All posts by Brett White

Save Time in Your Small Business With These Property Tips

Spring is generally a peak season for buying that new home or investment property. Time is always of great essence. You want to acquire the best property within a very small window and that can exert undue pressure on homebuyers leading to costlier financial and lifestyle mistakes. Here are some tips on how to save time and get set on buying that new property this spring:

Get Your Finances Ready

Financing is always a huge hindrance when buying a new property so getting your finances ready in advance of the big decision can be a huge plus for a potential homebuyer. You should have saved sufficient deposit as well secured the right financing in time as this will help streamline the process.

To begin with, there are certain key preparations that you should make. These include the following:
• Review your budget and evaluate your financial situation. Are your regular savings sufficient to cover the initial deposit or do you need to up your money game and set aside more cash for the property acquisition? In some cases, you will also be struggling to save while also servicing debts so you will need to restructure your finances to meet your property purchase objective. If you can save more money now and have an excellent credit record, you will boost your chances when applying for loans. In the preparations stage, you should not just build strong and steady savings but you should also take time to establish a strong credit profile.

• Maximise your income by going after any outstanding invoices out there. When it comes to buying a home, you will need all the money you can lay your hands on. Make sure you separate your personal loans from your business finances when going after your invoices.

• Clear all personal debts ahead of time. These small debts will be like an albatross around your neck so you need to get them out of the way. Lower borrowings will boost your credit profile and hence increase your chances of getting mortgage or loans quickly at fairly favourable rates. These debts can include credit card debts and overdrafts among others.

• Talk to your personal accountant or financial advisor for additional assistance in organizing your finances to meet your goal. A professional accountant can offer you a few critical tips that will strengthen your financial profile.

Carry Out Market Research

Real estate markets are quite competitive and in some cases quit complex. Without a backstory on what the market offers, you are unlikely to spot the best opportunities or grab the best deals that will offer you value. Spend time to read some literature and carry out some thorough research on what the market offers. You can do this in multiple ways:

• Download and use a property app that you can use to gain market insights into the various suburbs in the locality where you wish to purchase the property. An app can have various features such as estimated market prices, affordability tools and calculators.

• There are various online property calculators which you can also use in determining data such as the upfront costs, forecast repayments, determine the amount of money that you can borrow based on your financial profile and so on. These can prove quite useful in counting the costs of acquiring your property and managing your cash flow.

• Leverage the free property insight reports for the suburbs as well as properties that you wish to invest in. These will include current information on the latest sales prices, current listings as well as the price estimates of the individual homes.

• Explore your options: As a potential buyer with money and a great credit profile, you have plenty of options so take charge and make the right choices. Some of the things that you can factor in include life’s goals and business objectives among others. Some agencies can also offer you professional support to help choose the right property at the right time.

Organise Your Paperwork

Buying a property involves a lot of paperwork. To save time later on in the transaction, make sure you have prepared all the requisite paperwork that you will need later on to process the property transaction. The amount of paperwork varies from one person to another. Some people, due to their line of work or business, have more complex paperwork so it is advisable to start early on to ensure you are not overlooking some important aspects. You will require paperwork such as business financial statements covering the most recent financial year as well as the most recent personal and business tax returns.

Get a Conditional Pre-Approval

Here is another time-saving tactic for someone planning to purchase property. Applying for a conditional pre-approval will allow you to get through with the property purchase process with more confidence since you will know the amount of money that you will be able to borrow.

Find a Suitable Home Lending Specialist

For even quicker decision-making and faster loans processing, find a suitable and reliable home lending specialist that will suit your needs. A professional home lending specialist can be a big boon in your property purchase journey helping you with various aspects of the transaction such as expert support, helping you pick the right lending option for you and guiding you through the application process. Home lending specialists can also assist in restructuring loans to suit your unique circumstances.

Exterior Water Management: Make Sure Your Pipes Are In Order

There are many things that you reflect on when it’s raining. The heaviness of the rain, the pretty rainbow that follows and perhaps if you are a homeowner; I hope the my roof won’t leak!

One thing few of us think about is “where does all that water disappear to once it leaves the roof?” It’s not like it spills around the house because everything dries up nicely right after.

