’s financial guarantee from your builder. Through this guarantee, the bank undertakes to pay the sums necessary for the full completion of the construction, should the seller not fulfil his completion obligation.
On the day of handover of the keys, you sign with the builder a report of delivery of the house, which records the end of works and their compliance with the description. A ten-year guarantee covering the entire works against latent defects over a period of 10 years is given to you by the builder. It starts on the date of delivery of the house and must be mentioned in writing in the report of delivery.
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