Home-buying checklist – 10 things to consider before buying

homeBuying a home is a massive decision and it goes without saying that you want to have as much information as you can before deciding on “the one”.

While it might not be possible to list every single thing to check before buying, we have compiled a list of some of the most important things to look out for:

  1. The local neighbourhood – This might sound obvious, but it’s important that you know the area before you buy so you don’t end up disappointed by the area you have chosen. After a property inspection, go for a walk and sit down at a local café to get a feel for the area and whether you like spending time there. You’ll also want to research local schools and find out where public transport is. The website www.microburbs.com.au can provide a good overview of what can be found in the local area, as well as providing population statistics.
  1. Your finances – You really need to know what your borrowing capacity is before starting the house hunt. Many buyers have been caught out in the past by making offers that they ultimately can’t afford, which causes a multitude of problems for everyone. Save yourself the hassle and go and talk to a lender before making an offer or going to an auction. The team at Professionals Finance can help.
  1. Internet speeds – Fast Internet is an absolute must for most individuals. Make sure you check the Internet providers in your area and find out what is and isn’t available. This is particularly important if you need to work from home and slow or unreliable Internet won’t be suitable.
  1. Sales/rental history – Many property websites now offer property profiles that can let you know the sales and rental history of a property. The information provided on these websites can provide an interesting insight into the property’s history and some even provide past listing photos that allow you to compare changes to the property over time.
  1. Building quality – Always find out as much as you can about the place you intend to buy by getting a building report and pest inspection done, and a strata report if you intend to buy an apartment or unit. Building inspectors can find issues that might not be visible to the naked eye and alert you to anything that you might need to keep an eye on after buying.
  1. The neighbours – It’s always worth knocking on the neighbour’s door to get some feedback about the local area, and to find out whom you could be living next to. If you don’t like the neighbours then it’s better to find out now, rather than later on.
  1. Zoning or building restrictions – Any zoning or building restrictions might prevent you from doing major renovations or extensions, or that knock down-rebuild you had in mind. It’s also worth finding out about zoning to see if your neighbour’s house could become a block of apartments one day. Get information from the local council about any building or zoning restrictions on the property and surrounding areas that you need to be aware of.
  1. Future developments – To avoid any surprises after moving in, it’s a good idea to research planning approvals in the area and find out if construction is about to begin on any nearby developments. The last thing you want is to move in and then have a new shopping centre built behind your backyard.
  1. Capital growth potential – You might want to move out of your new home one day in the future, and if you ever do then you’ll obviously want your home to have gone up in value. Research past property growth in the area and whether there’s any new developments that will bring more jobs and people to the area, as this can be a good indicator of future price growth.
  1. The contract – Make sure you understand everything in the contract before signing. Check for things like inclusions and exclusions and have your solicitor or conveyancer review the contract for you. Keep in mind that you may be able to negotiate any terms in the contract that you are unhappy with.
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