Some handy hints to help you when buying a home.

Have your finances in order early

If you need finance to fund your purchase, meet with your chosen lender or mortgage broker early on in your search in order to get loan pre-approval (sometimes called approval in principle) and ascertain how much money you can borrow. This way you will be ready to act as soon as you see something you’re keen to buy, with your lender quickly able to give you final loan approval for your purchase if you meet all of the necessary criteria.

Engage a conveyancer or lawyer

To undertake the conveyancing work for your purchase you will need to engage a solicitor or a registered conveyancer. Solicitors are often recommended when contracts are not straightforward and are likely to require complicated legal work. However, as experienced conveyancers specialise in conveyancing work they are ideal in most circumstances. In fact, many law firms employ registered conveyancers to undertake their conveyancing work.

Check the title of your chosen property

Freestanding houses generally have a freehold title, also known as Torrens Title, however other titles exist for different property types and come with their own legalities. Many apartments, townhouses and villas are Strata Titled, which is a system for handling the legal ownership of a portion of a building and will incur quarterly strata fees. Less frequently you will come across a Company Titled apartment, a system which effectively means you purchase shares in a building rather than a designated space. Restricted Company Title means that you may not be able to lease out the property.

Submit your offer in writing.

Your offer should be submitted to the agent in writing. 

You will need your full legal names, offer amount, settlement terms, solicitor details and broker details.

You can also ask the agent for an 'offer to purchase' form.

Have your deposit ready.

When buying at auction you will need to pay a 10% deposit on the day to secure your purchase. This can be done in the form of a personal or bank cheque or a deposit bond, which is effectively a guarantee for the bond which your lender can arrange for you. If you are buying a property via private treaty, you will need to pay the deposit upon exchange of contracts. Make sure you have the deposit organised several days in advance if possible to avoid any complications.