The Bulletin

Buying? Take four breaths for peace of mind

The home is exactly what you’re looking for at the right price. There are other buyers circling with offers, and you feel an urgency to do something or miss out.

Take a breath.

A real estate dream can sometimes end as a nightmare, but with the right advice, a little investigation and patience, you can minimise the risk of buying to almost zero.

It all begins with taking the time to ask the right questions of your Sales Consultant, and being aware of where to find all the right information that will give you a complete, 360 degree view of the property.

The risk-reducing information you are seeking roughly falls into four categories. (Please note: This article in no way intends to be an exhaustive list, but simply advice for home buyers).

Something that potentially devalues the property
The boundaries of the land may have looked obvious, but there may be an easement or crown land bordering the allotment that effectively reduce your property’s size from what it seems.

A Title Plan will reveal exactly what you are getting for your money in terms of land size, and where you can build any extensions safely and legally – ask the Sales Consultants if they have this available to view.

Be aware that everything you see within the home may not be included. On occasions, sellers may allocate something within as a “chattel” which they intend to take with them after the sale. Ask the Sales Consultant what is and isn’t included in the sale.

An improvement that may be non-compliant or illegal
Laws and regulations change, so even though a home or structure was compliant and legal at the time it was built, it may now be non-compliant or illegal.

Swimming pools are a common case-in-point, with regulations governing pool fencing becoming much more stringent over the years. A pergola built by an owner/builder may look completely acceptable, but only an inspection by a building inspector will give you peace of mind.

Your perceived value of a home could change significantly if you discover that you are responsible for an alteration to ensure your new home meets the appropriate standards.

Building structural flaws
While cosmetic or surface issues are often easy to see, sometimes significant structural issues are not immediately obvious.

For these and many other reasons, arrange a pest and building inspection during your cooling off period is a no-brainer.

Too risky for finance
If a property is deemed as high risk of flooding or bush fire, or is zoned for commercial development, bank finance may become more expensive, or even impossible.

Ask the Sales Consultant for a Form 1 to view – this will contain all the relevant property searches disclosing the exact details of the property.

With your mind at ease, you can proceed confidently in order to secure your new home.

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