Sue’s Tips on what to look for when buying a house

Sue has been a conveyancer for almost 30 years, and she has compiled this check list for would be purchasers.

Check List to buy property:

  1. Get an experienced Real Estate Agent to help you search (Not a smooth talker)
  2. Position of the property,
    • check out the neighbourhood in which you buy;
    • how neat are the houses in the street;
    • do you see lots of ‘For Sale’ or ‘To Let’ signs;
    • is it a neighbourhood in which you feel comfortable, and is the are suitable for your long term needs;
    • is the area one in which if you spent money on your home, there would be capital growth?
    • check out whether there are any major developments which might occur in the area in the future. Could it change the nature of the neighbourhood? Eg. A freeway or a landmark that might be dubious which is in close proximity to the neighbourhood or in the neighbourhood.
    • The easiest way to check if the area is improving or deteriorating is to look at the maintenance of the houses in the area, this normally indicates whether an area is on its way up or down.
  3. Due Diligence
    • Are there any proposed town planning changes to the area?
    • Is pollution a problem in the area?
    • Are there any large tracks of vacant land and if so, what is going to be done with them?
    • Are most of the residents owners or tenants? It is always best to purchase where most of the owners are occupiers.
  4. Get your estate agent to give you a comparative market valuation and ask her specifically to compare what you are interested in buying with the features of any other specific house near so that you can determine what amount you wish to offer.
  5. Make sure you know the zoning rights and what they entitle you to do, particularity if you are planning on renovating.
  6. Decide on what kind of property you would like to buy, ie. free standing, a town house in a complex or a gated community, a semi-detached property or an apartment. Always check the Body Corporates Constitution and Conduct Rules, or the Home Owner’s Association Constitution and Conduct Rules.
  7. Thoroughly inspect the property, if necessary move furniture to check for damp, check ceiling for leaks, check water pressure in the shower as the geyser might be inadequate, check for any subsiding walls, paving etc., check to see whether there are approved building plans.
  8. If necessary, obtain an up to date survey of the property you intend to purchase, so that you know where the property lines are.
  9. Once you have decided on a particular property, check the bones of the house, ie. look at whether there is any natural light, is it north facing, is the dwelling home well situated on the plot (in the middle of the plot is good). Check the flow of the property, a lot of old houses have the kitchen at the opposite end of the entertainment area, young people look for easy flow ie. kitchen close to entertainment area. Decide what style of home fits your needs, the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, garages and other features.
  10. Talk to the City or Town Hall planning department or relevant officials to find out if there are any problems that effect the property, eg. Flooding, building code problems, government projects in the area.
  11. Be objective, visit the property often, check out the neighbours and tour the neighbourhood.
  12. Verify your finances, credit score and plan an affordable budget. Establish what the rates, taxes and service fees are and the levies if applicable. Budget for the Attorney’s costs, bond initiations costs and your pro rata share of the rates and service fees.
  13. It might be a good idea to get a home inspection report to identity future maintenance issues.
  14. Accompany the Estate Agent when the Seller vacates the property to establish whether the Seller has left the property in the condition agreed to in the sale agreement.
  15. Decide further whether you are putting the property in your personal name, a trust or a company.
  16. Make sure you understand the sale agreement before you sign and once all suspensive conditions have been fulfilled in the sale agreement, the Sellers Conveyancer will be instructed proceed and if no transfer date is specified, transfer in your name normally takes within two to three months
  17. Finally, ensure that you have completed the necessary forms to transfer of the Municipal Account.

This by no means constitutes a legal opinion of the writer hereof and the writer indemnifies the firm as well as herself. An experienced Real Estate Agent should be consulted with your home purchase.

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