Practical tips for inspecting and buying a home
It’s a popular time for those who have decided to sell to and it’s also a popular time for buyers who’ve decided to take the plunge to buy.
Before you set out on your search, make an appointment with a mortgage broker or your bank manager to do a pre-approval so that you can approach buying with a sense of confidence knowing how much you can afford to lend on your purchase. Then, it’s a good idea to make a list of the most important things you’re looking for. There will be some things you won’t compromise on and others you might consider but this process will have you making some important decisions.
Open house inspections are a great way for you to check out a number of properties on the one day. After planning your itinerary from property web sites, your Saturday is laid out to follow.
Show respect when you arrive at inspections. Take shoes off if asked.
Be prepared to provide your name, phone number and email address to the agent. I see some buyers who are reluctant to do this but if you are serious about buying, you want to hear back from the agent. Even if the property is not quite what you’re after, they may have another property or even one coming up that suits you perfectly.
Be confident when inspecting properties, if you’d like to take photos for reference ask if it’s OK to do this.
Take notice of the furniture dimensions. Have a tape measure with you so that you can be sure about measurements where it’s important.
Pay attention to detail. Sit down in the lounge room and look around. This will give you a practical sense of living in the space.
Ask questions of the agent. How long has the property been for sale? If it’s been on the market for an extended period without a price reduction, it may be overpriced.
With units and strata titled properties, ask to receive a body corporate disclosure, a copy of the last AGM and the bi-laws. This information identifies how much the body corporate levies are, how much is in the sinking fund, details about building insurance and any issues the body corporate are, or have been dealing with in relation to the property.
You should also ask if there is anything you, as the buyer should know about this property before buying. Agents have a duty of disclosure to the buyer.
Ready to make an offer?
Make sure you have done your research on comparable recent sales of similar homes in the area. At the open home, pay attention if you see the agent handing out offer documents. This may be a sign that someone has just or is about to make an offer. Don’t make offers in round figures (e.g.: $400,000). That’s what most people do. Go to odd numbers just higher (e.g.: $401,000). You want to be the best offer but only just. Remember, there is no set number of properties to see before you make an offer. If you’ve found the one and you’re ready to make an offer, do it with confidence. Be prepared at this point to be given a contract of sale to sign. A good agent will go through the document and answer any questions you have prior to signing. If you have any doubts, have your solicitor look over the contract before signing.
So you’ve made a written offer. The agent has re-contacted you to say that the seller was pleased to receive your offer but is not prepared to sell for that amount. The agent may have been able to get the seller to counter at an amount they will accept. You’ll now need to decide whether you’ll pay the extra amount or even counter there offer with an amount somewhere in between. It’s important that prior to this you have come to a decision as to how much more you might pay before the agent calls you. Negotiating is about compromise. It’s best approached with a sense of give and take. Ultimately, don’t miss out over a relatively small issue. I’ve seen too many buyers regret their decision after going back to the market comparing everything to the property they offered on to come up disappointed. Inspecting property whether for investment or to live in can be both exciting and enlightening.
Be well prepared and take your time.
We hope to meet you at an open home soon.
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Thanks to our agent Kerry Parkes for this great article.