Little do we know that wastewater goes through a long journey each time we sit in the window and watch the rain go down. Nor do we think about the implications of this wastewater not being dealt with correctly, or how expensive it can be to fix these issues.

The Difference Between Waste Water Types

The first thing that you should know is that wastewater is not the same everywhere. There are actually two types of wastewater going into our sewers. The first one is foul water sewage that contains dirty water from toilets, showers, kitchen drains, and so on.

The second, and the one that concerns us, is the surface water sewers. This one can take two paths: it is either saved by the owner of the house, or it can be carried into the sewers.

Rainwater is nothing like the dirty water that we flush down the toilet; it can actually be used to tend to things around the house (for instance, water the flowers, and so on). For this, the water will flow into the gutter, through a pipe, and then a container that the owner set to collect the rainwater.

The second course is as follows: it goes back to where it comes from. Essentially, harmless rainwater is carried to soakaways and rivers. Just like in the circumstance above, the water goes from the roof into the gutter, and then it’s connected to the natural water flows.

There are also combined sewers that will carry both rainwater and foul water; however, this option is usually avoided, since it calls for unnecessary treatment. The newer developments prefer to separate the two, also to avoid overflowing the sewage system.

It’s important to understand what kind of system the property you own or are thinking about buying has, and to have it inspected thoroughly to ensure there are no defects. Any kind of leaks or weaknesses in the system can lead to costly damage to other areas of the property.

Cleaning The Water

Depending on how dirty the water is, it will be sent into two different treatment places. Foul water will obviously go through more processing to get rid of the dirt. However, even if rainwater is clear, it will still need to go through some cleaning before it’s released.

Think about it: at some point, debris will start gathering on your roof – which will eventually dirty the water. Once it goes into the gutter, down the pipe, and into the sewer, it will eventually all be collected into a settlement tank, where the water is cleaned of all the solid matter.

If your roof has a leak, then it’s the dirty water that will seep through the leak and into your home. To avoid having this costly issue occur, it’s important to get an inspection done to identify such problems. This will allow you to arrange a roof repair before the rain starts to fall.

Our Four W Method Of Reporting Defects

So, what is required to meet the 2007 Standard?

The 2007 Standard limits the extent of reporting to major defects, providing a general impression regarding the extent of minor defects and any major defect that is an urgent and serious safety hazard.  The standard then advises that the major defect should be;

1. Clearly described (as per Table 3.3 of the Standard)
2. Have a general statement as to any minor defect/s arising from the major defect
3. Have an explanation as to why it is a major defect i.e. what are the consequences of NOT attending to the major defect?
4. Have a referral to a qualified person that can provide a scope and cost of the repairs.

However, quite often the simple identification of a defect alone is not enough. Their correct format of reporting is called the four W’s. By following the four W method, we articulate each and every building defect to our client by not only identifying the defect, but also explaining why it is a defect and the consequences of the defect if it is not attended to. We outline what the defect is, where the defect is located in the house, why it is considered a defect in the first place and exactly what should be done to rectify the defect.

Our Four W Method:

1. What is the defect?
2. Where is the defect located?
3. Why it is a defect?
4. What should you do about it?

Thorough reporting of each and every defect is vital after a building inspection. If you have been presented with the four W’s on a house you are considering you will be best equipped to make an informed decision.

Inspect East Building Inspections produce reports that better satisfy our clients need to find the major defects more easily and therefore better informed to make important decisions.

Melbourne the Most Desirable and Expensive

Melbourne has been voted the world’s most liveable city six years in a row as of 2016. It’s not surprising then that most of the worlds famous locality is seeing property prices now grow faster that its main national competitor, Sydney.

Homes sold in Melbourne went up by an average 6.9 per cent in the year to September, compared with just 3.2 per cent in Sydney, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

What’s causing this? The simple answer is supply and demand. The affordability of Melbourne housing combined with the city’s reputation for culture and sport is extremely appealing for national and international homebuyers alike.

Melbourne is now expanding by about 100,000 people every year. A lot of these people have the money to purchase homes, and are doing so.

The median dwelling price in Melbourne is a little over $700,000, compared to Sydney where it is around $1 million.

Forecasts predict Melbourne to become Australia’s biggest city by 2050, with figures showing the city’s population growth outpacing Sydney for several years in a row. Sydney’s population hit 5 million in 2016, whilst Melbourne is around 4.7 million.

