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5 things people forget to consider when buying a house

Buying a home can be one of the most exciting, stressful, overwhelming and important moments of someone’s life.  There is often so much involved, people get caught up in the process and lose focus of the important things.  If you’re interested in the buying a home, whether now or in the future, to live in or for investment, make sure you give careful consideration to the following things:

Hidden Costs

When looking for a home, people tend to focus on the price of the house and the amount they can borrow.  Many buyers forget to factor in the additional costs that come up when purchasing a property.  These might include things like:

  • stamp duty
  • agent fees
  • lawyer fees
  • lenders mortgage insurance
  • building and pest inspections

The list could go on!

It is also equally as important to consider the costs that come with owning the home you’re wanting to purchase.  Mortgage repayments are only one aspect.  Things like:

  • Council Rates
  • Utility bills
  • Body corporate fees
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Renovations etc.

can add up quickly so make sure you take everything into consideration when planning your finances.

What is the neighbourhood like? 

While most people think this is something to do after you move, talking to the neighbours of a property you want to purchase is a great way to get a feel of the area.  You can find out things like:

  •  If there are neighbourhood disputes or everyone gets along
  • Whether it’s relatively noisy or quiet street
  • If there has been any recent crime or if it’s a problem free zone etc.

Location, Location, Location!

Depending on your needs, requirements for location will vary.  Prioritise what’s important to you before you begin looking and have those factors firm in your mind.   How important is its proximity to things like:

  • Shopping centres
  • Grocery stores
  • Cafes
  • Schools
  • Public transport

Is it okay to drive to those areas or do you need to be able to walk?  Is there sufficient parking around the property?   These small factors that are often overlooked can create a lot of difficulty after you move in if not thoroughly considered beforehand.

Cosmetic vs Crucial

Don’t be dissuaded by things like paint colours, décor and simple fittings.  The colour of the rooms can be changed easily but the floor plan can cost tens of thousands in renovation costs.  If the shower fittings aren’t to your liking, that’s okay, but the water pressure available might be harder to change.  Conversely, a home that might look amazing at first glance could still have major problems below the surface.  That is why it is important to get professional inspectors to survey the property before you purchase.  Always make sure to keep an open and mind and a sharp eye when looking for a home.

Timeframes

Once you purchase a home, there is usually a cooling off period of a specified time (usually 5 days).  Within that time there will also be an allocated amount of time to get things done like pre-purchase building and pest inspections, environmental checks, susceptibility to flooding etc.  This is usually around 5-7 days.  Make sure you are aware of these time frames and organise yourself enough time to get the inspection done receive the report and think about your decision or have enough time to do any further investigations if necessary.

5 questions to ask yourself before buying

When buying, there are many things you may need to think about.

When you’re buying a home, you (or your building inspector) will most likely identify something that you wish wasn’t there; damp wood, termites, leakage, or a frame with damaged structure. The simple fact is no home has a clean bill of health, especially if you’re looking to buy an 80-year-old Queensland home.

All properties have their own issues and a building and pest inspection will be able to measure the severity of them. A building and pest report will specifically outline any ongoing maintenance needed and a checklist of what to tackle in priority, should you go ahead and purchase the property.

Ideally, what you as a buyer wants from a building and pest report is for it to identify whether the property you wish to buy is better than/on par/worse than other properties in the area. For example, if you are buying an 80-year-old Queenslander, it will more than likely show signs of termite, borer and fungal decay damage and water ingress from aging roofs and bathrooms – where as a newly built home won’t.

Your building inspector will be able to identify whether there is any structural damage to be concerned about. They can also tell whether past damage has been rectified in an appropriate way; and how well the property has been maintained by its previous owners. Good building inspectors will meetnyou at the property so they can talk you through the inspection as they go. They will be able to identify the condition of the house on the spot; tell you how it stacks up for a property of its age and give you an honest opinion on the condition of the property.

Make sure you ensure the report you receive from your building and pest inspector is put into context. Don’t be scared of what is in the report but also don’t ignore it and go on to buy another property without engaging in a building and pest inspection. These reports are here to help you understand the condition of the property you are buying.

Still concerned? Ask yourself these 5 questions to help make your buying decision:

1.      How does this property compare to others of a similar age and style, in a similar location?
2.      What issues need to be dealt with before moving into the property?
3.      What is the likely cost of each issue identified in the building and pest report?
4.      Do you see any ongoing, costly maintenance issues?
5.      Would you let your son/daughter buy this house?

What makes a good building inspection report?

Whether you are buying your dream home or an investment property, a building inspection report will help determine the health and value of the house and ultimately assist you in your buying decision.

As an independent information tool, a building inspection report should include enough information for you to be aware of the property’s condition and know any complications that are present or could eventually occur. If the house has termite damage or structural decay, you are better of knowing before you buy as it may determine your overall buying decision, or allow you to address the damage before it gets too bad to repair.

A good building inspection report will clearly set out the areas within the property which were inspected, inaccessible or obstructed and therefore not inspected. Some building reports will include a visual inspection but this alone can be limiting and make it hard to identify any structural or hidden damage of the property.

Remember, the format and amount of details in the building inspection report will be dependent on the type of property which is being inspected; its size, age and condition. To give you an idea of what to expect, a building inspection report from APM Solutions is formatted into six sections;

  • Service Details
  • Inspection Summary
  • Building and Inspection Report
  • Building Maintenance Responsibilities
  • Property Reporting Terms and Definitions
  • Overall Report

A good building inspection report should be clear, concise, easy to read and always in compliance with the Australian Standard AS 4349.1. Building inspections aren’t just for home buyers. Thinking of selling or renovating? Get a FREE Building Inspection quote with APM Solutions today.

Is your property smoke alarm compliant?

Are you a first time investor and not sure if your smoke alarms are compliant in your rental property?

Not to worry, we’re here to help. Currently, property owners are required to install smoke alarms in all domestic dwellings.

They must also abide by the following:

  • The smoke alarms must comply with Australian Standard 3786-1993 and be installed outside sleeping areas with one on each level of the dwelling
  • The smoke alarms must be replaced before the end of their service life (smoke alarms are required to have a recommended service life of at least 10 years under normal conditions of use)
  • All smoke alarms must be tested and cleaned and any flat or nearly flat batteries replaced within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy.

However, during February 2016, the Queensland Government moved to mandate the installation of photoelectric, hard wired smoke alarms in all bedrooms, living areas and escape paths in every Queensland dwelling. This was in response to the 150 deaths caused by house fires since 2004 and in particular, the 2011 Slacks Creek fire which claimed 11 lives including eight children.

Once the new legislation is passed, landlords will have five years to implement the below at their investment properties:

  • All dwellings will have to install additional smoke alarms in every bedroom, between areas containing bedrooms, in any hallway servicing bedrooms and in any other storey of a residential dwelling.
  • All the smoke alarms will need to be interconnected and either hard-wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery
  • All installed smoke alarms will need to meet minimum performance standards with photoelectric type smoke alarms acting as the performance baseline. Photoelectric smoke alarms detect visible particles of combustion and therefore react faster to smoldering fires.  They are also considered to be more reliable and less likely to produce false alarms, such as food burning during the cooking process.
  • If replacing an existing smoke alarm, homeowners will be required to purchase and install a photoelectric smoke alarm.

Click here for more information on smoke alarms or visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website.