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Things to do when looking to buy a house

Pre Purchase Tips

At Besafe Property Inspections we always go out of our way to add value to our clients. Enjoy this FREE guide packed with helpful hints and tips before you make one of the most important investments of your life – buying your first new home !

We know just how demanding and stressful it can be to find and move into your dream home. We want to make this process as seamless as possible, while saving you thousands of dollars! With our invaluable insight, your new property will become that valuable asset, warm and welcoming home that you always dreamed of!

Know how much you can borrow-pre purchase

Knowing how much you can realistically borrow will provide you with a good base as to your house price range. Even though real estate agents do not always give an accurate price indication, especially for houses that are for auction, the more you research, the more easily you will be able to figure out whether a house is in your price range or not. Knowing this limit will keep you focused on the type of house/unit and the area, where you can afford to buy.

Hints : In many suburbs, there are houses or units in most price ranges, you may just have to look a little harder!

Create a house wish list

Write down the ‘must have’ features your new home needs to have and a separate list of the ‘nice to have’ features.

The ‘must haves’ are usually the things you can’t change or you need now such as – number of bedrooms, double brick, north facing, level (no stairs), locality (close to shops, trains & other amenities).

The ‘nice to haves’ are the little luxuries that make you happy such as a double car garage, space for the boat, or a built in BBQ. These ‘nice to haves’ shouldn’t be deal breakers if the property doesn’t have them.

Once you have found a property you are excited about, check against your ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ list. You may get excited and emotional about a beautiful house that does not meet any of your ‘must have’ requirements. Using this list will help realign your thinking as to whether this house is the ideal one for you and your family – it helps to take the emotion out of the equation! So, if the property ticks all the boxes in the ‘must haves’ column and some of the ‘nice to haves’ column, then go for it!

Do your homework

There is no quick and easy way to buy real estate – you have to do your online research, hit the pavement and put in the time and effort. Looking at the beautiful photos on the real estate website does not give you a proper perspective of each property. You will be amazed at the difference between what you see in the advertised photographs and what the actual property is. Being there in person also gives you a feel for the neighbourhood, the market (i.e. who and how many people are looking at similar properties) and a fair idea of house prices in your area. This is all valuable information to enable you to make confident, educated offers on properties.

Get your solicitor or conveyancer to check out the contract

When you scan a house contract, your eyes will glaze over the pages and the big words, but it is a legally binding document and needs to be checked by a qualified professional. It contains information such as the owner of the house, the zoning by council, any easements or restrictions on the property, and a sewer diagram to show if any sewer main crosses the property. It will also show any other matters affecting the title of the property.

HINT – Remember, the real estate agent is working for the vendor. Your solicitor or conveyancer is on your side, so their advice and experience is invaluable!

Get a building and pest inspection done – pre purchase

A building and pest inspection of the property will inform you on the structure of the house and if any pests such as termites or white ants are affecting the integrity of the building. Ensure that the building and pest inspectors you hire are qualified and experienced in house inspections. Some defects are more serious than other defects and your building inspector will be able to advise the cost to repair or rectify the problem. This will enable you to factor this in with your purchase price. It is also a good bargaining tool when negotiating with the real estate agent.

HINT – Don’t be put off when you read the report. Building inspections are meant to tell you everything that is defective with the property so you can make an educated decision to buy or not.

Do a Council check

Checking with council can reveal :

  • if any apartments or major construction are to be developed next-door
  • if a major road is planned to pass through your backyard
  • if they are rezoning the street

All these factors will affect the type of dwelling that can be built near you. Read the council meeting minutes to see what the general consensus is in the local area – does it have a close knit and harmonious community?

Network with the real estate agents in the area

This doesn’t mean you have to invite them over for a dinner or a BBQ, but let them know what kind of property you are in the market to buy and how soon you can move. Time is of the essence when buying property, especially in a heated market – so the quicker you know about a property before the rest of the buyers do, the sooner you can act after all the quality checks and secure it.

Real estate agents also have a lot of local knowledge, so try to pick their brains as to what ‘s happening in the market – any movements or changes that might be occurring.

Visit the property at odd times of the day

The open inspection is always set at the optimum time to show a property off – when it is at its brightest and best – not when the property is noisy, dark or shaded. Visiting the property at odd times of the day can reveal a different picture – is the street used as a rat run during peak hour, is the noise from the major road or aircraft deafening, or is it a party friendly neighbourhood?

HINT – Another good time to visit the house is when it’s raining (this may not always be possible!) to check if there are any drainage, gutter or mould problems.

Access to amenities

Decide on the amenities that you need on a daily or frequent basis, such as schools (both primary and high), transports, hospitals, doctors and supermarkets. Check that your new property has access to the amenities you need, as this will make living in the area easier, save time and add value to your property in future.

Become an expert at auctions

Love them or hate them, most properties these days go to auction! The skill of bidding at auctions is to remain focused and unemotional – a tough call when you have already mentally moved into the property and the real estate agent and your partner want you to buy the property. Try to attend several auctions, as each one will be very different from the next and will give you insightful information on what to do when different scenarios occur. It is amazing what you can see happening when you are not involved in the bidding and emotional with the purchase. If you are still not confident to bid at an auction, enlist the help of a friend or hire a professional to do it on your behalf.

We hope these essential tips have been helpful. From the team at Besafe Property Inspections, we wish you all the very best in your search for a new home. If we can be of any assistance at all, whether it is a quick question about a house or you require a building and pest inspection, please feel free to contact us on (02) 94103740 or 0404555335

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