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Tips for Buyers

What buyers need to know

Choosing the right home will require you to balance your wants and your needs. It's rare that the perfect house comes along at the perfect time, but you can look for a house that is practical, attractive and fits within your budget. Here are some steps on how to choose the right home.


  1. Get pre-qualified for a home loan. This will expedite the process when you find the home you want to buy and give you a good idea of how much you can afford.  We can arrange for a confidential meeting with a qualified loans consultant who can assist you with your pre-qualification.  There is no cost involved in this process, and it will allow you to shop in the right price range and purchase with confidence.
  2. If you have a property to sell it's important to know how much it is worth.  Ask your Harcourts agent to assist you with a free appraisal.
  3. Make a list of your needs, that is, the features that your home must have to fit your lifestyle. Be as rational, rather than emotional, as possible when making this list.
  4. Think about the setting. Do you prefer a quiet setting, or do you want to live near restaurants, shops and entertainment? Research the things nearby that you need from your neighborhood, like schools, parks or amenities.
  5. Contact your Harcourts agent. Bring your list of needs and price range and have we'll help you narrow down the properties you'll be touring.
  6. Be patient and shop around. You may get lucky and fall in love with the first property you see, but you'll make a better decision if you look at a number of them instead.
  7. Browse our Website and view comprehensive information on our listings.
  8. Feel free to register as a Buyer on our Website - and be the first to know when a suitable property is listed.  Being one of the first to view a listing will give you an advantage over other buyers.
  9. Move quickly. Once you've found the home that's right for you, bear in mind that you may not be the only one interested. If you're indecisive, someone else may well contact the agent first and make an offer.
  10. How much should you offer?  It all depends on what you think the property is worth.  Sometimes a property may be overpriced - but with Harcourts Platinum, most of our listings are listed at Market Value.   So compare the property to others you have seen, and others that have already sold - and then determine what you think the property is worth.  Be prepared to pay Market Value for the right home.

Building or Buying?

The idea of having a home built according to your own personal taste is an idea which excites a lot of individuals. As wonderful as this might seem, the truth is that there are significant risks that should be noted.

First and foremost, the competence of the builder is critical in order to complete the project successfully and on time.

It is therefore crucial that the track record of the builder be scrutinised. The construction risk is arguably the biggest risk when building a property. Should the quality of the property not be of a good standard, rectifying these problems later might not only be costly but can also result in a potentially unsafe building. Utilising the services of a National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) certified builder can help to mitigate these risks as the NHBRC is an organisation which aims to protect the owner against defects due to bad workmanship.

Another aspect which could result in severe financial loss is the risk that the property is not completed within the expected time line.

While a property is being built, an owner is typically in need of other accommodation since the property would not yet be habitable. This usually results in the owner either renting another property or still paying a bond on his current residence. In addition, the owner will be liable for the interest on the land portion of the new property as well as the interest on any progress draws made. Should the project be delayed for whatever reason, the owner would be liable for all these costs for a longer period than was originally planned. This could then potentially result in payment defaults toward the financial institution.

Due to these risks potentially having a negative impact on the financier, the interest rate is usually increased until the project is complete. Should financing be necessary, the bank would require building plans as well as a schedule of finishes to determine the market-related value of the house at completion. This along with the bank's credit policy would then determine the size of the loan being granted. Generally a larger deposit compared to a loan on an existing property will also be required to alleviate some financial loss by the bank should there be any payment default. All financial institutions will also insist that an NHBRC registered builder be used to build the property as the NHBRC keeps a track record of builders and holds them accountable for their quality of workmanship.

Besides the risks involved, it is highly likely that a property may be built for more than what it would cost to buy a similar existing property. This might seem surprising but there are many factors influencing the price of a house and all these factors should be taken into account to establish if the project is feasible. Recent market trends have shown that the gap between the cost of building versus buying an existing home is narrowing but the fact remains that on average, there is still a significant gap.

Is the one better than the other? The answer remains a subjective one and therefore the best advice would be to weigh out all the pros and cons and to fully understand the risks when making the decision. The market-related value and that "sentimental value" that an owner places on his home are hardly ever the same and so, even with the complexities involved in building there is still a fair amount of buyers who can afford it and are willing to pay the price tag that comes with having that dream home.

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