Buying a Property
Owning your own home is still one of the great Australian dreams. Whether you are a first time property buyer or a veteran of several properties, the excitement of finding the right home and making that successful offer or bid never wanes.
What Can I Afford?
It's important to organise your finances & work out how much you can afford before you start looking at properties. You can make the buying process a lot easier by becoming pre-approved, or at least pre-qualified with a lending institution.
Shop around for the best mortgage. Look at more than just the interest rate - redraw facilities and the ability to make extra repayments can save you money.
Apart from your mortgage repayments, there are other costs to consider in purchasing a property:
□ A deposit of up to 10% of the selling price will be required
□ Adjustments such as council rates and water
□ Building and pest inspection fees
□ Legal/conveyancing fees
□ Loan application/establishment fees
□ Stamp duty
□ Transfer and registration fees
Decide What You Want
Before you hit the pavement, write a list of your requirements. You’ll need to consider:
□ Are you prepared to renovate if the property requires it?
□ Do you have any special needs EG no stairs and level access, room for a home office etc?
□ Do you need car parking or garages?
□ Do you need to reside near public transport, schools, childcare, work?
□ Do you want a garden, courtyard or balcony?
□ Do you want a house, apartment, unit or townhouse?
□ How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you require?
□ How much storage space to you need?
□ What area or suburb do you want to buy in?
Source Suitable Properties for Sale
Now that you’ve worked out your finances and property requirements, it’s time to start the search. The best way of sourcing suitable properties is online.
Some other options include:
□ Local newspapers
□ Real estate agency windows
□ Local property magazines
□ Driving around the suburbs of interest
□ Registering your requirements with real estate agencies, asking them to let you know when a suitable properties comes up
Start your property search on www.connections.harcourts.com.au
Before Making an Offer
When you have located a property you would like to buy, ask the selling agent for a copy of the contract. The contract includes the title documents, drainage diagram, zoning certificate, council restriction on the property and items included or excluded from the sale.
Inexperienced buyers should seek professional help and advice on the conveyancing process. A conveyancer or solicitor is skilled at handling the paperwork associated with the property purchase. You should then organise for building and pest inspections of the property.
Once you and the seller have agreed on all terms, the agent will require both parties to sign the sale contracts. Only when you have both signed the contract, exchanged copies and the deposit is paid, do you both become bound by the contract. The deposit will likely be held in trust by the agent. You are now committed to buying the property subject to the cooling off period.
Cooling Off Period
As a buyer of a residential property, in most cases you’ll be granted a cooling off period. This period commences on the day of exchange and ends 5 business days later at 5pm. During this time, you can withdraw from the contract, however if you do so, you will forfeit 0.25 percent of the purchase price (taken from the deposit paid).
Inspecting a Property
With most contracts, it’s up to the purchaser to organise building inspections. When you consider the amount of money that you’ll pay for the property, a few hundred dollars spent on obtaining professional building and pest inspections to rule out any defects is a small investment for peace of mind. Your inspection reports should cover:
□ Quality of work and fire safety
□ Check for rising damp, waterproofing, gutters, leaks
□ Check the structural integrity and condition of the floors, walls, doors, windows, cladding and roof
□ Check all services including electricals, water, sewerage and drainage
□ Check for timber pests including termites, borers, timber decay and fungal damage
The period of time between the exchange of contracts and settlement is usually 30 days, however can vary depending on the agreed terms. Settlement day is a pre-arranged date when the exchange of contracts will be formalised.
This is what happens on a typical settlement day:
□ Your lender authorises payment of the loan, and payment is made to the seller
□ Your solicitor/conveyancer authorises the vendor to collect the deposit from the agent
□ You pay adjustments on taxes, council and water rates
□ You pay stamp duty
□ You receive a signed transfer of the title deed and the Registrar General will register the transfer and the loan. The title deeds and mortgage are held by your lender until the property is fully paid off.
□ You have the keys and the property is legally yours