Buying Step by Step
1. LOOKING FOR A PROPERTY
Buyers should research the market before going head down into buying a property. It is very important to understand the different factors that make a property’s price potential. For example, the location plays a big part in it, followed by development potential, and presentation.
Research the area well and find out about schools, safety of the neighbourhood, medical services, shops, public transports, etc.
When inspecting a property, remember to take the agent’s brochure for future reference. Ask questions from the agent and find out if the seller has any special conditions that may form part of an offer.
Ask about what comes with the property! Not everything that you see will stay!
Typical fixtures that are included are fixed floor coverings, window treatments and light fittings.
Ask about a shed, a free-standing stove/oven, satellite dish, dishwasher, pot plants, pool equipment, etc.
Any special inclusions must be written in the offer.
Buyers should save the highest possible deposit before getting ready to buy property to minimise the amount they need to borrow. This will then minimise the overall amount of interest, as well as a potential mortgage insurance, which will in some circumstances be charged to the borrower if they don’t reach a certain amount of deposit.
Some lenders may require the borrower to have a mortgage insurance. This insurance protects the lender against any loss should the borrower default on his loan.
Keep in mind the variable rate loans can see the interest rate rise. Make sure that should this happen, you can still bear the cost of re-payments.
Cost of Buying
Buyers can expect to incur fees and charges on the top of the property price; typical additional fees can be loan establishment fees, legal fees, stamp duty, insurance premiums, etc.
Talk to a professional
Buyers should talk to their financial or mortgage broker before looking for a property, in order to be sure of their borrowing power.
3. THE OFFER
Once the buyer has found the right property for their needs, the price they would like to offer must be carefully considered.
It is advisable to research the property and compare it with similar ones that sold in the area in the last few months. This will allow the buyer to make an educated and realistic offer.
Sellers usually not only consider the offering price, but also the list of conditions on the offer. Some of them would favourite a lower offer with no to limited conditions against a higher offer with a subject to sale for example.
Once the buyer has decided to submit an offer, the real estate agent will put the offer in writing. There will be a number of documents that will be presented to the buyer that require his signature. The buyer must go through all these documents with the agent and make sure they understand them.
The real estate agent must present every offer to the seller, unless he is instructed by the seller not to present offers below a certain amount.
In some cases, there might be multiple offers presented to the seller. The buyers would have been advised of multiple offers and would be invited to put in their very best one. The amount offered cannot be disclosed by the agent to other buyers.
After review by the seller, it is possible the offer comes back to buyer with a counteroffer. This can go back and forth a number of times, until both parties agree.
In case of a very low offer, this one can be directly rejected by the seller, which terminates the offer.
5. MEETING THE CONDITIONS
When the buyer’s offer has been accepted, comes the time to meet all the contract’s conditions, should there be any.
The most common ones are:
- Deposit: a deposit will need to be paid to the real estate agency within a few days after acceptance of the offer. While this is not legally required, this is greatly appreciated by the sellers as an act of goodwill and re-inforce the offer.
- Building inspection: the buyer has to organise and pay at his costs a registered building inspector. This one will provide a report saying if the property is sound.
- Timber pest inspection: the buyer has to organise and pay at his costs a registered timber pest inspector. This one will provide a report saying if the property is free a white ants.
- Finance: the buyer has to apply for the finance of the amount stated in the finance clause of the offer. He also has to make sure acceptance or rejection of the finance is provided to the agent within the allocated time frame.
When writing the offer, the buyer and the seller had to choose a conveyancer.
Conveyancing is the legal transfer of a property’s title from a seller to a buyer.
For the buyer – a conveyancer will:
- Prepare, clarify and lodge legal documents – e.g. contract of sale, memorandum of transfer
- Research the property and its certificate of title – check for easements, type of title and any other information that needs addressing
- Put the deposit money in a trust account
- Calculate the adjustment of rates and taxes
- Settle the property – act on the buyer’s behalf, advise when the property is settled, contact the bank or financial institution on when final payments are being made
- Represent the buyer’s interest with a vendor or their agent
For the seller – a conveyancer will:
- Complete and ensure the legal documents are all sorted
- Represent the seller and respond to requests from the buyer – for example, request to extend dates, title questions, etc
It is recommended to do some research and compare costs as the their can greatly vary.
Once the contract of sale has become unconditional, it is time to organise the move!
It’s important that both the buyer and seller keep in touch with the real estate agent and the settlement agent in case any issue arises.
The real estate agent will organise with the buyer a final inspection of the property usually 5 days prior to settlement, to make sure everything meets the contract conditions.
The settlement agent will commonly attend the actual settlement on the buyer’s behalf and both seller’s and buyer’s conveyancers will notify the real estate agent once settlement has occurred. Only after the real estate has receive notification from both settlement agent can the keys be released to the new owner. It is very common to do the key exchange the following day at noon.