Tips to help you avoid snap­ping up a lemon

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - News - An­drew Win­ter is host of Sell­ing Houses Aus­tralia.

HAVE you re­cently bought a prop­erty and en­joyed a sur­prise-free ex­pe­ri­ence — or was it more stress­ful than a di­vorce?

Did you end up feel­ing you paid too much and are now re­sid­ing in a home that is an un­de­sir­able blend of com­pro­mises and hid­den ter­mite dam­age?

This ques­tion has been asked by prop­erty re­search an­a­lysts CoreLogic in a re­port due to be re­leased next month, look­ing at how buy­ers found their re­cent home-buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

From the data I have seen, the re­sponses vary greatly, from pos­i­tive feed­back to frus­tra­tion, dis­may and a lack of faith in the sys­tem and some real es­tate agents.

When you sell a home we all know the ba­sics, the golden rules about your prop­erty be­ing clean and tidy, de­clut­tered and pre­pared for sale.

The same should ap­ply when you buy. Al­ways do your re­search on the mar­ket, phys­i­cally in­spect the home, have the struc­ture and ti­tle re­searched and al­ways try to ne­go­ti­ate. The data re­vealed some had for­got­ten these rules, but I want to fo­cus on the more for­got­ten fac­tors that can re­ally pre­vent buyer re­morse.

Select empty prop­er­ties to avoid hor­rors hid­den by ap­pli­ances or fur­ni­ture. While this is not re­al­is­tic in a pure sense, it brings to light a valid is­sue. A lack of power points in rooms, damp, mould and signs of ter­mite dam­age can all be dis­guised with items that make ev­ery­thing look great on the sur­face. So look care­fully.

Get a pro­fes­sional quote to paint the whole place be­fore mov­ing, in­stead of as­sum­ing it’s af­ford­able.

Of­ten, paint­ing is brushed aside as a mi­nor project, and it can be. How­ever, even if you can do it your­self, paint is ex­pen­sive and you need lad­ders and equip­ment plus con­sid­er­able time and ef­fort. With older prop­er­ties you could find the sur­faces are poor and plenty of work is re­quired.

Sales agents need to know about the age of build­ings, past re­pairs and lat­est im­prove­ments.

Any agent should know their list­ing in­side and out. If they can’t an­swer all your ques­tions, they should of­fer to find out for you. If you have any con­cerns re­lat­ing to dis­putes, the im­me­di­ate sur­rounds of the prop­erty or re­stric­tions/ con­di­tions, voice them. Do not re­lax just be­cause it is a rel­a­tively new home.

Visit the area at dif­fer­ent times and talk to the neigh­bours. This can re­veal that the quiet street you view on a Satur­day af­ter­noon in­spec­tion be­comes a night­mare rat run at peak hours dur­ing the week. Or the am­ple on­street park­ing dur­ing the week be­comes a 1.5km walk on the week­end.

A peace­ful neigh­bour­hood may not be so quiet all the time. So talk to the neigh­bours. Knock­ing on doors is the best way, but it takes a brave soul to do that so on­line lo­cal com­mu­nity fo­rums can be an in­cred­i­ble in­sight into an area’s good and bad points.

Avoid auc­tions where pos­si­ble and mis­trust quoted prices even more than be­fore.

Many neg­a­tive com­ments were ex­pressed in the data, not so much about the auc­tion process it­self, but more about pric­ing. It would seem all the re­cent bizarre state leg­is­la­tion

such as ban­ning of­fers over, or it be­ing il­le­gal to dis­cuss price guides for auc­tion list­ings, is not help­ing any buy­ers … sur­prise, sur­prise. Buy­ers just want trans­parency, so agents not an­swer­ing ques­tions re­lat­ing to price or un­der quot­ing, or quot­ing silly sky high prices are all very frus­trat­ing prac­tices for buy­ers to have to com­pre­hend. Faced with an un­priced home or one that ap­pears too cheap, or too ex­pen­sive, buy­ers just have to work twice as hard to dis­cover a fig­ure. Re­mem­ber though that even af­ter all that, it does not mean the seller will agree.

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