BUYER TIPS AND INFORMATION
- Preparing a budget:
- When purchasing property, it is important to know how much you can afford to spend. A great way to understand your current financial position is to record your spending – down to the smallest detail, for example a coffee - over a three month period. This will give you a good indication of how realistic your budget may be, as well as areas where you may be able to cut back.
Be honest with your budget allowing for hidden expenses, such as: medical bills, vehicle running costs, groceries, utilities and social outings etc. Ensure that you seek financial advice on how much you can really afford, and remember, purchasing property may be one of the biggest investments you make during your lifetime.
- Saving a deposit:
- It is always a good time to start a regular savings plan.
Stick to your budget as the more you save now the more you will save on interest later.
Most financial lenders will require a minimum percentage as a deposit. Make sure you shop around for your financial lender as they all differ from fees to interest rates and may have different packages which may suit your personal needs.
Remember to ask as many questions as you need to ensure that you are comfortable with your provider.
- Deciding what you are looking for:
- Before you start looking for property, it is a good idea to compile a list of what features and local infrastructure – compulsory and bonus – you require in a property and its suburb. For example, if you are starting a family, you may require a certain number of bedrooms; off-street car parking and a local school close by, whereas a swimming pool for the children may be a bonus.
Things to consider:
- How many bedrooms does the property have?
- Is it close to public transport, schools, shopping centres etc.
- What are the council rates on the property?
- What type of property are you looking for – a unit, townhouse, apartment, existing house, vacant land, or new home?
Rate the features you need in your life and compare with other properties and suburbs.
- Do your homework.
- Look at recent sales in the area and what they sold for.
- Compare values with other properties in the area.
- Find out if there is a shopping centre, beach, schools and other facilities nearby as this can affect the price of a property.
- Check with the local council to see if there are any new developments starting in the area.
- Investigate whether you are eligible for government grants. Visit your local government website to find out more.
- Choosing a property loan:
- When deciding on a property loan it is important to look around to get the most competitive offer. As a property loan is a debt you may have for many years, and often includes exit fees, be sure to thoroughly investigate all your options.
- Know your costs:
- You will often hear people complaining of the “hidden costs” associated with buying property. This can be avoided simply by doing your homework.
- Investigate how much Stamp Duty you will be required to pay on the purchase price of your property. This varies according to state.
- Selling Agent require $500 to $1000 initial deposit when you put in your offer on any property in Victoria PLUS the balance of 5 to 10% of the full purchase price may be required upon acceptance or when bought at auction or when finance approved. (Refer to Contract Requirements)
- Other costs you might incur includes a professional onsite valuation, legal or conveyancing costs, bank mortgage fees, home and contents insurance, moving and utility connection fees, body corporate fees (if any), council rates and any ongoing maintenance.
- Consult your financial advisor about potential extra costs you may incur when purchasing your property.
- Safety tips for property inspections:
- To ensure you are always protected during a property inspection we suggest following these useful tips.
Find out who you are dealing with - ask for a name and contact phone number.
- Ring the number to check if it is legitimate
- Before you buy, check the property is still listed on www.homesales.com.au (if we suspect an advertisement we will suspend or withdraw it from display)
- NEVER pay any money direct to a seller. All money transfers must be dealt with through your Solicitor or Conveyancer
Before you attend a property inspection:
- Ensure you have a friend or family member attend the property with you,
- If you are unable to have someone attend with you, let a friend or family member know you are attending a property inspection and that you will call them once the inspection has concluded,
- Give friends or family the name, contact number and any personal details you have received from the seller
- Buying at an auction:
- If the property you’re looking to purchase is going to be sold at Auction, it is a good idea to attend a few prior to bidding, to understand how they work.
The terms of an Auction usually state that once your bid is accepted it is unconditional and will have no special terms; for example: “subject to finance”.
A copy of the Auction Terms and Conditions can be received from the Auctioneer or real estate agent.
Before the day of the auction make sure you inspect the property, arrange your finances and have the deposit funds available if your bid is accepted.
Complete all necessary checks, such as: building and pest inspections, title searches, property valuation, and your own research. Also, make sure the property is within your budget; set a price and stick with it.
Ask the Auctioneer how much is required for the deposit on the day (5 to 10% usually) and what method of payment is accepted (cheque, bank cheque, EFT, or deposit bond).
It is also important to ask the auctioneer what the settlement terms are and if there are any special clauses in the contract. We recommend you seek legal advice before going ahead with a purchase at auction.
In some states, seller (vendor) bids are acceptable up to the seller’s reserve price. Once the seller bids to the reserve price the property will then be declared on the market. Vendor bids must be announced by the Auctioneer prior to the auction commencing. It is illegal for Auctioneers to be involved in dummy or false bids once the property is on the market.
To learn more about property auctions visit your state Real Estate Institute website or contact your solicitor.
- Negotiating a property:
- At Homesales.com.au we generally give buyers the ability to take control of their property purchase and negotiate their sale price direct with the seller unless they have appointed an agent to act on their behalf.
When negotiating with sellers be prepared to ask any questions you may have about the property.
Why they are selling?
Ask the seller why they are selling their property.
You may want to know if they are upgrading to a bigger home, or moving interstate, or downsizing because their children have moved out. This information out will help give you piece of mind as to why a seller is selling.
Sellers Asking Price
A seller will usually have determined their sale price, prior to listing, based on a number of factors.
