Important information for buyers

Our homes are often the biggest investment we’ll ever make and our only asset, so making an informed purchase decision is vital.

1. Get your loan approval first

Confirm how much you can borrow before you go looking to buy your home. You should also budget for additional ongoing expenses, such as rates, insurance, repairs, etc.

2. Do your homework – create a checklist of your requirements

If you’ve selected a specific suburb to live in, be willing to view a range of different house styles within your price range. Your checklist needs to differentiate between essential features and those that are ‘nice to have if you can afford it’. If you need to choose a different suburb, evaluate your requirements for shopping, transport, schools, etc.

3. Work out your budget in advance

If you do this you’ll know what price range of houses you’re looking for. Be realistic. If interest rates were to increase by even two per cent, would you still be able to afford the repayments without potentially reneging on your mortgage payments? Research the range of fixed-term interest rates available at various banks.

4. Source the necessary documentation about a house before you purchase

Make sure you view a LIM (Land Information Memorandum) before you purchase. A LIM report is available from your local council for a fee.

5. Ask your salesperson if there are any known issues with the property

Your salesperson is obliged to pass on any issues or defects they are aware of relating to the property they are showing you, to avoid misrepresenting the true state of a property. This particularly applies to advising buyers if a particular type of building and era of construction may make it prone to developing weather tightness issues.

6. Seriously consider getting a building inspection

Overlooking potential future problems can be an issue, particularly for first-time buyers who are not familiar with building construction. It is a good idea to get a comprehensive building inspection which includes moisture readings completed by a registered and qualified tradesperson, especially if you have doubts about any structural elements.

7. Check the annual fees before purchasing a multi-unit dwelling

If you buy a multi-unit/apartment you’ll become a body corporate member and responsible for paying an annual body corporate levy to cover building maintenance and repairs. You will also need to source a pre-contract disclosure, pre-settlement disclosure and an additional disclosure from the seller.

8. Keep a cool head

Often home buyers pressure themselves into buying something they don’t like and which doesn’t meet their checklist requirements, because they feel that they have looked for too long or that someone else may also be ready to purchase that same house.

Buying a home is an important financial decision. If a property doesn’t meet your basic requirements then think very carefully before you buy it, particularly if you couldn’t service the additional loan to add an extra room. Don’t overstretch yourself financially.

9. Ask for help

Home buyers often try to go it alone and don’t ask real estate agents for advice. We have the depth of experience and local knowledge to help you find what you’re looking for. Ask us the right questions to get as much information as you need to buy a home. Think about what you need to know in advance, so that you’re well prepared.

10. Imagine the house with your furniture and possessions

Don’t get too carried away if a house has been stylishly home staged with expensive furniture and art. You need to envisage how your furnishings will look in their place and assess if the home’s overall layout will meet your requirements.

11. Familiarise yourself with the auction process in advance

Don’t avoid homes that are for auction just because you are unfamiliar with the process.
Ask us to explain the auction system to you. Gain experience by attending a few auctions just as an observer. When you decide to attend an auction to bid for a house, then ask your salesperson to assist you.

12. There is more than one right home for you

Don’t become too attached to your supposed dream home, particularly if you’re buying at auction. You run the risk of feeling devastated if it’s sold to someone with more money. Be realistic and cool-headed. Your offer may not be accepted or someone else may bid higher than you at an auction.

13. First-home buyers:

If you find that you are consistently missing out at auctions, maybe you need to be willing to consider outer suburbs with lower-priced houses and view your first house purchase as a stepping stone to your ideal home.