This large and fast past demographic growth is accompanied by growing house prices

Currently, the lower house prices in Melbourne are also a drawcard for potential homebuyers. This is particularly appealing when combined with accompanying lures like education, café’s and community culture.

It’s very possible then, that if this trend continues, Melbourne may surpass Sydney when it comes to price points in the near future.

Why It Pays to Get An Expert

Already using Social Media? Follow Amalain.com.au for the latest about tips and tricks when it comes to buying or selling a home and dealing with real estate agents. It pays to have an expert in your corner
These days, businesses need to find a mentor who can help them grow their business and achieve their goals. Having an expert to assist and guide you and provide professional advice in whatever niche you belong to can indeed make things easier.

When it comes to real estate, the same rules apply. Hiring an expert advisor can be a huge help when trying to find and purchase your dream home, in your ideal location and at the right price. Yes, there may be a wealth of property-related information on the internet but getting professional advice tailored to your unique situation is always a better option.

Be sure, however, that you don’t just choose a professional based on who charges the lowest price. Do your research and pick the one who can best represent you and help you to secure the property you so desire.

According to James Tuckerman, founder of Anthill Online, clients get what they pay for. A client needs to be willing to employ the very best professional for the role they are trying to fill. The person offering the best service will have the experience to back it up and clients need to understand that expertise, experience and skill may come at a price.

Here are reasons why it pays to get an expert.

Insight on Current Market Conditions

Buyers advocates work in the real estate market daily. We have comprehensive information on the present condition of the housing market. We can provide you with the specifics depending on what type of residential property you want, its location and home size.

We can help you compare prices and give you information on the type of homes that recently sold in your area.

In terms of prices, as market experts, we can also give you the accurate pricing for properties that fall within your budget.

Access to Off Market Properties

If you’re purchasing a property, a buyer’s advocate is the right professional to hire.

We have a wide market knowledge and many sources within the real estate industry. Our established relationships with real estate agents mean we save you time, as we work with local real estate agents to find the right home for you. We are able to make appointments to view each property at times that work for you.

Depending on your requirements, a buyer’s advocate can help you find homes that are not advertised to the general public. Known as “off market”, we are able to source properties that suit your specifications before other buyers get a look in.

There are many off market properties are available in the market, but they are not listed publicly. This is where our experience and expertise proves invaluable.

Help in Negotiating

Negotiating is a vital part of a real estate transaction. Very few home owners looking to sell or those looking to buy a new property are skilled or confident when it comes to negotiating. As such, as your vendor advocate we protect your interests during the entire sales process.

On the buying side, we are trained negotiators. We will ensure that you as the buyer are our top priority.  We are adept at securing properties prior to auction and bring the expertise you are after on auction day.

Guidance in Paperwork and Contract Signing

It’s a reality that any real estate transaction often involves understanding and signing a lot of paperwork. Whether you are buying or selling a home, the paperwork that forms part of the transaction can be quite complicated.

Keep in mind that each state has its own laws on selling and purchasing property and they have to be followed diligently. This is where an expert can guide you throughout the process.

Looking to buy in Melbourne and sick of missing out at auction? Thinking of selling and wanting trusted, impartial advice and hand holding to protect your interests throughout the entire selling process? Talk to us about how WE MAKE IT EASY to buy or sell your home.

Call us now on 03 8609 1234 for a confidential free consultation.

2016 TRENDS IN RENOVATIONS

KITCHENS

Tactile surfaces are a design trend that is more popular with wood grain look bench tops back in fashion. Silent range hoods with motors installed outside the building are being utilised so the kitchen can be enjoyed in peace and quiet.

Ceiling down lights seem to be a thing of the past. The strategic use of pendant lighting where interesting materials are highlighted, such as, metallic, coloured glass or matte ceramic is hitting the scene. Lighting underneath overhead cabinetry, inside the pantry or any other task lighting is gaining popularity.

Pull out cabinetry for pantry items, dinner sets and pots and pans. Plate warmers and espresso machines are often installed. Dishwashers, fridges and microwaves can be discretely disguised with cabinet facades.

Butlers pantries, two ovens, wine cellars or dedicated wine fridge, built in steamers and ice-makers.

Bigger bench tops that double up as island bench tops for serving food or can replace a dining table

Concealed docking stations for smartphones, iPads and iPods and in-bench power points make life easy.

Snazzy splashbacks are now an essential design element of home renovations. Glass splashbacks can now display all of your home security, a TV screen and the internet. Subway tiles are still on trend as are natural stone splashbacks.

BATHROOMS

Timber has emerged as the new trend in vanities and cupboards. Stone and rock on bathtubs and sinks.
Standalone bath tubs are a hot trend and built in bathtubs have fallen down the ranking in popularity.
Large tiles instead of smaller mosaics
Smart storage with all drawers vanity unit as opposed to having doors under the basin. Mirrored or wall cabinets above the vanity allow for easy access to items stoes and required on a regular bais.

ADDING PET AMENITIES

Dog showers, storage space and feeding stations.

WINDOWS

Double glazing is a very popular option helping to reduce heating and cooling problems. Look also to draught proof your home as well.

WARDROBES

Utilising storage capacity within a wardrobe is to build the wardrobe to the ceiling thus providing you wish a shelf above the hanging rail for the storage of large items such as suitcases. Incorporate both single and double hanging rails allows more efficient use of the storage of dresses, pants, shirts and shirts.

INDOOR-OUTDOOR LIVING

Indoor to outdoor architecture is also becoming increasingly popular. Living areas now open up to an enclosed patio or decking, making a seamless connection between the outside and the in. Big floor to ceiling windows instead of walls can provide unobstructed views to the outside while still separating the living spaces from the garden areas.

Not all building reports are equal. What separates a good report from a mediocre one?

To begin with always use a suitably qualified person (such as a licensed builder, a surveyor or an architect) to provide a professional building inspection. These professions should see through any cosmetic improvements that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye.

A professional inspector will ensure that the format and content of the report complies with the relevant Australian Standards.
It is crucial to ascertain if the building inspector intends, subject to accessibility, examine the roof cavity and underfloor areas. Timber pest activity and damage, structural damage and rot and decay can be detected by a thorough examination of these areas.

Ensure that the person you choose has adequate insurance cover, particularly for professional indemnity and public liability.

What is a good building inspection report?

Ask about the layout and content of the report. A good report should be set out in an orderly, easy to read fashion, with supporting photographs and lots of assisting information. We use 3D software and it produces a report that has labelled colour photos. It is easy to read and can be emailed to you on the day of the inspection. Hand written and box ticked reports are not adequate. Ask for a hard copy of the report for your files if you want to keep for future reference.

The report should give you:

– A summary of the overall condition of the property (considering its age and type)

– A list of any areas or item that wasn’t inspected

– If necessary, a recommendation that a further inspection or assessment be carried out by a suitably accredited specialist (e.g. pest inspector, electricity supply authority, water supply authority, structural engineer, geotechnical engineer, surveyor or solicitor).

Inspection glassBecause Building and Pest Inspections are visual only, they are not intrusive. The Inspector can only inspect areas that they can visually see and access. Making sure areas are not locked on the day of the inspection -areas such as manholes, garages and subfloor doors. If there are areas that you are particularly concerned with make sure debris or furnishes are moved for the inspection.

A dedicated inspector should go through the report with you to make sure you understand the key elements. Time spent going over the report with the inspector is an important part of the inspection process.

Areas you can follow up with after the report may include – discussions with your Solicitor or Conveyensor on areas that have been noted in the report -additions, extensions and improvements that have been undertaken. Searches may need to but undertaken.

Choosing an independent inspector is an important step. Your report is for your eyes only. Reports should only be passed onto Agents or Solicitors with your approval. Choose your own Inspector that you feel comfortable with not one that is recommended by the real estate agent

Google reviews are a good was of finding out how others have found their inspection reports.

The Legal Tips You Need To Know About Buying Property

Buying a property is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. It’s easy to get swept up in emotions when you think you’ve found “the one”, especially when you’re a first home buyer or you’ve been searching for ages. But it’s very important to carefully consider the legal and financial implications before you sign a contract. Thorough research could save you a fortune and ensure you avoid a serious mistake.

