Buying a house in Victoria is a relatively straightforward process.
To keep things all on track, here are my top 5 things for you to action.
1. Show me the money – can you get finance?
It seems obvious, but make sure that you have your finance arranged. Speaking to an experienced home loan broker at the outset can save you time, stress and effort.
Arranging the money may take some time, so do this well in advance.
If time is tight, and you are not buying at auction, you may be able to include a “subject to finance” clause in the contract which can allow you to end the contract if finance isn’t obtained.
2. Review the contract – do you know what you are buying?
Buying a house is a huge purchase. For most of us, it will be our most expensive transaction.
It is important to have the contract properly reviewed before you sign so that you are fully informed about the property you are buying. The important details include a review of the title, any easements or restrictions which apply to the land, and a review of the certificates relevant to the property.
As there is no obligation on a vendor to include all of the certificates which relate to their property in the sale contract, it may be necessary to make further enquiries, and get copies of these certificates. Unpaid rates, land tax, and owners corporation certificates are just some of the searches that are needed to make sure that you know what you are bidding on.
3. What are your plans for the property – can you do what you want?
If you are looking to subdivide or renovate the property, it is worth confirming that this can be done before you sign the contract. It is always important to check the zoning of the property. For example, some inner-city pads may look like a funky apartment, but they are commercially zoned, and as such, cannot be used as a residence.
These investigations may necessitate discussions with a planner, the local council and your builder.
4. Inspect the property carefully
Always inspect the property. Measure the boundaries to make sure that it aligns with the title. If there is a separate car park, or storage unit, they should also be inspected and verified.
You may also want to have the property inspected by a qualified builder, and a pest inspector to make sure that the building is sound.
5. Signing the contract
If you are not sure how you want to own the property at the time you buy it, you should sign the contract in your name “and / or nominee”. This will then allow you to “nominate” the purchaser at a later date before settlement.