When thinking about buying a property, it’s wise to surround yourself with experts. Here’s who you need on your side.
Buying a property is one of the biggest financial decisions you’re ever going to make. So it’s smart to surround yourself with the right team to help you along the way.
"Having the right people in your corner will help you make good decisions,” says Wendy Brown, Head of Broker Home Loans at Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group, “and it’ll help the process run more smoothly, too."
So, who should be in your corner?
The mortgage broker/home lending specialist
“Mortgage brokers work with you to ensure your home loan suits the needs and objectives in your life,” says Peter White, Managing Director of the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA).
“A good broker will ensure they are by your side throughout the entire process, from looking at lending options that suit your needs, all the way through to the settlement of your loan.”
A lending specialist will be able to identify the loan features most suitable for you and your circumstances. Investors may find a fixed rate loan that allows them to 'set and forget' suits best. Owner occupiers may prefer to make extra repayments or allocate savings to an offset or redraw facility, so they pay less interest over the life of their loan.
It's a good idea to speak with a mortgage broker or lending specialist early in the process to ensure you have realistic expectations of how much you can afford and what options are available.
The buyers’ agent
Buyers' agents can visit properties for you and help shortlist those that might fit your requirements. They have strong connections with real estate agents and an intimate understanding of the markets in which they operate.
“Many buyers, particularly in the larger cities, don't have the time to get around six or seven open homes a day,” says Adrian Kelly, chair of the Real Estate Institute of Australia. “Buyers’ agents can do all of that for you, and they’re also experienced in the transactional process so they could save you time and money.”
Another area buyers’ agents can help is on auction day.
“Buyers’ agents obviously cost money,” says Brown. “But if you go to auction and are nervous about doing the bidding yourself, a buyers’ agent can do it for you.”
The real estate agent
Of course, real estate agents work for the seller, but they can also give buyers valuable information.
Real estate agents can provide an overview of past sales, which helps identify the price a property may go for. They will have access to current and historical sales data and a strong understanding of the suburb and its demographics.
“I think real estate agents can be a tremendous source of information for buyers,” says Kelly. “It’s smart to use them to get context around what’s going on in the suburb, and how the market is performing. Good real estate agents will give you access to information that could help you make smarter decisions.”
The structural surveyor
So you've identified a property that seems just right. But what lies beneath its appealing exterior? For a few hundred dollars, it's worth hiring a structural surveyor and a pest inspector to examine the property before you buy.
The Law Society of NSW reminds buyers that when you sign a contract, you're expected to take the property as it stands, defects and pest infestations included. Pre-purchase inspections can identify problems before you sign.
If it turns out the place is riddled with termites or needs a new roof, you might be able to negotiate a lower sales price to account for the failings. If the problem is severe enough, you might be persuaded to walk away.
Before you sign anything, you'll want to engage a solicitor to advise you on the legal aspects of the purchase process and transaction.
A solicitor will act in your interests to make sure you understand and are not disadvantaged by the sales contract.
They will conduct background checks on the property with council and government departments, looking at details such as zoning, land tax and transport proposals that might affect the property.
They can also help you understand your obligations under the mortgage and assist you in claiming any government grants to which you're entitled.
A solicitor will represent you at the settlement when the property title – or ownership – changes hands. It's rarely necessary for you to be at the settlement yourself.
Finding the right people to help your property purchase
When it comes to finding the right people to form your A-team, word of mouth recommendations are always a good place to start. Ask your friends and family who they used when they purchased property, and if they had a great experience, consider contacting those people to form your dream team.
- Buying property isn’t something you should do alone – surround yourself with knowledge.
- Speak with a mortgage broker or lending specialist early on to assess your borrowing capacity.
- A buyers’ agent can view properties for you, and even bid for you on auction day.
- A real estate agent can help give insight into the local market.
- A surveyor and solicitor are also key people to have in your property buying corner.
- Ask for word of mouth recommendations from friends and family.
We’re in your corner – talk to one of our lending specialists on 13 62 27.