- They may have had a property valuation.
- They may know of other similar properties which have sold in the area.
- Or, they may just want a particular price for a property based on their financial situation.
Ensure you have researched the property and suburb to determine whether the price the seller is asking for is realistic.
Deciding on your purchase price
Factors such as a detailed Property Valuation, research on similar properties and your financial situation will determine how much you are willing to spend on a property. When negotiating with the seller always bare in mind your absolute maximum price so that you do not negotiate above this.
Competition and buyer interest can play a small part in negotiating the sale price of the property. Find out from the seller if there are a number of interested buyers, or if they have received any offers. Don’t be afraid to ask what price and settlement terms they are offering.
Prior to negotiating an offer, make a decision on what settlement period you require. A seller may already have an idea of what settlement period they would like, however, it is still appropriate to suggest your preferred length of time. As a general rule, settlement ranges from 30, 60 or 90 days .
Putting in an offer
When submitting an offer to a seller you will need to provide your legal advisers contact details. Both legal advisers will work together to arrange the required legal documentation, primarily: the Contract of Sale. Your offer is only verbal until the Contract of Sale is signed and exchanged with the seller's signed Contract of Sale.
Don’t rush in
If a seller is asking for a price which is out of your range, don’t panic and put forward an offer which you will not be able to afford. Put in your best offer and if the seller does not accept, inform them that you will come back to them shortly to see whether they have changed their mind.
A seller can sometimes reconsider a price once they have had some time to think about it.
- Solicitor or Conveyancer:
- Your legal adviser should review the Contract of Sale before you sign anything. Your legal adviser can also review the disclosure document, finance contracts, title searches, mortgage documentation, assist in any negotiations with fixing any issues pre-settlement, handle the deposit and final payment on settlement day, deal with any legal enquiries/documentation from the sellers legal advisers and transfer the property title to you on settlement day.
- Building & Pest inspections:
- It is recommended that prior to purchasing a property you contact a licensed professional for a building and pest inspection. If you sign the contract prior to obtaining a building and pest inspection, make sure that you sign the contracts “subject to building and pest inspection approval”. This will cover you if you are not satisfied with your findings. Make sure that your inspector is a licensed professional and provides you with a detailed report.
- Contract of sale:
- The Contract of Sale is the key document which commits you to the purchase of a property. During negotiations you may be asked by a seller or an agent to sign a contract to formalise your offer. Before signing anything make sure you have your legal adviser, look over it to make sure it is what you agreed to.
Each state has legislation governing documentation/information which vendors must provide at or prior to execution of the Contract of Sale. Your legal adviser will ensure that all such statutory requirements are met. For example, in Victoria a Vendor Statement would be supplied.
A Vendor Statement is a legally required document about the financial, legal and planning details of a property. These documents are prepared by the sellers solicitor or conveyancer.
The Vendor Statement includes things like:
- Information about planning, developments or restrictions
- A copy of the title showing existing easements or covenants and boundary measurements of the land
- Details of any mortgage over the property
- Details of any outgoings such as any rates, body corporate fees, or any other charges that may apply
- Building restrictions and copies of any permits issued for work carried out
The seller and buyer must sign the Vendor's Statement before the contract is signed. Your Solicitor will assist you with this.
If the property is being sold at auction, a copy of the Vendor's Statement and the contract of sale must be available for inspection before the auction.
If the Vendor Statement contains incorrect or insufficient information, as a buyer you should discuss this with their Solicitor/conveyancer.
Deposit bond defined: (Note: Many Agents will not accept deposit bonds)
A deposit bond is basically an insurance policy on the property.
The deposit bond is the policy document that tells the seller that the insurance company will pay the 10 per cent deposit to the seller in any of the circumstances where the deposit would ordinarily be forfeited by the seller.
No money actually changes hands under the deposit bond. Instead, all purchase funds are paid at settlement. In the ordinary course of events, settlement takes place, the purchase price is paid in full, and the deposit bond simply lapses.
Cooling off period
Standard sales contracts for residential property may have a cooling off period which will differ from state to state. If a cooling off period applies to your contract this will mean that if you change your mind on a property you can cancel the contract and recover your deposit but you should check this with your legal adviser.
If you are considering cooling off from a property sale, you must contact your legal adviser as soon as possible as cooling off periods are very short. Your legal adviser will co-ordinate this for you.
- Home Insurance:
- It is recommended that once you have signed a contract for a property you take out building insurance in case something happens to the property prior to settlement. Most financial lenders which have a mortgage over a property will require you to take out building insurance during the life of that loan.
- Getting ready to move in:
- You’re almost there!
Before moving into your property, ensure your electricity, gas, water, phone, internet and cable TV is connected and that your mail is re-directed. If friends and family can’t help you move, arrange for a removalist to assist.
- Pre-settlement inspection:
- Prior to settlement, it is recommended that you attend a final property inspection to ensure the property is in the same condition as first inspected.
The Contract of Sale outlines that the seller has an obligation to hand over the property in the same condition as it was when it was sold. If this is not the case contact your solicitor.
- Settlement day:
- On settlement day the balance of the purchase price must be paid to the seller in exchange for the title of the property. Final payment is organised by your solicitor and financial party. Once settlement has taken place you can collect the keys for the property and you can start to move in.
First National Mike Brown Real Estate located at suite7, 1 Eastridge Drive, Chirnside Park Vic 3116 03 9727 5588