Try to go to open homes as soon as you can. That way, if you're really keen on a place, you've got time to see it again. Plus, you've got more time to do your research (‘due diligence’), such as reading all the necessary reports, conducting inspections, arranging your finance and getting the legal paperwork sorted.
When you've been through 10 open homes, it can be hard to remember which one had the breakfast bar and which one had the ensuite. Salespeople normally have a range of materials available for you take away from an open home or be sent through email. Remember to take a pen so you can make your own notes about the property.
Don’t be afraid to ring an agent for a private viewing. Even if the property has an open home advertised, you can sometimes visit a property privately. This is a good idea as you’ll most likely have the agent’s undivided attention and you might be able to use the opportunity to put in an offer before anyone else.
They may be able to share information about the property and the surrounding area that the real estate agent doesn’t have.
Ask questions about anything you want to know about the property you are looking at. Real estate agents have an obligation to answer any question asked truthfully or to the best of their knowledge. Good questions to ask are: How long has it been on the market? What have nearby properties sold for recently? Was it owner occupied or rented out? Are all alterations permitted and certified? What schools is it zoned for? Are there any issues with property maintenance or damage that the agent knows about? (Such as collapsed drains or leaking). Have there been any alterations? Which chattels will remain? Where are the property boundaries? What is the current council valuation and rates? Are they aware of any zoning restrictions? Are there any covenants or restrictions registered on the title?
Getting good legal advice is very important when buying a property. Ideally you should get a lawyer on board when you’ve found a house you like. Your lawyer will be able to advise you before you sign anything. They can provide advice on the negotiation process and the sale and purchase agreement, and check the relevant paperwork, like the LIM and Certificate of Title. Typically, the buying and selling process is referred to as conveyancing, and there are some lawyers who specialise in this area.
When you have found the home, you love, there are a lot of different checks you can get to make sure the house won’t fall apart. The best inspection you could get for a property is a builder’s report. Although they do cost you a few hundred to get done, they could also save you thousand’s in the long run. Another good report to get is a LIM report, like the builder’s report it does cost you money up front, but if you are talking about the house you love – Potentially the most expensive asset you will own, it would be silly to not get these done.
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