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Buying with Harcourts

Committed to your needs

Harcourts has been helping people to buy and sell property for over a century. We are committed to helping turn your property dreams into reality.

When you come to Harcourts in search of your perfect property, your personal real estate consultant looks to establish your goals and set about achieving them for you. It is their job to listen to what you want and to work for you with care and consideration at all times. 

Your real estate consultant will guide you through the process of buying a house, providing advice on property values, investment potential, finance options and legal requirements.

It is all part of the extra-effort service. And best of all, it's all entirely free of charge.


Finding your home

We will begin by showing you suitable properties, which are on the market right now. You will see photographs and detailed descriptions of all the properties we have listed which meet your requirements.

When you see something you like, we will arrange a visit for you.
We will be keeping an eye out for suitable properties online, in the newspapers, new listings that come up - even, if necessary, approaching the owners of properties you like which are not currently on the market.

Of course, working with a Harcourts real estate consultant does not mean you can only look at properties which are listed with Harcourts. We will be happy to deal with other real estate companies on your behalf.


Your wish list

We often hear "but the agent didn't listen to me!"  While this may be true for some agents, your Harcourts consultant is trained to listen - not to talk.

Knowing your requirements early really helps us to help you. Sometimes however, your circumstances and priorities can change. Often, we will check with you to ensure we remain on track.

Facts that help us in finding you the right property include:

   - Suburbs
   - Price Range
   - Number of bedrooms
   - Style of home
   - Proximity to childcare/primary and secondary schools
   - Garden size
   - Drive on access and or garaging
   - Special requirements e.g. no stairs


Your essentials

It is important that we know the absolute most important features you want in a property and will not compromise on. They may include:

   - A separate office / study
   - Sun aspect
   - Security
   - Garaging or mooring for a boat
   - Low maintenance grounds

These requirements are unique to each buyer. Also give some thought to features you most definitely do not want in a property.


Searching for properties

Many buyers search the internet prior to viewing properties.

Our website provides a comprehensive search facility which will provide you with property details and multiple photos of each property.

If you are interested in a particular property and you know its ID number (from the advertising sign) you can search for it by typing this ID number in the quick search function at the top of the screen on www.christinemckay.harcourts.com.au

Alternatively you can type in the suburb in the area indicated to complete an area search of properties meeting criteria such as number of bedrooms and price.

Notify Me

When you register your email details with the Harcourts website and enter your buying criteria in the Personal Notifier section, whenever a property is listed that meets this criteria you will receive an email with the property link.

Use our Maps

Harcourts Google Maps are a great way to find an area you want to buy property in then simply look to see what is available for sale. This feature allows you to look at a map of the area (either regular mapping or photographic satellite) then look at the position of surrounding properties which are for sale and obtain details on them.

Loan Calculator

The loan calculator enables you to easily determine fortnightly or monthly repayments by entering the amount you wish to borrow, your deposit, preferred interest rate and term of loan.

helpsellmyproperty.net

helpsellmyproperty.net is a unique website for people considering selling property yet enables anyone to undertake quick and easy research to better understand the local real estate market and estimate the value of property.  You have access to:

   - 'Market Information' - property sales statistics for any given area of the country
   - 'Recent Sales Notifier' - enables you to automatically receive an email notification, including price, when a property that fits your criteria of interest sells
   - 'What's My Home Worth' - will generate a list of sold properties with sale date and price using criteria 
   such as location, property type, and bedroom numbers etc to assist you in establishing property values.


Inspecting Properties

We will show you those properties that best fit your requirements. This will be at times to suit you and the owner of the property. You will be kept informed of all changes relating to the properties you have viewed and you will be advised of new properties as they come on the market. Talk to us about how you want to receive new property information ie. via email, text or phone call.

Inspections of properties take time. We recommend you do not rush or disregard too quickly. Try not to judge a property from the outside only. Some properties have little or no street appeal, but have much to offer inside. An inspection will confirm your first impression or will pleasantly surprise you.

When you find a property that interests you, let us know straight away. Even if you are not yet ready to make an offer we will need to register your interest, especially where another consultant or agency is involved.

When the right property presents itself be prepared to make an offer. We will encourage you to do so as many people have found their perfect home and missed it because they didn't take the opportunity when it was available to them.


Open for Inspections

Many sellers open their homes to group viewing during the marketing of their property. Open Home times will be advertised in property advertisements. It is normal practice for us to meet you at the door to register your name and contact details. You will then be free to inspect the property at your leisure. We will always be available to answer any questions and provide information on the property or area. We are working with you, ring us when you see an Open Home advertised and I can arrange an introduction or escort you through. 


