7 Must-ask questions when buying a property
If you’re serious about buying a property, knowledge is power – that means asking loads of questions before signing dotted lines.
But often the biggest mistake people make when buying a house is becoming emotionally attached before asking all the key questions about the property. Once you get to settlement day it’s too late to ask and all the problems with the home are now your responsibility.
We ask industry experts to reveal the must-ask questions every home buyer and investor needs to ask.
1.Can you show me a recent property sales report to show what the house is worth?
This is one of the most important questions but many people don’t think to ask it, says Buyer’s Agent Stefan Miraglia, Director of IPC Property in Adelaide.
“You should question the agent on why they think the house is worth what they are selling it for,” Miraglia says. “Ask them to provide you with a recent sales report that shows other similar properties and what they sold for in recent times. “You want to make sure the house you are buying is fairly priced compared to the rest of the local market and you are not overpaying.”
- Why is the vendor selling?
The answer to this question can assist you when negotiating price, according to Buyer’s Agent Deborah West, Principal of Sydney Slice Buyers Agent. It can potentially save you thousands of dollars when you go to negotiate the sale price.
- How long has the property been on the market?
If a property has been on the market for more than six weeks, assume it is wrongly priced or there is something wrong with it, West says. The average time a home is on the market in Australia is around a month so if it’s drastically different to that then it’s worth asking why.
- Are there any known issues with the property, land or neighbours’ properties?
There might be something that you haven’t noticed that could affect the value of the property so it is important to ask the agent if there are any issues that could change your mind. “Even though your building inspector or conveyancer should help pick up most of the potential issues before settlement, you should ask the agent before signing the contract just in case they can point anything out,” Miraglia says. While you shouldn’t rely on it and need to do independent research: “Most agents want to act in good faith as they want the sale to go through so will tell you upfront if they know of any issues that may affect your decision.”
- Can I afford to buy this property?
It sounds like an obvious question. But Miraglia questions how many owner-occupiers and investors actually ask this before buying a house. “Buying a house is an expensive process and can be quite costly if you have to sell it six months later because you can’t afford the repayments,” he says.
“Remember, the bank might approve you for a certain home loan amount but will this mean you can still afford the same lifestyle you were used to?”
- Am I really happy with this house and its location?
Buying a house is super exciting but can also be stressful and time-consuming. And that can make buyers vulnerable to making mediocre choices. “Spending weekends going to open inspections is challenging and after potentially missing out on a few houses, you might jump at the next one that comes along and find yourself hastily signing a contract,” Miraglia warns. “It’s important to strongly consider your decision to sign a contract on a house and make sure that it is the right house for you, not the house that is right now!”
- Why am I buying?
It’s often the simplest questions we forget to ask ourselves. If you don’t know the answer clean and simple, it is not time to buy a property.“Will it be your own home or will it be an investment? It is very important to know the answer to this question,” Sapounas says. “If it will be your own home then its price will become secondary to finding the right features and location for your budget. “If it will be an investment then the price is everything because that will determine its return.
“It is crucial to know why you are buying – you usually cannot have both in one property.”
Author by: Caroline James