You’ve been renting an apartment or home for a good while now but you’re thinking of crossing over to the other side of ownership. This does not have to be a painful process for you. It should be an experience because, after all, there’s that pride and convenience that comes with having something of your own. Here are ten tips to help you find your way into buying property.
1. Beware of selling agents
Let us start off with a word of caution. You need to understand that as much as selling agents hold your hand through the whole process of property hunting, they work for the seller, not you. This simply means they are not there to help you but the buyer. Their work is to convince you to purchase the property so they will only tell you what they want you to know. You will need to have your research done before you involve an agent. This will make you know what important questions to ask and helps you avoid being taken advantage of.
This is basically the first rule for everyone looking for housing property. We all have our preferences and that is what we start with. Look for something that suits your needs. Figure out what matters to you, say public transport, schools, shopping centres, health facilities, entertainment hub and facilities like that. Find what is important to you and what you can compromise then make a decision.
3. Stamp Duty
Stamp duty is paid by the party buying property and is payable within three months of exchanging contracts. If you take NSW for instance, stamp duty is approximately 4.7% of the cost of the property. It is important to note that the cost of stamp duty will vary from one state to another and that for the NSW, stamp duty is implemented by the Office of State Revenue. You should, therefore, do your math carefully as you plan your budget since the higher the price of the property, the higher the stamp duty.
4. Understand the Market
You need to understand what is happening in the property market in the area that you are interested in. Look for experts who understand it for help and advice. You could also look for locals from the area who are going to help you find out inside information of the area and not from a business point of view. This information can help you understand the area itself and probably give some inner insight as to why a seller really wants to let that property go. You can even find out if the property being sold has some significance to the area because that may or may not affect the pricing of the property.
5. Check Your Timing
It is important to check the timing of your purchase and make use of some opportunities that may arise. For instance, you could look out for periods in the housing market that may be considered cool; periods when not many people are out hunting for houses. That can actually help you find your dream property without much competition.
Inspect the property you want to buy with a keen eye before you make an offer. It’s only natural that the owners will make the property look nice and attractive when they are selling, so be keen to look for things that may not be seen at a first glance. The sellers should produce a document from a pest inspector proving the property is pest free. And, even if everything seems fine to you and you get the document, go ahead and employ the expertise of another building and pest inspector to make sure you are making a healthy purchase, so to speak.
7. Age of Property and Cost of Renovation
New property may cost more than property that has been around for some time. Look around and find out how old the property you are buying is. Age does not always mean ragged, but property that has been around for a long while may need some retouching. If you decide to, find out the costs. For instance, in Sydney, the costs of renovating within 20 kilometres of the central business district can be in the neighbourhood of $3000 to $4000 per square metre.
8. External Factors Affecting Your Property
External factors such as the property being under a flight path, or beside a school, the property might be too close to a highway to your liking or even the fact that it does not get enough natural light are some to consider. Keep a keen eye and seek expert advice where you are not sure.
9. Neighbouring Property Development
Find out what is in the neighbourhood of the property. You do not want to buy property only for the neighbours to block your view of the sunset by building something twice as big as what you have. It could help if you checked in with the local council about zoning concerning that area to avoid unpleasant surprises later.
10. Understand the Contract of Sale
Whenever purchasing property, a contract is usually signed between the seller and buyer. This document lists all the requirements, by law and otherwise, that must be adhered to as the new owner of the property. Of special importance is the “Special Conditions” section. There may be restrictions and additional requirements specific to the property you’re buying. Some common clauses in this section are restrictions against having pets such as dogs or cats on the property, restrictions against modifying or repainting your exterior walls, restrictions against barbequing on the property, amongst others. It would be wise to go over the contract to avoid any surprises later.