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Are you looking to buy? The top questions you should ask an agent

By Therese Bolin

It’s no secret that attending open homes is a crucial step in the buying process. It’s not only a great way to get a good feel for the properties you are considering but also gain an understanding of the current market conditions.

Get your basics right first

Before starting your search, you need to determine what your non-negotiables are;
• What is your price range? Make sure you have finance pre-approved.
• What location(s) are you looking at?
• Do you want a house, duplex, apartment, land?
• How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want or need, now and in the future?
• Do you need parking?
• Are you willing to renovate?

At the open home

When you’ve decided on these points, and a have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, then you’re ready to hit open homes. At the inspection, make the most of your time and do a thorough inspection. Have a checklist with you if need be!
Here are the main items to look out for:
• Is there good natural light
• If the block is level or sloping; consider how this could affect future extensions or landscaping
• If the general layout of the rooms suits your family’s needs
• The working order of big-ticket items such as the plumbing and electrics
• The condition of the bathroom and kitchen (including appliances); and
• Any signs of dampness, mould or water damage
If the property ticks all – or most – of your boxes and you have a real interest in it, here are a few things you should ask the agent.

After the open home

What is the vendor’s price expectation, at or before the auction?
Ask for comparable sales in the area and how the owner has determined the asking price.

Is there a Strata, Building or Pest Report for the property and are there any known problems?
Unless the property is a complete knockdown, it is always advisable to obtain a Building and Pest Report, or Strata Report if you are inspecting an apartment.

Have any offers been made on the property and where would I need to be to better this offer?
If you’ve done your research, inspected the house and are genuinely interested in the property, then ask the agent this question. The agent may not disclose other offers, but you can get an idea of where you need to be, to be in the running and if the property is going to be in your budget.

How many contracts have been requested by other buyers? Have there been many second inspections?
This is another good indication of the level of genuine interest in the property you are considering.

Don’t keep your interest a secret
Always make sure you are open and transparent with the agent about your interest in a property so they can keep you updated with any offers made. Remember that it is in the agents best interest to achieve an excellent result for all parties if you start a line of communication with them they will keep you updated. They can also let you know when suitable homes are coming to market and make sure you are the first in line!

Also, a final note…
Leave plenty of time to ensure your finance is up to date, have a good line of communication established with your bank or broker and have that pre-approval sorted. If you are planning to bid at an auction, get in touch with them at least two weeks before to ensure everything is up-to-date and in order for unconditional approval.

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