Buying a property equates to one of the most stressful times in your life. Here are some tips that may help you survive the process:
The research phase:
Focus on a specific suburb or area.
Become an area expert by seeking out recent sales of properties that compare to what you are looking for.
Register with an active agent in the area.
Check with Brisbane City Council that no major infrastructure developments that may be detrimental to the value of your home are planned within its proximity.
Attend as many open homes as you can to gauge what is happening in the market.
It is a requirement of most real estate agencies that you provide contact details to the agent before entering the home. No details usually means no enter.
Be friendly at open homes and smile.. it never hurts to get an agent on side :)
You will often be asked to remove your shoes for an inspection so do yourself a favour.. wear slip ons or thongs.
Don't be afraid to answer or return agents phone calls. Agents may know a property that is not yet on the market that perfectly suits your needs. You may be surprised at the amount of properties that get sold having never hit the market.
Making an offer (the exciting phase):
Seek a pre-approval from a lender. This will help your agent in negotiations. Platinum are affiliated with some phenomenal lenders offering a service that is second to none (including a 24 hour pre-approval)
Obtain a Contract of Sale and read through the terms and conditions prior to making an offer.
If you are buying a unit or townhouse, it is likely you will be entering a body corporate or Community Title situation. It is a requirement of the contract that you be given the opportunity to read through a Body Corporate Disclosure Statement prior to entering into a formal Contract. This can be obtained from the agent and should include (but not always) a copy of the Body Corporate bylaws.
The asking price and selling price are not always the same. Don't be afraid to negotiate but at the same time, don't get defensive if the owners are not willing to accept the offer you make. A good agent will keep negotiations open.
Agents are bound by strict rules when engaged to represent a property and owner. This means that agents are bound to present all offers to the owner.
A formal offer can only be made by way of signing a Contract document however, agents may adopt a one page Expression of Interest approach to speed up the process of negotiations. Expressions of interest are NOT legally binding documents.
Making it through the 'Conditional Period':
Make sure that you use a reputable Building and Pest Inspector and attend the inspection with the agent. The inspectors will point out to you any points of concern they see. Speak to your agent as they will know the Inspectors who are familiar with the type of property you are buying.
Don't be scared by the size of the building and pest reports, they often read far worse than they are.
Unlike renting properties, there is no legal requirement for owners to have the property spotlessly clean when exiting so it would be in your best interest to prepare for that scenario.