Once you begin negotiations and your offer is accepted, there are contract conditions that are legally binding so it’s important you know what to do before you make an offer on a house. We’ve created this quick guide so you know these important tips before signing a contract to buy a property.
1. Get pre-approved finance
Speak to your lender before you begin looking for a property so you know how much you can borrow, arrange pre-approval and find out when the expiry date is for that.
‘Getting pre-approval of your finances is a common practice,’ says Ash Brown, Director of One Agency Orange. ‘But not everyone realises it comes with an expiry date and that your finances will need to be assessed again once your pre-approval expires.
‘Pre-approval and its expiry date are important details for agents to know because it tells us if you’re ready to buy and what the timeframe is for your purchase. We may know of a property coming up within your pre-approval period that’s going to suit you but isn’t on the market yet.’
Along with knowing how much you can borrow, pre-approval also informs you of the conditions of the loan should you choose to take up the lender’s offer of finance. It’s wise to allow time to shop around for the best deal.
2. Should you get a solicitor before making an offer?
It’s an excellent idea to engage your solicitor (or conveyancer) before you start looking. They can help you with information about property purchase and details of the contract as well as advise you on your rights and responsibilities as a buyer.
‘You may find your perfect property right away – it happens!’ advises Ash. ‘If you’ve already established a relationship with your conveyancer then you can quickly get help with the offer contract.
‘It’s especially useful when the market favours the seller as properties can sell fast while you’re out there looking for the right information.’
3. Get pest and building inspections done
While some properties will already have a pest and building inspection pre-arranged or completed, it’s worthwhile to have your own inspections done before the final settlement to make sure you know about any areas of concern.
These reports are valuable protection against your best guess at what repairs may be needed and what work they’ll require. A smart buyer will put in the time to talk to experts and get quotes on work so they know exactly what they’re up for if they buy the property.
4. Take a second (closer) look
If you’ve found your dream property, it’s likely your first viewing gave you an emotional connection and you noticed all the things you love about it. The second viewing is about taking a closer look at the practical aspects a building report won’t cover such as if there are enough power points where you need them, is the décor to your taste or will it all need an upgrade, is the drive to work an easy one?
‘Other features to look for are if your furniture is going to fit, do the windows have awnings and the doors have a portico over them, are all the fences straight and intact?’ advises Ash.
‘These are things that will affect how you live in the house so take your time and have a good look at its details and what it would be like to live there.
‘If it needs some work, be realistic about those costs and your own ability to complete them. It’s so easy to brush off renovations and repairs as simple, but if you talk to anyone who’s done it the first thing they’ll tell you is that it cost more and took longer than they expected so be kind to yourself about those expectations.’
5. Refine your research
Now you’ve narrowed your search down to one property, how does it rate with other properties and recent sales in the area? The local real estate agent can give you excellent local knowledge so ask lots of questions.
‘At One Agency Orange we take time to talk to all our clients and happily share our expertise and insights into the market,’ says Ash. ‘That’s the kind of service you should be getting from your agent so use them as an up-to-date and valuable source of information.’
6. Talk to the neighbours
Most people are more than happy to talk about what life is like in their street so don’t be hesitant to knock on the neighbour’s doors and ask them how they like living there and if they know anything about the property you have your eye on.
7. Is it future-proof?
You’re most likely to have this property for many years, especially if you’re buying a home. While you’re weighing up how it suits you now, also give thought to how it’s going to suit you in the future. Is it the right size for a growing family – or will it be too big in a few years when your children are grown? Do you have aging parents who will need to be cared for? What are the predictions for demand trends if you’re buying a rental?
‘It’s easy to fall in love with a place because it’s so perfect for now,’ says Ash. ‘But will it still be perfect in three or five or ten years?
‘It’s worth taking time to talk about the property’s longevity. You may decide that the one you’re looking for as a forever home is actually a for-now home that can be smaller and less expensive because you don’t need to invest in your forever home just yet.’
Ready to get started?
Your local real estate agent is the best person to help you on your real estate journey. They know the areas you want to buy in and have years of experience in the buying and selling of property.
You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know who to call.
One Agency Orange’s short Armchair Open videos on our Facebook page are a great way to see properties currently on the market. Ash can walk you through our latest properties online or come and meet the team in person at our office in Summer Street. We’re Orange’s friendliest and most energetic agency.
Our service is all about making your real estate experience as stress-free as possible.
02 6362 9560 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Suite 7/230 Summer Street Orange NSW 2800
Find out more at Key Facts About Common Real Estate Contracts, An Insider’s Tips To Your First Auction, Four Things to Consider Before Buying a “Renovator’s Dream”, Become an Instant Expert in Buying Property, Property Market Trends 2023: Liveable Homes and Why Orange NSW as the Ultimate Tree Change!