Your home is likely to be the biggest asset you ever own, and although buying and selling property is an exciting venture, there are several things that should be kept in mind before entering into a property transaction. Here is a list of our top five things to consider before your sale and purchase agreement goes unconditional:
- Engage a Good Solicitor
We may be biased, but having an experienced solicitor guide you through a sale and purchase is an invaluable asset. Your solicitor can assist you in all aspects of the transaction and will know the common pitfalls/issues to be aware of before you enter an agreement. Even if you do not have a solicitor acting at the time of entering the agreement, you will need to engage one straight after.
Most people do not simply have enough cash lying around to fully satisfy the purchase price of a property and will need a bank loan to finance their agreement. As a rule of thumb, a bank will ordinarily require a 10% deposit but this may be subject to a number of criteria, for example the location of the property, the value of the property and how much you can repay each month. Bear in mind that your bank may impose a number of further conditions before they are willing to finance your purchase, for example they will most likely want a valuer's report for the property, which will need to be obtained at your cost. Provided you have met all their conditions, a bank will often "pre-approve" a certain amount prior to you making an offer on a property or bidding at an auction.
- Council File/LIM/Title
The information contained in these resources could potentially impact your future enjoyment of the property and are a "must" before you consider purchasing a property. Looking through the Council files will give you an idea of rates for the property, works carried out on the property and restrictions on land and building if you have future projects in mind. A Title search will let you know if there are any encumbrances on the Title, which might prevent a smooth settlement and could require the attention of the vendor before the purchase is unconditional.
- Building Report
Checking for dampness in the era of "leaky homes" has become part and parcel of the sale and purchase process. This is especially the case for homes built from the early to mid-1990's - 2004. Even if a property does not show outward signs of being leaky, there may still be hidden problems that arise later on, having a huge effect on your health and your wallet.
- Structuring Your Purchase
Purchasing or selling your home may be an ideal time to consider how you structure the ownership of your assets. If you are self-employed or wish to protect your assets in the most robust way possible, purchasing your new home through a family trust could be the best approach.