In the previous article of this 3-part series on buying property, we shared tips on what you should look out for when searching for a home. Once you’ve found a home you like that’s based on what you can afford, the next steps are making an offer and negotiating a price.
Make an offer
Remember, the seller wants to get the best price possible, but is usually open to negotiate and settle for a lower offer. Research property prices in the area and chat to an estate agent to see what the value of the property is. Also ask the seller for their municipal property valuation (this is often lower than the real estate value).
House buying tip 1: Ask the seller why they want to sell. For example, if the seller is moving overseas and already have their immigration date set, they might be more willing to settle on a lower offer.
House buying tip 2: Make sure you have your deposit amount ready, as you will need this to secure the property. This amount is at least 10% of the purchase price.
Don’t worry if you and the seller have to negotiate a few times, but always keep your budget in mind. If you really want the property, you may have to settle on an affordable, but perhaps not your ideal, price.
House buying tip 3: Try to find out if anyone else is bidding on the property. Depending on how much you like the property, you may want to finalise a price as quickly as possible.
Sign an offer to purchase
Once you and the seller have agreed on a final price, you’ll sign an offer to purchase (OTP). It means that if your offer is accepted by the seller, you are legally bound to pay the amount offered.
House buying tip 4: Read through the OTP carefully before you sign it. The contract will list things like the conditions of the sale, and any faults or property defects. Also make sure you and the seller agree in the OTP who will pay for any outstanding repairs.
House buying tip 5: The OTP will determine when you take occupation of the property and which fittings and fixtures you will be entitled to (such as air conditioning units or light fixtures).
The transfer process
The transfer process involves you, the seller and a real estate agent, as well as property lawyers who deal with transfers, bonds and cancellations. The property lawyers will submit all the relevant documents to the Deeds Office to register your new home in your name. Once this is done, you are officially a homeowner!
House buying tip: Do not sign anything until you fully understand all the terms and conditions. Ask as many questions as you need to!
Payments and home maintenance
Always keep up with your monthly loan repayments. If you fall behind on your home loan, your property may be repossessed, so make managing your monthly expenses a priority. Maintain your home, as the value of your property will be affected by how well you look after it. For example, keep the roof in good repair and repaint the walls every few years.
Action your big goals
Setting realistic annual goals is a great way to help build the life and career you want. The more practical and informed your approach, the more likely you are to achieve your dreams. We’d like to help you reach at least one goal this year, so we’ve created a 3-part series of practical information and handy checklists for 4 major financial goals. Whether you want to buy a new car or home or save for your education or a dream holiday, we’ve got you covered.