secret weapon
Investing in property is a big decision that can keep even the most seasoned property investor awake at night. How do you know if you’ve got your investment strategy right? How can you make sure you’re choosing the right property? Where can you find the time to do the necessary research? What is the right price to pay?

A good buyer’s agent is the property investor’s secret weapon. They provide professional guidance on every aspect of your property investment journey, with the objective of saving you time, money and many sleepless nights. A buyer’s agent can help you take a more professional, balanced approach to your property investment activities, removing the emotional aspects of the process and saving you from the natural human tendency to make unwise, impulsive decisions under pressure.

What does a buyer’s agent do?
Buyer’s agents specialise in representing a buyer’s interests during a property purchase. Whilst they are most commonly used by property investors, buyer’s agents are also frequently used by families searching for exactly the right home, and people moving interstate or overseas, making the process much easier by doing all the leg-work and narrowing down the options.

Buyer’s agents usually offer differing levels of service, depending on your requirements. The full service covers every aspect of the property investment journey including:

  • Formulating an investment strategy that maximises your funds
  • Searching for suitable properties to fit your buying strategy
  • Researching every aspect of a property to ensure profitability
  • Arranging inspections with vendors and real estate agents
  • Negotiating a price and terms of sale
  • Bidding at auctions on your behalf
  • Co-ordinating your professional team – solicitors, mortgage brokers etc.
  • Ongoing service to help you establish a complete portfolio.

Getting the property research and selection process right is arguably the most important part of your property investment journey. It certainly takes the most amount of time and getting the right information requires a certain amount of know-how too. A professional buyer’s agent knows which questions to ask and where to look for the answers. They can often access information from developers, councils and other relevant bodies that is not readily available to the ordinary consumer.

However, you don’t necessarily need to engage the full services of a buyer’s agent. You can also engage a buyer’s agent just to do research for you, to negotiate a price for you, or to bid for you at an auction if you would rather not do it yourself. This can be a good idea if you are nervous, inexperienced, you can’t attend the auction yourself, or you feel you may get carried away by the auction process and pay too much.

How much does a buyer’s agent cost?
There are many buyer’s agents and the cost will vary according to the agent you choose, your location and your requirements. Qualified, professional buyer’s agents generally charge between 1.5  – 3% + GST of the purchase price of the property for their full services, however this can often be negotiated in favour of a flat fee and savings may be obtained if you are planning on purchasing multiple properties.

When providing a research service only, a negotiating service only, or a bidding service only, your buyer’s agent will usually charge a fee for their time. Again this will vary according to the agent, the location and your requirements. You can generally expect these services to cost around $1,000 + GST depending on how much of their time you require.

If you are purchasing a property for investment purposes, the cost of a buyer’s agent is generally tax deductible as are most of the professional services you will require as part of the process.

How do you find a good buyer’s agent?
A good way to locate a great buyer’s agent is by word of mouth – there’s nothing like a recommendation from a friend, colleague or trusted business advisor (like your mortgage broker) to make you feel confident about someone’s credentials. However, you can also find some reputable buyer’s agents through the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) website.

Sometimes, outsourcing is the sensible option
Engaging a buyer’s agent can save you hours of time and loads of stress. If you’re new to property investment, then a buyer’s agent can also be invaluable in helping you to avoid costly mistakes. When you do find a property you want to buy, all the hard work in locating it can easily be lost in the final hurdle – the purchasing process. Having an expert on your side to negotiate the price you need, or to bid for you at the auction, can reduce the risks and make all the difference. Using a buyer’s agent is one case where outsourcing can take a lot of the frustration out of the process!

For more information, or to get your property investment finance in place, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

offplam
When you’re looking to buy a property, a genuine bargain is the ultimate Holy Grail. We all want to buy at less than market value – and this is exactly the reason why it hardly ever happens. Buying off the plan has the possibility of being the one exception, particularly in a rising property market. It offers buyers an opportunity to put down a deposit at today’s prices on a property that is not yet built, in anticipation that it will have significantly increased in value by the time it is completed and settlement is due.