Going to contract

When you are ready to write up a contract, the next step is to decide on the price you wish to offer the seller and under what conditions you wish to make the offer. Common conditions of sale are: subject to finance, a builder's report or sale of another property, solicitor's approval of the contract or specialist inspection or approval.

You will be provided with details of relevant sales in the area and advised of any price guidelines that are available for the property.

The offer will be prepared on a standard approved contract and you will be asked to sign the required number of copies. Once this process has been completed your sales consultant will check whether any other interested parties are putting in an offer. If this is the case then you will be kept fully informed (see information on 'Multiple Offers' in the next section.)

The seller can accept your offer, reject it or counter sign it. Counter signing usually occurs when the seller is not satisfied with the price offered and/or conditions included and subsequently alters them. The contract will be brought back to you for your consideration. If you accept, you initial the seller's alteration and the property is under offer to you subject to any conditions that the contract may contain. Alternatively you also have the right to counter sign. We will continue negotiations between you and the seller until you are both in agreement.

This process does not occur when buying at auction. (See information on "Buying at Auction" in the next section.)


The dangers of offering too low

Once they find the property they wish to purchase many buyers are tempted to "start low" with their offer.

We understand, but would not be giving you complete service if we did not warn you of what can happen.

   1. The seller could feel insulted, and become difficult to negotiate with from then on.

   2. The seller may think you are a bargain hunter "having a go" without serious intention to buy and dismiss your offer all together.

If you are serious about purchasing the property it is wise to make a genuine offer that reflects your serious intentions and appreciation of true value of the seller's home.


Common conditions of sale

Along with the standard terms of the contract both buyers and sellers are able to insert further terms and conditions of sale. When writing in any special condition the key parts are who is going to do it; what are they going to do; when are they going to do by; what standards will apply; what happens if it is not satisfied and who can waive it.

Once an inserted condition has been satisfied notice will be provided to the other party usually by the solicitors involved.

A condition can be either satisfied or waived. If you have inserted a condition but it has not been met by the required date you can choose to waive that condition. If the condition is neither satisfied nor waived then the agreement will be terminated and any deposit paid by you shall be immediately refunded.

Some common conditions of sale are:
   - Conditional on sale of purchaser's property
   - Conditional on sale of purchaser's property becoming unconditional

Inserting these clauses allows you to sell your property before purchasing. Use the appropriate clause to allow you time to sell your property or for an existing contract of sale to become unconditional in all respects.


Expiry of Prior Agreement / Back up Clause

Insert this clause in your contract when the property you are making an offer on is already under contract for sale subject to a conditional agreement. By securing a signed back up offer this means that if the first conditional contract on the property does not go ahead the seller cannot grant any extensions to the first buyer and your contract will take immediate effect. If you have a back up offer on a property it is important that you take that into consideration when looking at other properties so that you don't enter into two different contracts.


Multiple Offers

A multiple offer situation is when more than one party is interested in making an offer on a property. Harcourts has formulated a system to handle multiple offers that is fair to all parties concerned.

The seller is notified and a time is set so that all offers can be presented to the seller at the same time. These offers are usually presented to the seller by the Harcourts office manager.

If you are a buyer we have informed you that you are in a multiple offer situation you are advised to put forward your best price and as few conditions of sale as possible as the seller will accept or enter into negotiations with the most favourable offer.

The seller has the following options:
   - Accept any one offer
   - Negotiate with any one offer
   - Reject all offers


Paying the deposit

Once all parties have signed the contract you will be asked to pay a deposit. This usually equates to 10% of the purchase price.

We can refer you to our Financial Services team who can assist you with this.

Once paid, this deposit is held in a Trust Account until the contract is confirmed i.e. becomes unconditional in all respects. It is then paid to the seller upon settlement of the property. If the contract does not become unconditional the deposit will be repaid to you.


Property insurance

In some state of Australia you can be responsible for the insurance cover of the property you are buying from the first business day after the contract has been signed.

Harcourts can arrange a 30 day temporary cover to provide you with immediate, temporary insurance cover and "peace of mind".

This service is complimentary and can save you hours spent researching the many insurance providers on the market today.

We can provide you with more information.


Buying at auction

Buying at auction avoids the often prolonged waiting for the traditional offer/counter-offer negotiation process and undertainty of what another buyer may be offering. During an auction bids for the property are called in an open arena on a given day and time. If your bid is accepted you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you have purchased at true market value.

An auction is an exciting environment where everything is out in the open. You can see your competitors and have confidence that others place similar value on the property as you.

Let us know if you are interested in an auction property so that you will be kept informed if a pre-auction offer is made and given the opportunity of submitting an offer or bidding if the auction date is brought forward.

