When it comes to buying a house, you must be prepared. Preparation is key to getting the right house that suits you and your family.
That means you need to be knowledgeable. Knowledgeable about the area including transport facilities, nearby shopping, medical services and schooling.
There are plenty of websites that can offer up this information like realestate.com.au, government websites and local real estate agency sites like http://www.hillsdirect.com.au
But one of the easiest ways to gather the REAL information you need, is to ask questions. Asking questions to the selling agent enables you to drill down on the things you REALLY need to know before you sign a contract.
Let's look at the 'must ask' questions to buying a house.
How was the sales price determined?
Let the real estate agent speak freely. Good agents know their area extremely well. They can tell you what's going on in the suburb that contributes to determining today's price.
You may also hear them refer to recent sales statistics that arose when the did a comparable market analysis (CMA) of similar homes in the area that are currently on the market and/or have sold.
This is a great opportunity for you to ask the agent if you can have a copy of the CMA.
Some agents may balk at your request because the seller has not given them permission to pass on this report. Good agents would have already got approval and they can email a buyer the CMA once they return to the office.
Why You Should Ask For A CMA?
A CMA outlines all the recent sales in the area of comparable properties to the one you are looking at. If you are looking at a three bedroom, two bathroom, double lock up garage on a standard residential block of land, then available properties for sale and ones recently sold should be the only properties contained in the report.
Four bedroom, two story homes on half and acre are not comparable and should be eliminated from your consideration. They will be dearer and don't have a true reflection on what you are looking at.
A CMA also contains photographs of these properties along with suburb statistics, average prices and demographics of the occupants who live in the area.
Don't wait for a CMA. Get educated on values, price movements BEFORE you are ready to buy. Subscribe to our Property Price Report and get the most accurate data on property sales in the Hills District every quarter. Click here to register.
Why is the seller selling?
People sell for a myriad of reasons. These reasons can be unforced or forced.
The average 'move-on' time for an owner is around seven years. Around this time people want a change.
If the owners are older, they may want to downsize by moving to a property that's more manageable. Perhaps its over one level or by being new, it'll be more maintenance friendly. Apartments are favourable to those wishing to lock and leave for a period, not to mention no lawns to mow.
Being closer to family is another reason people want to sell. Grandparents want to spend as much time with the 'little ones', even if that means moving interstate.
In general people generally like a change. As the saying goes, "a change is as good as a holiday."
Financial changes sometimes occur with a negative effect. A loss of a job can put serious strain on maintaining a mortgage. Left unresolved for too long will result in the bank stepping in, repossessing the home and selling it on.
Marital changes are another common reason why a property owner may want to sell. Divorce is an emotionally, stressful time and disposing of a home in a fair and equitable manner requires connecting with an empathetic, knowledgeable professional real estate agent.
Forced sales tend to have more committed sellers but buyers shouldn't presume these are easy sales where properties can be 'stolen'.
Grab our report "Selling The Family Home Through Divorce" by going here.
How Long Has The Property Been On The Market?
This is important to know as it'll give you some indication of how this property is performing in the current market.
A buyer should always ask what is the average days on market for a property like this is. This number will change according to the two main types of markets, buyer’s or sellers’ market the real estate industry experiences.
If the property has been on market for longer than the average, there is usually a concern about the price. A follow up question to the agent could be around if the property has had any offers and why they didn't proceed.
If a seller is holding out for their price, it might be time to move onto a seller who is ready to do business now unless the agent is able to have them willing to accept a market price.
Any Hidden Nasties?
Your solicitor can do a property search to see if there are any issues with the land, potential development applications nearby or government reclamation that may occur in the near future.
A build and pest service provider can give a buyer a detailed report on the condition of the property and whether any repairs should be carried out. Termites might not be seen by the naked eye but should be a report if the inspection is carried out by a reputable professional.
Also ask the agent about the property's neighbours and occupants in the street. How many investment properties are there in the street? Any neighbourhood disputes that the agent knows about?
The last thing a new buyer needs to purchase into a 'war zone.'
Assuming a buyer has their finances in place, are happy with the area and are confident that this is really the home for them, then there's no reason why they shouldn't proceed.
By doing their research and asking lots of questions, they should feel comfortable with their decision and live happily in their new home.
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