Tips to help you avoid snapping up a lemon
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.