7 Points to Include in Your Buying Property Checklist 

buying property checklist | CJC Law

Buying a property is a major life decision, and creating a comprehensive checklist is essential to stay organised. One of the most important items on that checklist is your budget. Let’s look at things to consider when planning your property-buying budget.

#1) Set your budget

When embarking on the journey of buying property, one of the most critical steps is to work out your budget. This ensures that you stay within your financial means while finding a property that meets your needs. Here are the key points to consider when planning your budget:

Things to Consider When Planning for Budget

  • Total Purchase Price: Include the cost of the property itself, along with any taxes, closing costs, and fees associated with the purchase.
  • Mortgage Rates and Terms: Research current mortgage rates and terms to estimate your monthly payments. Consider the impact of fixed vs. variable rates on your long-term financial planning.
  • Down Payment: Determine the amount you can afford for a down payment, keeping in mind that higher down payments can lead to lower monthly payments and less interest over time.
  • Additional Costs: Account for additional costs such as home inspections, appraisals, moving expenses, and any immediate repairs or renovations that may be necessary.
  • Emergency Fund: Ensure you have an emergency fund in place to cover any unforeseen expenses that may arise after the purchase.
  • Long-Term Affordability: Consider your long-term financial goals and expenses, including property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance, and potential HOA fees.
  • Income Stability: Reflect on the stability and future prospects of your income sources to ensure you can comfortably afford the property in the long term.

#2) Compile all the properties that captured your interest

As you start your property search, you’ll come across homes that pique your interest for various reasons. To stay organised,  create a system for keeping track of these listings:

Create a spreadsheet: If you prefer more detail, a spreadsheet is a great way to compare properties. Include columns for:

  • Address
  • Price
  • Number of bedrooms/bathrooms
  • Land size
  • Property features (pool, yard, garage, etc.)
  • Notes

Also read: 6 Types of Property Buyers: Which One Are You?

#3) Hire a conveyancer

A conveyancer is a specialised professional who handles the legal transfer of ownership. Here’s why you need one:

  • Ensures legal compliance: Conveyancers handle all the paperwork, ensuring it meets legal requirements and protects your interests. They’ll deal with contracts, title searches, and communicating with the seller’s conveyancer.
  • Protects your investment: Conveyancers investigate the property for any potential issues that could affect your rights or lead to future trouble (e.g., boundary disputes, unapproved renovations).
  • Smooth process: A good conveyancer streamlines the process, reducing stress and preventing delays.

When choosing a conveyancer:

  • Qualifications: Ask about their qualifications and experience. Some conveyancers are licensed professionals, while others are solicitors who specialise in property law.
  • Fees: Get quotes from multiple conveyancers to compare costs. Ensure you understand what’s included in their fees.
  • Recommendations: Seek referrals from your real estate agent, friends, or family who’ve recently purchased property.

#4) Get ready for the whole process

The process of buying property can vary slightly depending on location and whether you’re buying a new build or an existing home. Understanding the basic steps empowers you to make informed decisions.

Key stages of the sales process:

  1. Making an offer: Once you’ve found a property, determine an appropriate offer price in collaboration with your real estate agent. Your offer might involve contingencies (e.g., inspections).
  2. Negotiation: The seller might accept your offer, counteroffer, or reject it. Prepare for some back-and-forth negotiation.
  3. Contract exchange: Once an offer is accepted, both parties sign a contract of sale. This legally binds you to the purchase (a deposit is usually required).
  4. Conveyancing: Your conveyancer conducts due diligence, handles legal paperwork, and communicates with the seller’s conveyancer.
  5. Settlement: On the settlement date, final payments are made, and ownership is officially transferred into your name.

Why it matters:

  • Expectations: Knowing the process sets realistic expectations for timelines and potential delays.
  • Negotiation: Understanding the typical process provides leverage during negotiations.
  • Contingencies: It’s important to know when and how to include contingencies (like inspection or financing) in your offer.
  • Avoiding surprises: Familiarising yourself with the process can help you prevent last-minute stress and complications.

Pro Tip: Ask your conveyancer to walk you through the sales process for your specific location and the type of property you’re buying.

#5) Don’t skip the title!

A property title is a legal document that establishes ownership. Before you finalise a purchase, it’s crucial to have the title carefully examined to avoid costly surprises.

Why title checks matter:

  • Ensures the seller’s right to sell: A title check uncovers any outstanding claims or ownership disputes that could prevent a legal sale.
  • Uncovers liens and encumbrances: The title will reveal any debts (like unpaid taxes) or restrictions (such as easements) associated with the property.
  • Protects your investment: You don’t want to discover that someone else has a claim to the property or that there are financial burdens impacting your ownership rights after you buy.

How to check the title:

  • Title search: Your conveyancer will usually conduct a thorough title search and review its history.
  • Title insurance: Consider purchasing a title insurance policy to protect yourself financially if title defects are discovered later.

Important:  Don’t skip this step! A clean title is fundamental to smooth homeownership. Verifying the title early protects you from major headaches in the future.

#6) Set aside time to do the paperwork

Buying a property involves significant paperwork, and it’s easy to underestimate the time and focus required. Here’s why you should factor this in:

  • Understanding what you’re signing: Contracts, loan agreements, and closing documents are legally binding. You need time to read and fully understand every document before signing.
  • Accuracy is key: Mistakes on paperwork can delay your closing or cause unexpected fees. Give yourself enough time to catch and correct any errors.
  • Avoid getting overwhelmed: Rushing through paperwork at the last minute increases stress. Dedicating sufficient time avoids potential complications.

Tips:

  • Ask for documents in advance: Request loan forms and other key documents from your lender to start reviewing them early.
  • Block out time: Schedule focused blocks of time dedicated to tackling the paperwork.
  • Ask for help: For complex documents, don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent, conveyancer, or lender for clarification.

#7) Organise the necessary inspections

Don’t just judge a property by its appearance. Inspections are critical for revealing potential problems that could become costly repairs down the line.

Types of Inspections to Consider:

How to Organise Inspections:

  • Your real estate agent: Your agent can usually recommend reputable inspectors and coordinate scheduling.
  • Hire the professionals: Choose licensed and experienced inspectors specialising in the areas you need inspected.
  • Negotiate with the seller: Based on the inspection findings, you might ask the seller to cover repairs or adjust the selling price.

Important: Inspections are an investment! While they cost money upfront, they could save you thousands in unexpected repairs later.

Elevate Your Property Buying Experience with CJC Law

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