Find the right home with Howard & Co’s house hunting checklist
Tip 1: Go to open homes as early as possible
Try to go to open homes as soon as you can. That way, if you're really keen on a place, you've got time to see it again. Plus, you've got more time to do your research ('due diligence'), such as reading all the necessary reports, conducting inspections, arranging your finance and getting the legal paperwork sorted.
Tip 2: Take the brochures away with you
When you've been through 10 open homes, it can be hard to remember which one had the breakfast bar and which one had the ensuite. Salespeople normally have a range of materials available for you take away from an open home. Remember to take a pen so you can make your own notes about the property.
Tip 3: Look at the home privately
Don't be afraid to ring an agent for a private viewing. Even if the property has an open home advertised, you can sometimes visit a property privately. This is a good idea as you'll most likely have the agent's undivided attention, and you might be able to use the opportunity to put in an offer before anyone else
Tip 4: Get a good lawyer on board
Getting good legal advice is very important when buying a property. Ideally you should get a lawyer on board when you've found a house you like. Your lawyer will be able to advise you before you sign anything. They can provide advice on the negotiation process and the sale and purchase agreement, and check the relevant paperwork, like the LIM and Certificate of Title. Typically the buying and selling process is referred to as conveyancing, and there are some lawyers who specialise in this area.
Tip 5: Check the property carefully before you buy
Make sure you include the appropriate conditions in an offer so that you check the property thoroughly to make sure everything is up to your expectations. Once an offer goes unconditional you'll have very little comeback if you discover any problems. It might pay to get a builder's report if you're unsure what to look for; and contact your insurance company to ensure you can obtain the necessary insurance cover for the property.
Questions to ask your real estate salesperson
Found a house you like? Here are some questions you could ask the listing real estate agent to get more information about the property.
• How long has it been on the market?
• What have nearby properties sold for recently?
• Was it owner occupied or rented out?
• What schools is it zoned for?
• Have there been any alterations?
• Are all alterations permitted and certified?
• Which chattels will remain?
• Where are the property boundaries?
• What is the current council valuation and rates?
• Are they aware of any zoning restrictions?
• Are there any covenants or restrictions registered on the title?
• Are there any issues with property maintenance or damage that the agent knows about?(Such as
collapsed drains or leaking).