5 Questions To Ask Before Buying

Before you even consider making an offer on a property, there are a few vital questions you need to ask your real estate agent to get the right information. According to the Real Estate Buyers Agent Association of Australia (REBAA), asking the right questions can help buyers get ahead of the pack as competition tightens in many parts of Australia. Knowing what to ask is essential – here are the top 5 questions.

Knowing What to Ask Can Help You Buy Your Dream Home

Before you even consider making an offer on a property, there are a few vital questions you need to ask your real estate agent to get the right information.

Agents are obliged to truthfully answer any questions so knowing exactly what to ask is essential to a successful purchase.

According to the Real Estate Buyers Agent Association of Australia (REBAA), asking the right questions can help buyers get ahead of the pack as competition tightens in many parts of Australia.

“The questions every buyer should ask a real estate agent are the questions that the average buyer wouldn’t readily know the answers to,” said REBAA spokesperson Byron Rose.

“Practical considerations can impact greatly on the selling price, and its potential resale value should be considered prior to purchase.

“The important thing to remember in a competitive market is not to let emotion take over and overvalue the property. We buy houses in Jacksonville Florida.

“You don’t want to be left with a property that is not going to be suitable for your long-term needs and you certainly don’t want to inherit other people’s problems.”

Below are the top five question that the RE-BAA recommends you ask before signing anything.

How did you price this house?

Typically, Mr Rose says, houses are much harder to value than units where buyers can easily compare like for like. By asking an agent how they put a value on the house, they are then obliged to provide a list of comparable properties in the area and present their justification for the asking price. Mr Rose reminds buyers that your number one priority is to make sure you are not overpaying and you are getting good value for money. The only way to do this is to research comparable houses and selling prices in the area.

How long has this property been on the market?

The length of time a property has been up on the market is a good indication of how ‘stale’ the property may be. A long time on the market means buyers have not viewed it favorably and this could impact on the sale price. The RE-BAA says that buyers should also ask whether the property has been listed with any other agents prior and whether it has been on the market previously in the past year. This is a good gauge as to whether the property may be overpriced and whether the vendor may be more motivated to sell.

When was the last time the property was sold?

The selling history of a house can tell a buyer many things. If it has exchanged owners several times in a short period, this could tell the buyer that there may be problems associated with the house that are not immediately obvious. Some examples of this could be potential flooding, plumbing issues or even bad neighbors. In addition, Mr Rose says understanding what it was last traded for, along with the expectation on price, will provide you with insight as to how the house has performed.

What are the reasons for selling?

It is always important to know the reason the owners are moving on, the RE-BAA warns. Often knowing the reasons for selling can help with the negotiation. If the owners are deemed ‘motivated’ to move on – they have bought elsewhere or they are in the middle of a property dispute – then the balance of power could swing favorably towards the buyer.

What improvements have been made to the house and have they been approved by council?

The sales price history of the house may not reflect a recent renovation or extension and therefore this will need to be factored in to your offer price. Likewise, any extension will need to have the appropriate certifications from council. Your solicitor or legal representation should be vigilant on this point.

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Keeping up Appearances on Your Investment Property

Once you buy a home for investment and find suitable tenants, it’s tempting to kick back and just let the rent roll in, seldom checking up on the house or the market. However, if you’re managing the property yourself it is important to conduct the following ongoing maintenance, for both peace of mind and your home’s health.

Keep a Professional Relationship with your Tenants

Once you buy a home for investment and find suitable tenants, it’s tempting to kick back and just let the rent roll in, seldom checking up on the house or the market. However, if you’re managing the property yourself it is important to conduct the following ongoing maintenance, for both peace of mind and your home’s health.

Now, this doesn’t mean go out for coffee every other week, discussing any work that needs to be done with the tenants. It does mean keeping an open line of contact with them, however. Make sure to have up-to-date contact details for your tenants so you can get a hold of them if you have any concerns, and vice versa.

Checking in every month or two through email could be an option, as it opens a channel for any issues to be dealt with effectively. Tenants can often be nervous about making a phone call if a repair needs to be made, and email provides a professional contact point that they may be more comfortable using – especially Gen Y renters

Visit the Market

While that clear contact with tenants is vital, always remember that you are running a business. Your investment property brings you income and that should be your priority – as a landlord, you should be ready to adjust rent if appropriate when renewing a lease. If rental prices in your area are skyrocketing, consider adjusting yours to take advantage – but not by too much, or you may scare off the current tenants.

Small, reasonable increases should be met favorably as long as you continue providing an excellent place to live. Try checking out similar rental properties in the area for comparison on what they provide, and how much they cost. Stay on top of market trends – residential property prices jumped more than 3 per cent in Sydney, almost 2 per cent in Brisbane and 1.3 per cent in Melbourne just over the June 2014 quarter, according to the Housing Industry Association. Will these higher values impact how much your charge tenants?

Inspect Regularly

Not every tenant is going to be up-front about any work that needs doing, and you need to take care of your property. Make sure to run an inspection of the property every few months to check up on the condition of your home. Make sure to have taken photographs of the house before people moved in, both as a template and evidence if need be.

Owning these properties is an ongoing job, but keeping your investment in top condition means you will be able to reap larger rental yields for longer – which is absolutely worth the extra effort for now.

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