FAQ - Buying
The choice of agent to assist in the sale of your property is a personal decision. However, you will probably consider the agent's knowledge of the market, sales experience, reputation, intended marketing strategy, and negotiation skills to achieve the highest possible price.
When real estate agents become aware of any relevant information about properties that they are selling, they are legally obliged to inform buyers.
A real estate agent will inspect the property's certificate of ownership to verify that the seller is the genuine owner and can commit to the sale. In the process the agent may also become aware of other influences on the ownership of the property such as who has access to private lanes adjoining a property or the existence of notices of resumption of the land by other authorities. The selling of strata title properties also requires compulsory disclosure of information.
It is impossible for real estate agents to know absolutely everything about properties they sell. However agents who are members of REINT are trained to make inquiries to owners of properties for sale about relevant matters such as; whether the property is connected to sewerage, roof insulation, building insurance, special features concerning swimming pools, reticulation, and much more. Homebuyers have the comfort of knowing that agents are accountable for the information they pass on to them.
Accountability is very important to REINT member agents. This is why all REINT member agents carry professional indemnity insurance.
Homebuyers who deal with private sellers would need to make their own investigations regarding properties for sale. However many homebuyers have neither the time nor the expertise, to make adequate investigations on their own. And if something goes wrong, usually at settlement time or even worse, after the sale has proceeded, there is no recourse available to the buyer other than dealing directly with the previous owners. This can be very difficult.
Finance is a key issue. If you require a loan to enable the purchase of a home, then your capacity to meet home loan repayments will determine the price range in which you can consider buying. Therefore, prior to inspecting properties for sale, it is a good idea to establish your borrowing capacity with your lending institution. Once your capacity is established you can then determine what properties are available in your price range.
First, list the advantages and disadvantages of each property inspected. Compare this to your requirements. Second, be realistic when inspecting homes. Rarely will one home measure up completely. Be flexible and objective and try to avoid preconceived ideas that may cause you to miss better ideas highlighted in the home. Take notice of the homes, which have most of the advantages and the least disadvantages.
Third, don't rush inspections and don't attempt too many inspections in one day, - it is easy to become confused. Be prepared to make a second visit to a home. If you are married, both husband and wife should inspect the property together. Each partner may have slightly different requirements in a home and it is important that both agree about the suitability of a home.
Once you have found an acceptable home, have a look around the neighbourhood. Check the area for community facilities and other types of surrounding properties? For example, industrial properties, which may cause both noise and air pollution? And ask the REINT agent for further information on the area.
If you are purchasing a property as a rental investment, then prior to submitting an offer it would be a good idea to have the property manager from the real estate agent you will be selecting to manage it for you to inspect the property with you.
The property manager has extensive knowledge of rental properties and has a keen eye for detail and the rent that should be obtained from the property. The property manager will be able to suggest what improvements/repairs should be or will have to be attended to prior to renting the property. For example window and door locks, residual current devices. Any associated costs will need to be factored into your budget.
In choosing the right home there are several factors you need to consider, including:
- Location: preferred suburbs and access to schools, work amenities
- Style and size of home: unit, house, duplex and family needs
- In deciding on a location, your local REINT real estate agents know areas extremely well and are also aware of any proposed changes in the area that are likely to affect your investment. However, you should consider factors such as distance from your place of work, nearby educational facilities, availability of recreational facilities, the local town-planning scheme, and the development potential of the land.
- When determining the style and size of your home, consider your basic needs and discuss these with the agent, for example:
- Garage or carport requirements
- an extensive garden or easy care surrounds
- Family living areas: games room, bedrooms etc.
- Inside and outside entertaining areas
- Capacity to extend.
Although the agent representing the vendor can relate the matters relevant to the sale, prior to submitting an offer you should make your own enquiries to satisfy yourself on the suitability of the property. The research that you may care to undertake includes obtaining a copy of the Certificate of Title. This will inform you of any encumbrances that may affect your use of the land or strata entitlement. It is also wise to enquire with the seller's agent whether the local authority has approved extensions on the property.