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What to look for when buying a house or apartment

What To Look For When Buying A House Or Apartment And Questions to Ask

12/10/2021 | 4 MIN READ

As John McGrath says ‘home hunting is not a spectator sport. If you’re committed to finding a great home at the right price, you have to get into the marketplace, you have to go to open home inspections.’


When you start out looking at properties, you’re just getting a feel for the property and seeing if you could feel at home there. You’ll do you more thorough inspections and due diligence with experts down the track when you’re really serious about a property.  Right now, you want to assess whether the property will fit your lifestyle, does it match your wish list, (with perhaps a few compromises). Do you have a good feeling about the property, and could you imagine living in it?


Does the layout and flow work for you? A good layout creates easy living, convenience and privacy. How are the living rooms located in relation to the bedrooms, and where are the bathrooms in relation to the bedrooms? 


Is there enough space for you, your family and your ‘things’? Is there enough storage, potential to extend, reconfigure? What is the condition of the interior? Do you need to renovate, what is the quality of the kitchen and bathroom? 


What is the light like? What is the aspect and how close is it to local amenities? 


These initial inspections are all about viewing as many properties as possible, talking to real estate agents and narrowing down you list of properties to a short list. 


To help you inspect a property make sure you download our ‘Buying a Home checklists. These room-by-room guides enable you to simply check off the features as you walk through different properties. They help you to get a complete picture of its condition and scope for improvement.

 
Keep this checklist with the copies of the advertising material together to build up a complete picture of the property. 


Plus, to help you plan ahead, and ensure you don’t miss any open homes, download our Open Home Inspection Planner here

Questions to ask when buying a house or apartment

While at the open homes, make sure you ask the real estate agent lots of questions about the property. Knowledge is power and building a clearer perspective of the property can help you determine if it is right for you or not. 

Here are some key questions to ask the real estate agent: 

Can you please share with me a list of comparable sales over the last 3 months?

This will give you an idea of how much the property could be worth. Understanding what similar properties are selling for in the immediate area and why the agent believes the property is worth a particular price can help guide your price expectations. 

 

Why is the vendor selling the property?

By understanding why the home owner is selling can help you negotiate the sale. For instance, if they are looking to buy another property, perhaps you could negotiate a longer settlement. If they have already bought, they may be keen to sell quickly and therefore open to early offers. If it’s a deceased estate, it will most likely go all the way through to auction. 

 

Are there any known issues with the property, land or neighbours that they are aware of? 

While you will most likely uncover any major issues during your due diligence phase, asking the agent is worthwhile too. 

 

Have they received any offers and if so, how much?

This can help you understand vendor price expectations. 

 

Are the vendors willing to negotiate the price or receive pre-auction offers? 

 

Are they aware of any planned zoning changes?

 

Are there any restrictions on the property?

 

How much are the council rates?

 

Other buying a house or apartment tools and information

Our house and apartment inspection checklists 

Process of buying a house or apartment

Buying a property by auction

Negotiating a private treaty or private sale property purchase 

 

This information is provided subject to our Terms and Conditions.

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