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What questions should I ask the Real Estate Agent?

questions real estate agentYou’ve been house hunting for what seems like months (because, well it HAS been months) and you’ve have finally found “the one.” It has the open plan kitchen you want, the separate living space for you to relax without being surrounded by kids toys and a lovely patch of lawn that you know won’t stay green once you move in. But, it ticks all the boxes and you want to take things further.

To ensure you have the best chance of having your offer accepted by the vendor, here are a few questions we’d suggest you ask the agent.


Why are the Vendors moving?

From this, you will know how urgent the sale is and whether the vendor has any time pressures. i.e. Are they moving overseas and need to have everything wrapped up by a certain date?  Have the vendors already purchased another property and need the sale proceeds from this one in order to settle on their purchase?


How much do the Vendors need to help them with their next property?

You might not get a straight answer to this question, but it doesn’t hurt to ask anyway!


Do the vendors have a settlement deadline?

Depending on your own situation, this is one area that can sometimes get offers across the line.  Some vendors are happy to accept a slightly lower offer for their home, if it means their settlement timeframes are met. Sometimes the added complication and stress of finding another place to live for 3 weeks for themselves the 3 kids and the dog and the fish until their new home is ready – is not worth taking a higher offer.

If the vendors are looking for a short settlement, we suggest you check to ensure a quick turnaround is possible with your lender, given their current processing times. This is when having a Pre-Approval in place can sometimes be an advantage over other buyers.


What feedback have other potential buyers given the agent – about the property AND the listing price?

This can give you an idea of how much interest is in the property and the market’s general attitude towards the price. Again, you won’t always get the information you want, but combine this with attendance numbers when you’ve visited the open home and the number of views on allhomes.com, you can get an idea of how much interest is in the property (and how much competition there is for the property).


Can you get a copy of the contract?

If you’re serious about making an offer, you need to get a conveyancer to review the contract first.  Just to check there are no sneaky clauses you shouldn’t be agreeing to.  You can find out more about contracts here.

As part of reviewing the contract, you should also review the Building & Pest Inspection report. Don’t take it for granted that everything is fine, unless you’re planning to knock the property down. You need to take the time to review this report to check there are no structural issues that will cost you later on.


Is the 10% deposit negotiable?

In many cases, you can negotiate paying a 5% deposit at the time of exchange (instead of the standard 10%). Please note that if the property is being sold at auction you need to negotiate this – and any other clauses – PRIOR to auction day.


One last things to keep in mind –

If you’ve come up with an offer to appeal to the buyer based on your knowledge of their situation, go for it!  Just remember to submit your offer ‘Subject To Finance’.  It gives you a little protection should the lender have issues with the property or in the event your finance is not Unconditionally Approved.

Please note this “Subject to Finance” clause can only be used where the property is being sold via private treaty. If you place a pre-auction offer on a property being sold at auction, the offer is generally made under auction conditions. This means that if your offer is accepted, you will sign the contract, exchange and pay your deposit almost immediately.

And if ‘the-one’ you’ve found is being sold via auction, here’s your “Preparing for Auction Day checklist” to ensure you’re ready for Auction Day.



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