Research before you buy | Making Money

With median property prices hitting $655,000 across our state capitals, it’s a no brainer that buying a home calls for solid research.

Yet one in two Australians devote more time to their favourite TV show than they do to checking out the property they plan to call their home.

Research by ME shows three out of five home owners spent less than 60 minutes inspecting the property they purchased. Not surprisingly, 26 per cent of buyers later discovered flaws with the place.

The reality is, you could spend 25 years paying off your home. So it’s reasonable to invest time making sure it ticks all the boxes in terms of meeting your needs as well as delivering a clean bill of health.

For a starters, always inspect a property more than once, and definitely on different times or days. 

Another must-do is organising a pre-purchase pest and building inspection. It may cost a couple of hundred dollars but the results can confirm (or dispel) any niggling hunches you may have about rising damp, structural defects or pest problems. One in three home buyers fail to arrange a professional building/pest inspection and it can turn out to be an expensive oversight.

Be sure too to have your solicitor or conveyancer review the contract of sale before you sign it.

According to ME, one in five of those home owners who later identified problems say they wouldn’t have purchased their place if they’d known about the issues upfront. Don’t be among them. Time invested thoroughly checking out a property before you buy is time well spent.

Paul Clitheroe is chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.