From the hundreds of real estate contracts she’s read during her career, guest blogger and Melbourne property lawyer Kate Ashmor from Ashmor Legal shares three legal tips to keep in mind when you’re considering a purchase:

1. Carefully inspect the property and check the condition of EVERYTHING before you sign the contract.

A standard clause in the contract makes the vendor (or seller) only responsible for delivering the property to you at settlement in the condition it was on the day of sale, fair wear and tear excepted. So if the central heating wasn’t working on the day you signed the contract or there was a leak in the bathroom, bad luck. Turning on all appliances and checking all light fittings beforehand will give you an accurate picture of the state of the property; you may be able to negotiate on price if something like an oven or garage door isn’t working.

2. Consider obtaining building and pest inspections.

Older period homes may have hidden issues with foundations and roofing, as well as termite infestation. Newer homes can have waterproofing and drainage issues. Investing in a building and pest inspection report could save you a fortune if you avoid buying an issue-plagued home. If relevant, read the Owners Corporations Annual General Meeting minutes carefully – will you be required to contribute to major capital works in the future? Look out for the condition of driveway concrete, fences and stairwell carpets too.

3. If you buy “subject to building and pest inspection” ensure the special condition is broadly worded.

You can insist on your wording of the special condition in the contract, so there’s enough wriggle room to terminate the contract if the inspection picks up any issues, regardless of their seriousness. Avoid the word “major” before ‘defect” and “live” before “pest infestation”. It’s your offer and you’re entitled to insist on your wording, regardless of what the selling agent says. But remember: when you purchase at auction, the contract is not subject to anything (it’s unconditional), so you’ll need to arrange your building and pest inspection to occur before auction day.

Note: the above is general information and should not be considered as legal advice.

© Ashmor Legal Pty Ltd 2016, all rights reserved.

Here’s how to contact Kate for assistance with conveyancing:
www.ashmorlegal.com.au
Facebook: AshmorLegal
Twitter: @KateAshmor
Instagram: Kate.Ashmor

Home Inspection Mistakes – Facts and Fiction

With the busy spring selling season nearly upon us, plenty of would-be buyers are preparing to hit the real estate websites to see what new stock is about. Potential buyers may engage a building inspector because they have done so in the past or have had a great recommendation from family or friends. Others are only motivated to do an inspection if they think they can use the report to negotiate a better price. But what are some of the biggest mistakes they make when it comes to a home inspection?

FICTION – Not every purchase needs an inspection

FACT – A home inspection is one of the most important steps you can take to make sure your new home is a sound investment and a safe place to live. It is vital to do your homework before making the biggest purchase of your life. Most people would never dream of buying a car without getting a mechanic or a RACV check. Having a building inspection done by an experienced building inspector, even on a new-build home, should be one of the highest priorities for a buyer because it will assist in making an informed purchase decision.

To the untrained eye a building might appear to be in good order, but it is a far safer option to draw on the experience of a reputable building inspector who can look for problems lurking below the surface. We find newly renovated constructions which usually look fantastic but are often not built according to Australian Standards can be a disaster waiting to happen.

FICTION – I have a builder friend who can look over the building and he will do a similar job to a building inspector

FACT – I have seen the ”family builder friend” at many inspections. They rarely inspect the roof or get down to inspect under floor. They do not have to equipment to determine moisture or wood decay. You are also not covered by appropriate insurances.

FICTION – A bad report kills a purchase

FACT – A report that flags one or several issues doesn’t necessarily signal the end of a potential sale. Instead, it offers the buyer a clear understanding about what may need urgent attention and what longer term maintenance should be considered. Not only does it offer a negotiation aspect, it also provides opportunity to source estimates on the cost of any repairs before the cooling off period expires or before signing a contract.

Facts when hiring a building inspector

FICTION – A DIY inspection is just as good

FACT – An inspection done by an experienced building inspector can potentially save a would-be buyer thousands of dollars. You wouldn’t trust your own health to a dodgy doctor, and a home should be no different. In choosing a building inspect, remember that you are selecting a professional who will give one of your biggest investments a complete physical check-up.

Do your homework and choose an inspector who is competent, experienced, thorough and trustworthy, rather than just going with the cheapest option or one suggested by the real estate agent.

FICTION – the real estate agent or vendor must disclose any major defects in the property I wish to purchase.