It sounds simple, right? In fact, buying a property off the plan can be a lot more complicated than it may first appear. In this article we give you five tips on how to get it right.

What is buying off the plan?
Buying off the plan means signing a contract with a developer to purchase a property that has not yet been built. Instead of inspecting a completed home, you choose the property by inspecting the developer’s designs and plans, or by visiting a demonstration home or show room. Apartments are the most common type of off-the-plan property purchase, however you can often buy units, duplexes and townhouses that are a part of a larger development.

Tip #1. Do your research.
Putting down your deposit on a property that proves to be worth less than the original agreed purchase price could be a disaster, as you may not be able to get the finance you need to complete the sale. That’s why it is vitally important to do your research very carefully to ensure you’re buying a property that will have the value you expect when the purchase is completed.

To be sure you get it right, you should research the suburb’s capital growth rates and rental yields. You should also find out how many other, similar developments are planned to find out how this will affect sale prices, clearance rates and vacancy rates in the area.

Tip #2. Reference check the developer.
Choosing the right developer is just as important as choosing the right property. Everyone has heard stories about dodgy property developers and the way to avoid being caught out is to reference check them carefully.

Do a background check on the developer for bankruptcy, criminal record, complaints with your local building authority and ask to speak with previous clients. Ask the developer how long they have been in the industry, how many projects they have completed and visit their previous work to inspect the quality. Find out what professional industry associations they have.

Most importantly, ask the developer to provide proof of their financial status. You don’t want to run the risk of the developer going into liquidation before the property is finished.

Tip #3. Be sure of what you’re buying.
When buying off the plan, it pays to be very thorough and detail minded. You need to determine exactly what you are going to be getting for your money, so ask a lot of questions about what is covered by the purchase price and what isn’t. You should be careful to ensure that everything your developer agrees to provide is written down in the contract. Be as detailed as you possibly can in every respect.

Tip #4. Get a solicitor to check the contract.
Because they are so very detailed and comprehensive, contracts for off the plan purchases can be complex and lengthy. To make sure everything is correct, take the contract to a solicitor you can trust to check it carefully. Read it yourself and ask your solicitor to explain anything you don’t understand before you sign on the dotted line.

Tip #5. Pre-inspect prior to settlement.
Another thing that you must remember to include in your contract is a pre-settlement inspection. This will give you the opportunity to go in and check that everything the developer has agreed to deliver is there in the property. You can also take along a building inspector to help you check for defects or finishes that are not up to standard. If everything is not in order, you can delay settlement until the developer rectifies the problem. Including a pre-settlement inspection in your contract is essential to protecting yourself from having to take possession of an uncompleted property. You don’t want to hand over your money until you are completely satisfied you’re getting everything you’re paying for.

If you’re considering buying off the plan, it’s also a good idea to get pre-approval on a loan before you sign the contract. You can then keep this up to date whilst the property is being constructed to be sure you can get finance when needed. We’re here to help you crunch the numbers and make sure it’s the right purchase for you, so please call us today.

august newsletter picture
Whilst our property markets have cooled somewhat over winter, last week’s rate cut from the RBA looks all set to motivate buyers and reignite property market activity in time for spring

At its August meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points to just 1.50 per cent. This follows a rate cut in May this year, bringing the official cash rate to its lowest point ever on record!  The RBA has indicated that it’s now waiting for more information regarding global currency market activity before it will decide if further cuts to the cash rate will be necessary in 2016.

This month’s move was prompted by low inflation figures for the June quarter, which indicated a weakening trend, well under the RBA’s target range of 2 per cent.  The Australian dollar also remains stubbornly high compared to other currencies, which tends to have a dampening effect on the economy.

Property market activity has cooled during winter, which is traditionally the case for this time of year. For the week ending July 31, Victoria’s auction market was the strongest, with 754 scheduled auctions and a clearance rate of 75 per cent. NSW held 509 auctions with a clearance rate of 78 per cent. Queensland only scheduled 156 auctions and the clearance rate was quite low at just 49 per cent. South Australia had 107 auctions and a clearance rate of 69 per cent. Western Australia scheduled 34 auctions and achieved a clearance rate of only 37 per cent. Northern Territory had only 8 auctions and a clearance rate of just 25 per cent. ACT held 43 auctions, with a clearance rate of 74 per cent and whilst Tasmania held 7 auctions, none of the properties registered as sold.

With the overall weakening of property sales during winter, home value increases have also slowed. The biggest increase for the month was in Adelaide, where home values rose 1.42 per cent. Home values in Sydney increased by 1.25 per cent, in Hobart by 1.12 per cent and in Melbourne, 1.11 per cent. All other markets showed very marginal decreases in home values, except for Darwin where there was a significant drop of 6.18 per cent.

This month’s cash rate cut, combined with the decline in market activity for winter, has stimulated  lenders to offer some extremely competitive interest rates and great special offers. Smaller lenders have passed on the full rate cut, so if you’ve been waiting for the right time to refinance your home loan or fix your interest rate, then this could be it! We can also access great rates for first home buyers, next home buyers and property investors, so give us a call now to check out what we can do for you and find out how much money you could save.

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Did you know that termites damage more than 180,000 homes and buildings around Australia every year?

That the high prevalence of rats and mice in Australian homes is a major factor in the distribution of food poisoning organisms like salmonella? Clearly, if you’re thinking about buying a property, the value of an independent building and pest inspection report can’t be understated!

Reduce your financial risks.

Buying a property can be a very emotional decision and it’s easy to forget about looking for defects when you finally find a property you love. But the reality is that all property buyers should obtain an independent building and pest inspection report in order to remain sensible and objective about the property they’re purchasing and reduce the risk of incurring expensive repair bills down the track.

A building and pest inspection report will provide you with a professional’s evaluation of the condition of the property you are purchasing. They will provide you with a visual review of all elements of the property including structural inspections of the exterior roof, interior roof spaces and eaves, foundations, subfloor, wiring, interior plumbing, sheds and pergolas, fireplaces, electrical and air conditioning systems. Your report can also cover things like windows, doors, flooring, ceilings and other temporary fittings and so on. If you have any particular concerns about a property you are looking to buy, you can mention them to your inspector and they will take special care to put your concerns to rest.

There are three good financial reasons why you should get a building and pest inspection report:

  1. To check for structural and pest issues, so you are able to budget for rectifying them.
  2. To use the information to negotiate a lower price, or for repairs to be completed before you purchase the property.
  3. To find out if the problems are so severe that they may adversely affect the property’s future resale value, or be so expensive to repair that you may be put off purchasing the property entirely.

Ideally, a building inspection should be performed before you sign a Contract of Sale, or prior to auction if that is going to be the method of sale. When you’re not buying at auction, it is standard practice to insert a clause into the Contract of Sale stating that the purchase is subject to building and pest inspection reports.

Even new build homes can have problems.

Whilst it’s true that structural defects, termite damage and pest infestations tend to be more common in older homes, unfortunately even new-build properties can come with issues. If the property is new, paying for a fully comprehensive building inspection report is still a good idea because it will ensure that the building has been finished correctly according to the building plans and help you identify any problems the builder has overlooked or any issues that may not be covered under the building warranty.

When it comes to pest problems, these tend to be endemic to areas and their prevalence will have as much to do with where the property is located, as the property’s age. In many areas, homes under construction are extremely vulnerable to termite attack and other pest issues such as rats and mice.

A few hundred dollars could save you thousands.

Depending on the location and size of your home, a building and pest inspection report can cost anywhere from $300 for your average suburban home to $600 or more for larger properties or ones located in a rural location. However taking the precaution of getting a building and pest inspection report before you buy could save you a great deal of money and hassle.

When a professional building and pest inspector comes across a problem that may be significant, they will recommend you seek further advice from an appropriate professional before proceeding with the purchase. Depending on the nature of the defect and the extent of the damage, you can get quotes to make repairs or simply walk away from the deal if it is too hard.

For more information about locating a reputable company or qualified building industry professional to perform your building and pest inspections, please give us a call. We maintain relationships with many professional companies relating to the purchase of your home, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a referral if you require any assistance.


Copyright 2016