Facts at your fingertips

You probably feel you can tell what sort of home is right for you, but what’s really going on beneath that pretty, painted exterior? Is the property sound or is it on its last legs? Is the legal title unencumbered or does your next door neighbour have an ancient right to herd sheep across your front lawn? That sleep-out in the back garden looks cute, but is it permitted? And what about the price that they are asking; is it reasonable or laughable?  

If you only do something four or five times in your life, odds on you won’t be particularly good at it. Certainly you won’t be an expert, but that’s what you need to be if you are going to make smart decisions about the soundness of the new family home and how much you should pay for it. Are you looking at the home of your dreams or a money-pit that will keep you awake at nights. No-one wants to buy a lemon.  

I’m always amazed at the number of homebuyers that simply don’t bother to get any sort of inspection done before making an offer. There seems to be an inherent sense of trust or a she’ll be right attitude that is plain naive. This is the era of leaky buildings; a mistake could cost you hundreds of thousands.  

This is the realm of LIMs, PIMs, engineers’ reports, soil tests, building inspections and registered valuations. All very technical, compiled by apparent experts and utterly reassuring to the mug punter who wants to know they’re not buying a pig in a poke. Oh, and all expensive, especially if you have to have them done for a number of potential properties, which can easily be the case if you keep missing out at auctions. 

So what are the key reports and research sources available to the prudent home buyer? What do they tell you and what don’t they? Which ones are recommended and which are a waste of time and money?  

In an ideal world the vendor would supply a buyers’ pack that contains all of the reports and certificates necessary to provide the buyer with peace of mind and that would support any asking price. Properties for sale by auction often do have such a pack – after all it’s not possible to buy subject to any conditions at auction – but usually it will have the bare minimum, and it is very unlikely to contain a valuation, which is kind of useful if you are about to bid away your life savings.  

This is an extract from The Streetwise Home Buyer. The full chapter covers much more and you can download it below for free.

  • Pre-purchase home inspections
  • DIY checks
  • What’s a CV?
  • Registered valuations
  • Certificates of Title
  • QV Reports
  • Terranet
  • Comparative sales reports
  • Council reports
  • Testing the land