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Questions to ask a real estate agent

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10 questions to ask when buying a home

Buying a house is a big deal, so it’s important to know the property inside and out. To make sure you’ve got your bases covered, here’s a list of questions you could ask the real estate agent.

1. Why is the house being sold?

Knowing why the current owner/s are selling could be your secret weapon when it comes to getting the best price. If they’ve already bought a new home, they could be keen to seal the deal. But if they’re still house hunting, you might have to play the long game.

2. How long has the property been up for sale?

The average Aussie house usually sells within the first month. If a place has been on the market for a while, it could be because they’re asking too much, there’s hidden defects or they haven’t found the right buyer. Get the full picture from the agent to make sure it’s the perfect place (and price) for you.

3. How old is it?

Knowing when the home was constructed could give you an insight into the building’s bones and if it needs major work. Things like updating plumbing or removing asbestos can be exxy, so having the heads up might help you plan for what’s to come.

4. Has it been renovated?

Dig up any info about past renos to make sure they’re council approved and built by the book. This could also give you an idea about old problems to make sure they’ve been fixed once and for all.

5. Does it have any planning restrictions?

Give the local council a buzz to check if the home has any building restrictions for extensions, or if it’s heritage listed. This could impact the changes you can make, like picking new paint colours for the home’s exterior.

6. How old are the appliances and major systems?

With every home there’s more than meets the eye, so find out what’s going on behind the walls and under the floors. If the hot water system or powerpoints need replacing, you might want to factor that into your budget before making an offer.

7. Are there any problems with the property?

Ask about issues like rising damp and leaks before you buy. To be super safe, you could get a strata or building report to find out what the experts have to say. This might save you money (and headaches) in the long run.

8. What’s included in the sale?

Things like shelving and curtains are often left behind but double-check with the agent what’s staying and going. Doing this will help avoid any extra expenses once it’s time to pick up the keys.

9. What are the council rates?

They change from suburb to suburb and get charged quarterly, so it’s a bright idea to ask for the deets upfront and factor these in as part of your ongoing costs.

10. Can I get a property sales report?

It could include recent sales in the neighbourhood which might help you figure out if the price is right. To do this, try comparing the cost per square metre. Here’s how:

The house next door is 100m2 and recently sold for $1 million, making it $10,000 per square metre. If the one you’re looking at is 90m2, you could expect to pay around the $900K mark ($10,000 x 90m2). But if they’re wanting more, ask the agent why.


Before you sign on the dotted line, get to know the place. Following our 10-question checklist is a great place to start. For more info, check out the sale documentation (or get your lawyer/conveyancer to) because the agent might not know the property as well as you think. Finding out everything up front might help you avoid any sneaky surprises and keep your budget game strong.

Ready to take the next step? Check out our epic interest rates and start your home loan application today.

 

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The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It doesn’t take account of any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice.