How to avoid costly mistakes in the rush to buy property

Buyers are being warned about making costly mistakes in the rush to buy property.

Buyers are being warned about making costly mistakes in the rush to buy property. Photo: Getty

It’s a hot property market right now, but mistakes fuelled by desperation to snare a home can be costly.

National property prices will finish the year up 22 per cent and continue to rise during the first half of 2022, according to Commonwealth Bank head of Australian economics Gareth Aird.

Sydney prices will end this year 27 per cent higher; Melbourne’s 17 per cent, and Brisbane’s 26 per cent.

With prices expected to keep rising for months to come, National Property Buyers director Antony Bucello says keeping your emotions in check while searching for a home can be difficult – particularly if you’ve missed out on properties in the past.

But he said it’s crucially important that your emotions never cloud your judgment.

“You have still got to be smart, because if you start getting desperate I reckon you risk making bad decisions,” Mr Bucello said.

“Buying the wrong property is a pretty expensive thing to get wrong.”

So how can you avoid making a costly mistake?

Do the legwork

Mr Bucello said spending time looking at similar properties will not only help you avoid paying too much, it will also weed out homes that are not realistically in your price range.

Time and money is wasted focusing on properties listed in your price range that in reality have a much higher price tag because they are underquoted, he said.

Rather than merely relying on a suburb’s median price, the best way to accurately predict what a property might sell for is by attending auctions and open for inspections for properties with similar features and in the same area as the home you want to buy.

Check the foundations

Mr Bucello said a building inspection will let you know if the property has any concerning structural issues before you bid for it.

He said the majority of people buying properties at auctions surprisingly don’t bother with building inspections.

“There are a lot of people who have access to tradespeople that can give them their opinion as well,” Mr Bucello said.

A building inspection can cost anywhere between $200 to $500, which is a small price to pay for avoiding unexpected repairs.

The building inspection report will highlight any structural or safety concerns – as well as damp and electrical safety issues – and whether they can be fixed and how much the repairs are likely to cost.

It is also worth considering getting a pest inspection, which costs between $150 and $300.

Mr Bucello said if you want to get a building inspection for a property going to auction, it is important to do it beforehand because there is no cooling-off period.

The cooling-off period for private sales varies from state to state.

Check the contracts

Mr Bucello said many people make the mistake of not getting a solicitor or conveyancer to review the contract for sale and vendor statement, which will alert you to any local council-related issues.


Topics: Property
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