Our 12 Tips to Buying Property
1. Prepare a wish list
Make a list of the attributes you most desire in a property, including your ‘must have’ features, such as location, number of bedrooms or parking.
2. Organise your finance in advance
Loan pre-approval is a big advantage! Approach your lender or have a mortgage broker visit you to find out how much you’ll be able to borrow. Having your finances organised gives you more chance of securing a purchase and is an asset when negotiating with vendors. If you’re bidding at auction, make sure you have adequate funds in your cheque account to pay the deposit.
3. Organise your lawyer or conveyancer
Engage a conveyancer or lawyer prior to purchase of property. If you don’t know of one, feel free to give Francis of our office a call and he will be able to recommend a reliable contact.
4. Additional expenses
While your lender will identify upfront costs such as mortgage insurance and stamp duty, you should also consider other costs such as land tax, council rates, home insurance and strata fees (if applicable), home improvements and maintenance.
5. Do your research
Invest the time in inspecting as many properties as possible. This will give you a better understanding of pricing in the current market. More information at Consumer Affairs Victoria - www.consumer.vic.gov.au/duediligencechecklist
6. Sign up to Property Alert services
Most agencies and all of the major property search sites such as domain.com.au and realestate.com.au have ‘property alert’ facilities. Simply enter your details and your property requirements and you’ll be emailed as soon as a property meeting your criteria is listed. This helps give you a jump on the market and saves considerable time.
7. Register your interest
Register your interest with us, a lot of properties are sold that never make it to the wider market - often the best blocks and best homes are never marketed or advertised, they don't need to be! We have a network of potential sellers, builders and developers - register your interest with us and when something in your criterion prior to property being marketed, our office will contact you.
8. Pest and building inspections
For the few hundred dollars, you can have peace of mind. They will help ensure you don’t end up with unknown problems which could cost you thousands down the track.
9. Pre-settlement inspection
Visit the property immediately prior to day of settlement to be sure there are no surprises.
10. Determine the Value of the Property yourself
It's important to do your research as we mentioned earlier to get an idea of what a property maybe worth by comparable sales BUT it's really important to determine 'How much is this property worth to you?'. Points to consider when determining the worth of a property:
- Potential for Capital growth
- Potential for Negative Gearing - Tax benefits, or
- Potential for Positive Gearing - Cash flow from rent return
- Potential to add value through renovation
- Potential to Sub-Divide
- Life style factors - nearby schools, friends, family - How much is that worth to you?
And lastly it's always a good idea to ask a real estate agent who has direct experience selling properties in your area.
11. When buying land or an old home - Buy to Sub-divide
If you're looking at a block of land or an old home to buy, always consider its sub-division potential - buy to sub-divide. A common misconception is that you need to own the block to determine its potential to sub-divide - No you don't! Call the local council in question and ask about overlays and planning schemes, also as a rule of thumb generally sub-divisions can be around 300m2, so a 600m2 site can be sub-divided in two (this is a rule of thumb only). If in doubt ask the Real Estate agent selling the block about its potential STCA.
12. What does STCA mean?
STCA is a term often attached when describing potential development sites - The term means "Subject to Council Approval". Example: "A Multi-Unit development site (STCA)" or "Site clear and ready for Dual Occupancy (STCA)" - it is an indication that the site may have the potential for such use, it is not a certificate of planning or a permit.