Don’t feel that the agent is your enemy. We don’t get paid unless you are a happy buyer so even though legally we work for the vendors, a good agent will make sure the buyer is well taken care of.
Make the agent your friend.
If you like the house – TELL THE AGENT!
Doh! It is not a useful negotiating technique to pull the property to pieces and point out every flaw and issue. We know where the short comings lie. We will just assume you don’t like the gorgeous North Avoca home and continue to work with the enthusiastic couple who saw it this morning.
We want the new owner to like the property.
This is my personal pet peeve – Suggesting you will be knocking the whole place down just because the bathroom tiles are dated alienates the agent and indicates how unrealistic you are.
No one – I repeat no one has seen more property than the agent who has been selling property for decades. We know what’s reasonable and what’s not.
But its not to my taste…
Stop ripping the house to pieces imagining this will save you money during negotiations. It won’t. It will just stop us from showing you any others property. An honest conversation about comparable sales or where you see value is fine. Criticizing the carpet is not.
Do your research.
Unsure of the area in which your potential new house is? Google! The internet has a myriad of information at your fingertips. Not tech savy? Ask! Call the local council, information center or local real estates.
A decent agent is there to help you through the whole process from initial enquiry to moving in.
One of the best ways to get a feel for a new location is to visit. Stay for a weekend, visit local shops, get a coffee at a local café and start up a conversation. Start one up with me if you want! I can tell you all about the best cafe’s in Terrigal and North Avoca!
And don’t forget to check out prices of recently SOLD homes. Sure, these ones are no longer available, but it will give you a better idea of what can be expected.
Hi. Have you got…?
Then you may be less likely to ask me if I have a house with ocean views, not needing any work, on a flat block, in Terrigal or North Avoca… For $300,000… (I haven’t.)
Inspect more than once.
Buying a property can be a very emotional process. Take your time, or ask for a private viewing so you can get one-on-one time with the agent to wrack their brains.
Many houses in Terrigal and North Avoca these days approach a million dollars. I often think that we take longer deciding on a $100 pair of shoes than we do on a $800,000 house so ask the agent if you can take your time.
(Three hours, however, may be considered unreasonable.)
What should I look for?
Make a checklist- and check it twice…gotta find out what’s naughty or nice. Need a big yard, an ocean view, a single level house? What could you live without? And what are your non negotiables? School district?
Bear in mind, almost everything can be changed – except location and the actual land you are purchasing.
You can re-paint the living room and move the kitchen to the other side of the house but you can’t change the sun that reaches the home, the dramatically sloping block or the railway line behind you.
Consider how the light might change throughout the year too. It may be a bright and sunny house at the height of Summer Solstice, but in the dead of winter that massive hill behind you, could be an issue. Just be aware. Doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t consider the home, just be aware.
If you are searching for an investment property, remember to ‘tweak’ your expectations. You are not going to be living in it, so remember that your personal taste doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone and that some people can easily rub along without a stone benchtop and european appliances.
Contract, what Contract?
If you feel yourself swaying towards a particular house, but you’re not ready to commit to an offer as yet, ask for a copy of the Contract of Sale. This is an important document that lists any conditions the seller may have, and it’s free. If you want to take another step, forward the contract to your own solicitor or conveyancer who can check to see if there is anything important you may miss.
If you don’t have a conveyancer, ask a friend who has just been through this process, or ask your agent for some local recommendations.
Research and budget for extra costs such as stamp duty, conveyancing fee’s, council rates and strata levies. Plus moving costs! If you’re in the market and not a confident buyer- enlist the help of a Buyers Agent. Remember these services may incur a fee so make sure you compare.
You don’t have to tell the agent every single thing about your credit history, but this is not a good time for ego or testosterone to kick in. If you can’t afford this property, let us know. Maybe a cheeky offer is appropriate on this particular house. And if not, let us show you another one which is a better financial fit but there is no point torturing both you and I looking at houses which are a mile away from your current financial level.
That leads me to…home loan pre-approval.