We will be able to provide you with an interested bidder's information booklet on the particular auction property.


Frequently asked questions about buying at auction

Q1. Do I have to have cash to bid?

Yes. To bid at an auction you need to acquire pre-approved finance so that you can bid with no conditions of sale. A 10% deposit is required on the day of auction; the balance due on possession date.

However it is often possible to extend the possession date to allow you more time to organise your funds or sell an existing property. Talk to us so that we can arrange this with the sellers and auctioneer.

Q2. How do I find out how much the property is worth?

The more property you inspect in the area the better you will become at determining approximate values. If you need help ask us for guidance. We can refer you to home of similar type and price for comparison. You may also opt to pay for a registered valuation. Remember pricing real estate is not an exact science as come auction day what the seller needs to move on and the emotional desire of other bidders will determine the end selling price. We recommend you arrange a little extra finance just in case.

Q3. Can i make an offer before the auction day?

Some owners may consider selling before auction day, some may not. Usually the offer would need to be a very good one to convince a seller not to hold the auction. If an acceptable pre-auction bid is tabled all interest parties are contacted and given the opportunity to also submit an offer or bid if the auction date is brought forward.

Q4. What is a seller or vendor bid?

The conditions of sale state the seller has the right to bid themselves. This can be compared to a counter offer during private negotiations. This bid may be used by the auctioneer to start the auction or bid during the auction to build bidding momentum. The auctioneer will disclose all vendor bids and will not bid on behalf of the seller once the property's reserve price has been reached, that is a price sellers are prepared to sell for.


Have you arranged your finance?

Never underestimate the power of a "cash" offer during negotiations.

You don't need to wait until you've found a property before you arrange finance. It's a good idea to find out first just how much you can borrow - that way you know what price bracket to start looking in and what level of repayments you're comfortable with.

The problem that most people face today, however, is 'which home loan is the right one for me?" There are so many options when it comes to banks, products, rates, terms and fees. With the purchase of such a large investment, you need to be confident that you have made the right financial choice.

Home Loans & Commercial Pty Ltd is a team of banking and financial specialists who can give you expert advice, at a place and time convenient to you - and at no cost. Their team of consultants represents a range of banks, building societies and non-bank lenders. Their advice is unbiased so can focus on your needs.

Home Loans & Commercial Pty Ltd eliminates the need for any bank interviews. Once you have seen them, you immediately have the choice of many lenders and they will often get better terms than the bank will offer you direct. They also can arrange funds for your deposit once your offer is accepted.

This advice is free and there is no obligation. Talk to us and we will put you in touch with a Home Loans & Commercial Pty Ltd representative.

Phone: 07 3312 2277


Property purchase costs

Financial fees vary greatly, depending on such matters as what percentage of the property value that you will be borrowing, the amount of the loan, the amount of the purchase and which bank you are borrowing funds from. If you speak to your Home Loans & Commercial Pty Ltd representative you can quickly ascertain approximate costs for your particular circumstances.

Possible expenses you may incur are:

- Bank fees may include
   - Lender application fees, valuation fees, legal and settlement fees
   - Lender monthly account keeping fees (if applicable)
   - Lender "Professional Package" annual fee (if applicable)
   - Lender's Mortgage Insurance (if applicable)
   - Lender retention account fees (if applicable)
   - Title transfer, Mortgage registration fees
   - Registration of mortgage discharge (refunded by seller at settlement)

- Solicitor's charges may include legal searches (please consult your solicitor)

- Stamp Duty on Purchase

- Home protection insurance

- Miscellaneous costs (Building / pest inspections, rate, removalists, etc.)


Completing the purchase

Before settlement your solicitor will undertake the necessary searches with respect to the property and your financier will prepare the mortgage documentation.

On settlement your solicitor will exchange with the seller's solicitor:

- Monies
- Transfer documentation
- Keys to the property

Within a few days of settlement your solicitor or financier will register the necessary documentation and mortgage transfer with the Land Titles Registry.

Possession of the property usually takes place on the settlement day although the seller and buyer can agree for these dates to be different.


For the property investor

Investing in real estate long term is one of the most secure and financially rewarding investments you can make. We can make taking care of your investment easy.

Harcourts understands that you want your property tenanted for the best return possible and you want to relax with the knowledge that your property is being looked after.

Harcourts Property Management consultants are industry specialists in the areas of appraising and renting your investment property. They understand the growing residential rental market and most importantly they understand the needs of the property investors.

Trained Property Management consultants are able to advise on how to attract the very best tenant for your valuable asset, conduct regular property inspections, keep abreast of rent increases, follow-up late payments, organise maintenance and repairs on your behalf and most importantly send you regular reports on all matters regarding your investment.