Buying a home
Professional services available to the home buyer
Buying a house isn't like going to the supermarket and grabbing a dozen eggs (except for the fact that you'll want to check them both for cracks). It's a significant transaction – for most people, the biggest they'll make in their lives – and because there's so much at stake it needs to be handled properly. That's why most buyers enlist professional help.
What professional services do I need and why?
You'll probably need the help of a few different professionals, such as inspectors, conveyancers and movers. Enlisting the best people for each task ensures that the home buying process is as painless as possible and that you're getting the best advice.
When you find a house that meets your needs – whether that's being close to schools, having a big backyard, or having enough space for a karaoke stage and dance floor (hey, it's your house) – you should consider having it independently valued. This should give you some indication of what a fair offer would be, and whether the vendor is asking too much.
We may also have the property valued as a condition of approving your Suncorp Bank home loan application, which will allow us to determine how much we'd be willing to lend for that property.
You don't want to move into your new house, confident that you'll be able to enjoy it hassle-free… only to find a nasty surprise giving you more grief and costing you more cash than you bargained for. These surprises can be of the creaking (structural issues, warped floorboards) or crawling (termites!) variety, which is why getting a pest inspection and a building inspection is so important.
Building inspectors are trained to spot damage or deficiencies that you could miss, while pest inspectors will check every nook and cranny for signs of extremely unwelcome guests. The money you pay for their expertise is an investment that you won't regret.
Buying a house comes with a lot of paperwork, so you'll probably need a reliable conveyancer or solicitor to help you wade through it without getting bogged down. There are several forms and documents that may need to be read, signed and/or lodged, including:
- the vendor's statement, in some states called a section 32, which provides details about the property;
- the certificate of title, which will inform you of whether anyone else has rights in the property;
- transfer documents, which are a record of the transfer to be lodged with the relevant state authority; and
- the contract of sale.
Not all of us have access to enormous moving trucks, or have spent enough time at the gym to load them up. So, it's probably best to leave the heavy stuff to professional movers.
Before you hire them, you should check that any potential moving company is insured; your own contents insurance may not cover damage incurred while items are in transit.
Home Loan Specialists
We have a team of highly experienced home loan specialists who are familiar with all aspects of the home-buying journey. Our specialists can advise you on structuring finance to suit your lifestyle or investment goals, and provide guidance about home and contents insurance.
How do I find trustworthy professional services?
As with any professional service, whether it's a doctor, a dressmaker or a DJ, you'll want to choose reliable, trustworthy people.
But if you're buying your first property, how do you choose? How can you ensure that they'll help you navigate through your home buying journey and not just take you for a ride?
We've helped thousands of people buy their houses and our Home Loan Specialists are happy to make recommendations about reputable professionals.
Ask your friends
Word of mouth can also be a handy tool. There's no stronger indicator of the effectiveness of a company or an individual than a glowing recommendation from a friend or family member.
Ask the other pros
People operating in the same industry will often have networks of professionals they can recommend for you. Start by finding a real estate agent you like, and go from there. Their reputations are dependent on each other so they tend to weed out the bad eggs before you get to them.
Ask the internet
There are a lot of review sites online. These can give you an idea of someone's general reputation before you make your initial contact. You shouldn't rely solely on online reviews, but when used alongside one of the above ideas, they can be pretty helpful.
It's important to take the time to find people that you're comfortable dealing with. They're going to be playing a big role in a significant life decision, after all. Don't be afraid to ask questions, get multiple quotes, and move on from someone if they're giving you a bad vibe.
How much do professional services cost?
Costs for professional services vary between states and suppliers. These costs can add up quickly, but savvy home buyers – and anyone can be a savvy home buyer if they take the time to plan – budget for them. You can potentially keep some cash in your pocket by getting several quotes and saving money in key places.
Get as many quotes as you can for services such as conveyancers and movers. You'll quickly get an idea of which suppliers offer reasonable rates and which are trying to make an extra buck. It'll involve a bit of calling around, but the time invested will be worth it.
The more expensive the property, the higher the associated costs will be, largely because of stamp duty. We have a calculator that can help you estimate stamp duty, so you can factor that into your budget.
One way to reduce costs is to save a deposit of at least 20 percent. Doing so allows you to avoid Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), which protects the lender in the event of a mortgage default. The cost of LMI varies between states but it can be significant.
You can also save a little cash by handling some of the moving yourself. It's best to employ professionals for the tricky stuff, but you can leave the beds and barbecues to them, while transporting smaller items like books and board games yourself in the days before and after the “big” move. The less time your movers spend on the job, the less you'll have to pay them.
The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.
Any advice contained in this document has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs. For that reason, before acting on the advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. Where the advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product, you should consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision regarding the product. Contact us for a copy.