Choosing an Agent

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.

Using an REINT Agent to Find Your New Home Will Save You

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

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.

Inspecting Properties

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.

Rentals

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.

Location, Style and Size

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.

What is a sole agency or exclusive property agreement?

The agreement is for a real estate agent, chosen by the consumer, to have exclusive rights to sell their property for an agreed period of time. During this period of time, even if the home is sold privately, the agent is entitled to a commission. Any vendor that signs another agency agreement with a different real estate agent could make the vendor liable for two commissions if the property is sold and the contract, period overlap at any time.

What is conjunction?

This refers to a situation where one real estate agency might have a sole agency agreement on a property and a competing real estate agent finds a willing buyer for the property and by mutual agreement, the two agents may share the commission payable on the property (i. e. no additional cost to the vendor). However, a competing real estate agent must not encourage a vendor to terminate an existing contract with a competitor and must not sign the vendor up to another agreement without advising that the vendor could now be up for two commissions as there may now be two legally binding contracts in operation at the same time.

Making an offer - how does it work?

When an offer is made for the purchase of a property it should be a made on a formal contract document (whether it is via a real estate agent or a private sale). A verbal offer is not legally binding and should not be relied upon by either party. When the offer is put to the property owner (vendor) they can either sign and agree to the price, or amend the price and return it to the buyer for further consideration. This may go back and forth until both parties are happy to finalise a sale.

What does going unconditional mean?

This is a legal term that relates to a contract for sale offer by a buyer that becomes legally binding. For example the sale of the buyer's property has been sold and the buyer has secured finance – and the only remaining requirement is to wait for settlement date. At this point there is no turning back and the sale is binding on both parties.

What is referred to as a settlement date?

Settlement date is when contracts and keys of the property are exchanged by the solicitors or conveyancers representing the buyer and seller. The purchase price is transferred from one party to another. The onus is on the property owner to have vacated the property completely and this will allow the owner to take possession (e. g. move in if they wish).

The role of the real estate agent?

The real estate agent acts on behalf of the seller (vendor) of the property as ultimately they pay for their services. He/she is tasked with marketing the property and liaising with the property owner (vendor) on the likely market price of the property based on property sales in the area over recent times. The agent will discuss the property with interested parties; show potential buyers through the property at agreed times and are the central figure in the offer and acceptance price, until both parties are happy to proceed with a sale.

What about the auction option?

Aside from simply advertising a property for sale and finding a buyer, the other popular means of selling a property is to offer the property up for auction. A real estate agent would promote the auction date and make the property available for inspection by potential buyers prior to the auction date and on auction day proper.

On the day the auctioneer will detail to those present the terms and conditions of the auction process and then call for bids on the property. While buyers will be hoping for an absolute bargain price, the reality is that the vendor will have determined a 'reserve price' or a minimum price that they will accept and unless the bidding reaches that point, the property will be passed in and bidders encouraged to negotiate privately on the purchase of the property.

The actual reserve price is often not conveyed to the auctioneer until just before the auction commences and there is no requirement for him/her to make the reserve price known to bidders. An auctioneer will more often than not advise the auction attendees that the property is 'on the market' which means it has passed the reserve price and the property will be sold on that day to the highest bidder.

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