When looking for high quality vacation rentals, or a permanent home in an exotic location, pre-construction is often the way to go. What is pre-construction? Well, it means a home or condo that is still in the planning stages, but hasn't yet been built. The buyer purchases the home from the developer or builder-owner.
But how do you decide what to buy if it doesn't exist yet? Easy! The builder will have detailed blueprints for you to look over, as well as, usually, a model of the building. This gives potential buyers a pretty good idea of what they are getting into. There may even be already built structures that are very similar to the one you are considering. This will give you an idea of the builders quality. But even if you can't see an actual building, buying pre-construction is quite reliable as long as the builder is. Do a bit of research to find out what they have done in the past. If possible, talk to an owner of something else they have built to asses their level of satisfaction. If that isn't possible, a qualified agent will usually be quite familiar with local builders.
A qualified agent can also help you sort out the legal details. For one, be sure to get written and signed documentation stating when the structure will be completed, and what exactly will be included. Find out if there is a home warranty, and what exactly it includes. Be sure there is an "out" for you if the construction is greatly delayed or if the finished product isn't what you understood it to be.
One of the great things about pre-construction is the price. Because they haven't yet realized their full potential, pre-construction real estate is often priced quite a bit lower than what it will be in the future. You, as a buyer, know that the property can only go up in value. After all, the home built will be brand new. As long as plenty of research has been done into the location, the builder, and the type of home, ensuring that it is an emerging market and not a declining one, you can't go wrong with pre-construction.