FACT – Having an inspection prior to a home purchase in Victoria is vital as laws governing house sales in Victoria stipulate that it is “Buyers Beware”. It is up to the purchaser to conduct relevant checks to establish the condition of the property. Potential areas that may push your budget over the edge or make you so uncomfortable that you may not wish to go ahead are the presence of asbestos, structural issues, mold and termite damage. Many times the vendor is not even aware that the shower is leaking causing major structural damage or that previous termites have caused the deterioration of the structure of the dwelling.

FICTION – A home being built doesn’t need to be inspected

FACT – Even experienced homebuyers can believe that a home under construction doesn’t need an independent review of work being done. It can be a rookie mistake that can result in major faults that are not being picked up until well down the track – often years later, or when it comes to sale time. Don’t assume a builder or contractor is doing everything to the highest standard, and remember that an inspection might be a last line of defense against major defects.

it's important to have a building inspector inspection a property prior to purchase

FICTION – A would-be buyer can’t go to the inspection

FACT – A growing number of buyers are opting to go to an inspection so that any matters raised can be discussed with the building consultant and considered in greater context. This avoids a novice buyer placing an over-emphasis on a minor problem, or even worse, not realizing the seriousness of a defect. The inspector must inform the real estate agent that the potential buyer will be present so make sure you inform the inspector at the time of booking.

FICTION – Recommendations made by an inspector can be delayed

FACT – There are times when a pre-purchase inspection flags an issue that might need greater examination, and a Building Inspector may recommend that the buyer refers it to a specialist expert before the sale concludes. Ignoring that advice runs the risk of an issue turning out to be a far more expensive to rectify or a much bigger deal than originally anticipated.

FICTION – A buyer needs to sign the contract before they arrange an inspection

FACT – Anyone seriously thinking of buying a home can exercise the right to have a property inspection done at any stage during the sales process, and they do not have to wait until a contract has been signed or a cooling off period has started. Don’t forget that an offer on a property can also be made subject to the outcome of a building inspection report. However many contracts stipulate that the defects need to be major before you can get out of the contract. Be aware of any agent who won’t give the inspector access until after the cooling off period. In every case this has happened to me there was something big the vendor was hiding.

FICTION – A real estate agent is there for all parties

FACT – An agent is primarily acting in the best interests of the seller. In comparison, a building consultant is engaged to give a would-be buyer an honest, straight opinion about the current condition of the house and flag any potential issues to be considered during the sales process. Do your own research and engage an inspector you feel comfortable with.

Pre Auction Inspections Don’t Be Surprised, Be Well Prepare Before You Bid

Pre auction inspections are really no different to the standard pre purchase building and timber pest inspection. If you are thinking of purchasing a property at auction it’s important for you to be prepared and still take the necessary steps to have the property thoroughly checked out before you place your bid.

Be prepared with pre auction purchases, make sure you have done a thorough inspection before bidding.
Auction conditions are not normally conditional upon the purchaser obtaining a satisfactory building and pest inspections. It’s too late one the hammer has come down!

Many times I am asked to conduct the inspection on the day of the auction. The purpose of this report is not to negotiate a reduction in price for the property. The report has many other advantages. It can highlight hidden defects and conditions that may be conducive to wood and timber pest decay. Rectification may add significant costs to an already stretched budget. If the property is an investment being able to determine how long you many need to service the mortage before tenants can safely move in can be an important factor.  All this information needs to be considered before you bid and may be helpful in determining what your maximum bid should be. It may even be a game changer and the outcome may be that you won’t be bidding at all.

A pre-purchase building inspection can also provide you with evidence to prove the condition of the property at the time of purchase. This can be invaluable if you need to make an insurance claim in the future. Some insurance companies will not pay out on a claim if they believe damage was pre-existing. The report has many labelled photos and highlights defects and maintenance items that need attention.

The video below was conducted hours before an auction. I only just had time to conduct the inspection, send it out to the potential purchaser (within ½ hour) and go through a verbal overview before the auction commenced. I believe that this was the only building inspection completed on the property so my clients were the only ones that knew of the concealed termite damage that lay under the floor in the flooring and skirting boards.

The hidden costs for this couple were too much to bear and because it was an investment they may have been without rental income for months whilst rectification took place.