Don’t look until you know your limitations! A simple phone call to talk to your financial institute’s mortgage lender or a broker is all it takes. If you would like more information on your borrowing capacity, call Tony from AAP Finance Brokers on 0417 087 187- tell him Carol sent you for some 5 star service! Or click here to get more information. Using a finance broker won’t cost you anything, but could save you something.
Making an offer.
If you want to purchase a property you need to make an offer, especially with a Private Treaty (non-auction).
For Auction sales, you may have the option to make an offer before the auction if the owner has advised their agent they are happy to do this.
A lot of the time buyers like to make a low offer to allow for negotiation- Ding Ding Ding! this is not always best practice! For all you know, we’ve already had 3 offers above yours.
Remember- we are not obliged to go back to you for a higher offer if the seller has already accepted one. Its our obligation to get the best result for the vendor, but not at the risk of losing the better qualified, more committed buyer who has had their offer accepted. The vendors decision is always final and we are just the intermediaries.
Sometimes other terms may be important to the seller. Another buyer may have come just under your figure but can commit to a shorter/longer settlement period or agree to rent the property back to the owner. This is a good place to be honest with the agent. If you could pay an extra $1,000 or $10,000 or even $100,000, don’t hold your cards so close to your chest that we don’t know you are even in the game.
Be as flexible as possible- but obviously don’t bend too far and break!
When do I put down the cash, baby?
In NSW, once your offer has been accepted by the vendor (seller) you can arrange to sign the contract with the sales agent or with your solicitor.
If you sign with the agent, you pay a (normally) non- refundable .25% (quarter of a percent) of the sales price which is held in a trust account.
Once both the buyer and vendor sign the contract, this is a legal and binding agreement to purchase property so make sure you have spoken to your legal advisor first.
The down side is, if you decide you are not moving forwards for any reason, the vendor may keep your .25% as a penalty. On the other hand, it will ensure the vendor cannot accept a higher offer – he can’t! He signed your contract so this avoids the gazumping of the past.
The balance of the deposit (normally 10%) will be due at the end of your cooling off period which is typically 5 or 10 days later.
Alternatively you can sign with your solicitor once all inspections and conditions have been agreed to and then pay the full deposit. Be aware, this could leave the door open for any other buyer to make a greater offer and beat you to the punch.
Lions and Tigers and Bugs, Oh my!
You love the house, have made an offer and it has been accepted… spend the money and get that pest and building inspection. Forking out a few hundred for this report can save thousands down the track.
Most property owners are not trying to sell a house riddled with termites, but let’s just be on the safe side, shall we?! There could genuinely be a hidden issue the current owner knows nothing about. CYA.
Ask a friend who they used, or ask your agent to provide you with 3 or so company names who provide inspections in this area.
Don’t just read the report alone in the dark either. Speak to the inspector once he has finished and try to get a better idea if the property seems in reasonable condition for the age of the home. Those reports can be scary. Find out what the inspector really thinks by talking to him.
Don’t be a sore loser.
There will always be one or more people who miss out.
Unfortunately that is life and we can’t always get a participation award.
Increase your changes by getting in first, let the agent know you have interest- provide your email, contact number and if you want to make an offer, do so in writing. If you want to buy the property TELL the agent, don’t go home and mull it over for a week or so.
But I want to pay the absolute minimum
If you would be devastated if you miss this particular house for $15,000, for goodness sake, OFFER THE HIGHER AMOUNT!
If you then miss it, maybe it was out of your range, but don’t hold back and kick yourself down the track.
We all know that property generally increases over time.
The extra amount you stretch to might not be so enormous in a decade.
Unfortunately real estate isn’t ‘black and white’ but if there were more honest discussions with your agent you might find it less overwhelming. Ask questions, engage in conversation.
A real estate agent is simply the meat in the sandwich, the marriage broker, the piggy in the middle.
The deal is done when the seller is happy, AND the buyer is happy.
That middle area is what we are all aiming for.
If you want to learn more, feel free to email or give me a call. Real estate shouldn’t be a mine field. You just need to know the ground rules before jumping in.
And remember, don’t rubbish the house. One day you too will be a seller!