Choosing a Location and House
When deciding where you would like to live, check the facilities available close-by such as shops, schools, public transport and parks. Compare prices of similar houses.
You should consider:
- Homes that are currently being offered for sale (look at advertisements online and in the paper, and at the agent’s office)
- Similar homes that have been sold in the area, and the actual selling price.
Consider whether you need a unit, townhouse, apartment or a house. Owning a unit, townhouse or apartment means particular responsibilities and costs. Expenses can include quarterly or annual corporation fees to cover security, gardening, repairs, maintenance and so on. There may be restrictions (e.g. space for car parking, making noise, having pets, and whether you can rent it out).
- How many rooms you will need, including bedrooms
- How your needs may change over time
- The size garden you want
- Costs and time if you are planning to renovate
- Council regulations on renovations or extensions, and
- Council services available in the area.
Real estate agents must have available a buyer’s information notice (Form R3) that will guide you in thinking about how well the house will provide you with value, safety and enjoyment. The notice recommends that you find out about things such as: asbestos in the home; damage due to termites; illegal additions or alterations; if there is a live music venue nearby; energy efficiency; and alternative water connections and sources.
When you purchase a property the agent must also provide you with a vendor’s statement (Form 1). This is a legal document which gives important information about the property such as mortgages on the property and zoning, and anything that will limit how you can use or renovate the property. (These may be called easements, caveats, covenants or encumbrances). A solicitor or conveyancer can help you to understand the document.
The Land Titles Office maintains public records that can be accessed for a fee. Various land information and property searches can be conducted including: ownership details, sales details, sales history and valuation details.
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