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Good questions to ask at property inspections

Sometimes it pays to “get under the hood” at a property inspection and engage with the real estate agent as much as possible without being annoying. Here are some good questions to ask which in our experience has revealed information worth its weight in property gold.

What is the owner expecting for a sale price?

As I’m sure you’ve already seen for yourself, these days in the Australian housing market homes are selling for a lot more than their listed price, so don’t be afraid to ask an agent straight up what the seller is expecting. This will help you understand if the place is within your budget or not. And if you don’t actually know what your budget is yet, or how much a bank may be willing to lend you, don’t forget this is what we can help work you work out.

What settlement dates are the owners hoping for?

This helps you understand the needs of the sellers, and can help you make yourself the most attractive buyer in a competitive market. For example, if they’re hoping for a shorter/ longer settlement than usual, and you can agree to these terms when putting your offer together that might make you the preferred buyer over someone offering the same amount of money but who isn’t flexible on settlement terms.

Have you had any offers yet?

Knowing whether any offers have been made will let you know much interest there is for the property, and if an offer has been made but rejected will give you a firmer idea of what your offer will need to beat.

Why are the owners selling?

It’s good to understand the sellers motivations, for example, if they’re selling because they recently separated that most likely means they need to sell (what’s known as a motivated vendor). Have they lived here for the past 40 years, and raised their own families here and are now simply looking to downsize?

Are there any major structural issues?

Whilst it’s not something agents like to make a fuss about, it’s hard to ignore the issue if asked point-blank. As if there is an issue, you need to know how much extra you may need to be forking out to get it fixed (eg a non compliant pool).

Has the seller made any modifications or renovations?

Whilst normally a real estate agent will have no doubt already been keen to point out any recent renovations, asking about modifications, could help make you aware of any problems or DIY fixes that could cost you money in the future.

Do you have any similar properties listed at the moment?

This signals to the agent that you are a serious buyer, as well as helps you to get the inside word on what might be coming to market soon.

Does the body corporate allow pets? (just for units or apartments)

Imagine buying a place only to realise too late that it means buying yourself a home, now means you have to rehome your fur baby.

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