Are you looking to buy a house? Perhaps you are looking to buy a unit or townhouse? Whatever property you are buying, if this is your first time doing so; make sure you are equipped with the knowledge and skill set to make the right decisions. After all, buying a house or any other property isn’t something you can undo so easily.
Buying a property involves much more than an everyday transaction. Not only does it entail significant financial decisions, but also important legal aspects.
Following is a fundamental guide to the 8 steps involved in buying a property.
Ideally, you should save the highest possible deposit before deciding to buy property to minimise the amount you need to borrow. This will also minimise the amount of interest that will eventually be paid, and means you
may avoid extra charges such as mortgage insurance. Other elements to consider are:
- Interest rates (would a fixed or variable loan work best for you?)
- Additional costs of buying (such as bank fees, stamp duty and legal fees etc)
- Consider speaking to a mortgage broker or other finance professional
GOT YOUR MONEY SET?
Now that you know what monetary factors to consider, read through to step two of the buying process: Research the Market
When buying a home, it’s important to consider its future value. There are a number of factors influencing a property’s price potential, but location stands out as the key to future capital growth. Elements to consider are the safety of the neighbourhood, and whether it is close to:
- Medical services
- Shops or
- Reliable public transport
Make sure you know what comes with the Property
A buyer should always ask the agent to clarify any inclusions or exclusions that may be part of the contract of sale. Unfortunately, a buyer sometimes moves into their new property only to find features that originally ‘sold’ them the property are now gone.
In general terms, fixtures are defined as anything on the property that is ‘screwed in’, ‘glued in’, ‘nailed in’, ‘bolted in’, or ‘plumbed in’ to the structures of the property.
Are the Fixtures Included?
Typical fixtures include:
- Hot water systems
- Fixed carpets
- Clothes lines
- Television antennae
- In-ground plants and trees
- Ceiling fans
- Mail boxes
- Built in air-conditioning or heating systems
Clarify the Inclusion of Chattels
Freestanding movable items are called chattels and they can be included, however they must be noted in the contract of sale. Pool and spa equipment, potted plants and washing machines are good examples of chattels and should be disclosed separately on the contract of sale.
Items such as gas bottles, sprinkler systems, dishwashers and light fittings often cause debate and are grouped in a grey zone that should always be clarified before entering into negotiations.
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal transfer of a property’s title from the seller to the buyer. It is important that buyers research who they wish to use for conveyancing when they have a contract of sale.
Use a Solicitor
The REIQ recommends the use of a qualified solicitor (for details of qualified solicitors contact the Queensland Law Society) for any property matter, including conveyancing.
Using a solicitor often saves time on paperwork such as title searches and stamp duty, and can often provide peace of mind when making what may be the largest single financial transaction of one’s life.
Conveyancing will incur costs such as searches of the:
- Titles Office,
- Certificate of Rates,
- Transfer duty
- Registration fees
- Standard professional services costs
Council and property searches can identify any planning issues or problems, and highlight what the area might look like in five to 10 years. They ensure major changes like new freeways and major road upgrades are not planned for a property’s backyard.
Searches for zoning and titles will determine whether the property has any restrictions such as adverse planning, demolition orders, outstanding taxes or encumbrances on the title (for example, easements or caveats).
Most of these searches are standard in the conveyancing process but are often overlooked when buyers elect to do the conveyancing themselves
Once a contract has become unconditional it is time to start packing! It is important for a buyer to keep in touch with their solicitor through this time with regards to any issues that may arise approaching the settlement date.
Buyers are encouraged to arrange a pre-settlement inspection with the agent to ensure that everything is per the contract conditions, noting any included chattels or excluded fittings. Pre-settlement inspections should be conducted once the property has been vacated by the seller or its occupants.
Commonly, the solicitor will attend the actual settlement on the buyer’s behalf and both the seller’s and buyer’s solicitors will notify the agent once settlement has occurred. Only after an agent has received notification from both parties, can keys be released to the new property owner.
Your quest of buying a house, unit, townhouse or any other property is now complete – enjoy!
This Agency strongly recommends the use of a qualified conveyancer before undertaking the purchase of any property.