Running Out of Space?

It's official. We've outgrown our house. Now what? Are we better off extending or looking to buy a bigger home?

It’s a tough question isn’t it? Sometimes it’s faster and less traumatic for your family to buy a more suitable home than to renovate or extend. A new location can also provide lifestyle benefits you may not have expected possible. Ask yourself these questions when looking at upgrading your home:

  • Will your local council approve the type of renovations you would need to complete?
  • Is your area likely to serve your needs well into the future?
  • Are you prepared to live through a renovation?
  • Do you have enough time to renovate?
  • Are you prepared to supervise a renovation or would you need an architect?
  • How much would the renovation cost, compared to buying a new home?

Should we buy before we sell our current home?

The main advantage of buying before you sell is that you have certainty that your new home will deliver exactly what you’re looking for. Some of the other advantages are:

  • You can move straight from your old home to your new home, so there’s no need to rent or pay removalist costs twice.
  • There’s no pressure to buy a new home that’s not quite right, because your settlement date is looming on your old home.

However, some disadvantages you should consider are:

  • Without having sold your current home, you don’t know what price it will achieve and this can make it difficult to budget effectively.
  • If you have financed the full price of the new home, you may feel pressured to sell your old home urgently.
  • If you have difficulty selling your old home, you may need to service two mortgages.
  • Should your old home fail to sell, you may need to generate income by renting it out and this may make it more challenging to sell in the future.

How do I know if my agent has given me a reasonable appraisal on my home?

Firstly, ask them how they arrived at their opinion and what other homes, similar to yours, have sold nearby recently. If your agent can’t justify their estimate to you, they’ll never be able to justify it to a buyer. Do your research. Check other recent sold prices on the internet.

What is an agency agreement?

An agency agreement is the contract between the seller and real estate agent. It outlines details such as the agent’s fee (commission), the length of time the agreement will last (typically three months), the estimated selling price and any marketing arrangements. There are two main types:

  • Exclusive Agency Agreement – your property is listed for sale with just one agent exclusively.
  • Open Agency Agreement - your property can be listed for sale by more than one agent at once.

What is a contract of sale?

A legal document offered in advance of the sale by the seller (Vendor) outlining the details of the sale of the property. The contract of sale is legally binding when signed by both parties, Vendor and Purchaser.

The contract of sale sets out the terms and conditions agreed between a vendor and purchaser, which include:

  • Agreed sale price of the property.
  • Deposit to be paid.
  • Settlement terms and date.
  • A list of inclusions being sold with the property.
  • Any special conditions required prior to the sale of the property.
  • A cooling off period (if applicable).

Once duly signed between Vendor and Purchaser, legal representatives for both parties prepare for the property transaction to be finalised.

What is an exclusive agency agreement?

An exclusive listing agreement appoints a single real estate agency to represent you in the sale of your property.

If you have confidence in one agent, then offer them an exclusive agency agreement. You will gain a greater commitment from a real estate agent if they are certain their time invested in your sale will be rewarded. Your faith in the agent of your choice will be influenced by their reputation, knowledge, presentation, and your feelings during the interview.

What should I do to prepare for an open inspection?

Accentuate its features

Your home might possess many great features - and now is the time to really show them off.

Depending on what the season is, you might want to showcase some features more than others. In winter, light the fireplace or turn on the heating to demonstrate how warm and cosy your home can be.

Alternatively, open up all windows, blinds and doors in warmer months to let cool breezes flow into the home.

Throw out your junk

Open inspections are a time to clear out all of your clutter. Not only will this reduce how much stuff you'll have to take with you when you move, but it will also help to make your house look tidier too.

If you really need to keep all of your possessions, consider hiring some storage space for the short term.

Leave them to it

When people start arriving to look at your home, it's a good idea to pop out for a while. This will leave prospective buyers to feel more relaxed and free to roam your property.

If you have a dog, take this opportunity to go for a walk with it, as this will get both of you out of the house. Make sure you put your pet’s bowls out of sight as well.

Give your home a facelift

Have you had a good, long look at the front of your house? Does it look welcoming and attractive? If the weeds have popped up and there are nasty oil stains on your driveway, you might want to think about giving your home a quick facelift.

The front of your home is the first place a prospective buyer will look, so it pays to make this part clean and tidy. Don't forget to wash all of your windows and pull back the curtains, too!

What are the most important things to look out for at open home inspections?

Open house inspections can be equal parts fun, exciting and nerve-wracking, especially if you find yourself falling in love with a property at first sight.

However, there will be plenty of time to dote on your home in the future - inspections are all about keeping your eyes open for any signs that your potential new abode might be a major lemon.

Homes may not have voices, but that won't stop them from trying to tell you something. Here are some of the more serious open inspection red flags to be on the lookout for.

A shaky foundation

It's often said that a strong foundation is the most important part of whatever's built atop it, and this can hold true for houses. While costs can vary, cracked foundations are notoriously difficult to fix and can cost homeowners tens of thousands of dollars.

Keep an eye out for cracks on steps and walkways outside. Small cracks may be normal and come with age, but wide, horizontal cracks may be a dead giveaway that the home is falling apart underneath.

Wet worries

Nothing quite compares to the risks associated with water damage. Not only can moisture rot building materials, it can lead to the growth of mould and mildew. In turn, this can lead to serious respiratory problems for people with allergies.

Signs of potential water damage include dank, musty smells, water stains, mould spots and warped walls. While water damage itself can be fixed, even more important is what caused it. After all, a leaky pipe will be much easier to fix than a hole in your roof.

Pesky pests

Not only can vermin and insects make your skin crawl, they can also be terribly difficult to get rid of. The damage caused by pests like mice and wood borers can be far-reaching, and the costs associated with eliminating them aren't cheap.

During an inspection, take time to look around for signs of pest problems. These include dead bugs, animal droppings and mouse holes.