Are you a home buyer?
Our top 5 websites with useful information for home buyers.
There are plenty of websites that offer information and advice to anxious buyers looking to a buy a home. Some of the information and advice contained on those websites is very useful and helpful but some of it is downright misleading and incorrect so it is important to learn how to correctly and efficiently navigate through that process.
We have tried to assist in this process by sharing what we have found are some useful websites to help you through each stage of the property purchasing process:
1. Consumer Affairs
If you are starting your property investment journey, Consumer Affairs Victoria has the best guide on their website www.consumer.vic.gov.au to help you survive the process. It’s full of independent Information for consumers on selling property, using an agent, private sale, auction, deposits, contracts, conveyancing and settlement.
What you will really find useful on this website are its checklists. They are designed to make you aware of a range of issues that may affect that property and impose restrictions or obligations on you, if you buy it. The checklists aim to help you identify whether any of these issues will affect you.
Should you find any of the issues raised by the checklist cause you concern, we can provide professional legal advice to help you.
2. Loan sourcing/mortgage calculator websites
Where can you find information on how to fund your purchase? What are the best sites to find the best interest rates?
There is no shortage of websites that offer to source purchasers the best possible loan at the best possible rate, however, extreme care needs to be taken and you should query where that information is coming from. Look at whether the websites that are offering that service are unbiased with no stake in the ads.
Websites such as finder.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au and canstar.com.au all offer comparative home loan rates and other details however it is important to note that some of those websites may receive a fee for referring leads for a lender’s home loan product.
If you as a buyer are purely after information such as mortgage calculators or budget spreadsheets to assist you in working out what amount you can afford to borrow and repay and over what period of time, ASIC’s Money Smart website www.moneysmart.gov.au is a decent independent resource. It provides loan calculators, budget planners and multiple articles offering advice on a variety of topics from resisting sales pressures, to mortgage borrowing basics, a summary of consumer credit legislation and effectively managing mortgage and loan debts.
3. Building and pest inspection providers
You don’t want to face the nightmare of litigation over a property infested with pests or in a terrible condition.
Every diligent purchaser should think about making their purchase subject to obtaining a satisfactory building and pest inspection report.
There are hundreds of building and pest inspection companies advertising their services on the web however there are varying degrees of quality and thoroughness between them.
It is important that you find a diligent inspector who will thoroughly inspect all parts of a premises to determine if there is an issue.
We have seen situations where negligent and sloppy inspections have ended up costing buyers’ tens of thousands of dollars in costs (particularly with the presence of pests such as termites and borer beetles) so it is important to get this right.
We encourage you to ask lots of questions and to check that your inspector is insured and has the qualifications to do the work you need. For example, you can search for a registered Builder with Building Practitioners Board.
4. State Revenue Office
An often-overlooked impost in the property purchase process is land transfer duty (commonly known as stamp duty). After the actual purchase price itself, stamp duty is usually the most significant expense that buyers need to fund in the purchase of a property.
A detailed discussion of stamp duty is far beyond the scope of this article and the amount of duty payable can vary depending on the type of purchase and the nature of the buyer(s). However we highly recommend that purchasers of Victorian property visit the State Revenue Office’s land transfer duty calculator which will assist in calculating the likely amount of duty payable.
For simple property purchases the calculator is relatively easy to use and requires the input of only a few pieces of information, such as the contract date, the purchase price, whether the property is a being purchased for commercial/industrial uses and located in rural or regional Victoria, whether a buyer is a foreign purchaser and whether the property is the buyer’s intended main residence. Once the information is provided, the calculator provides the estimated amount of duty payable. It is important to note that the figure provided by the SRO is not an actual formal assessment and you cannot legally rely on the calculator’s information but it should give you a good guide as to the likely amount of duty that will be payable.
It is also important to note that the calculator should not be used to try and calculate duty payable for off the plan purchases or other complex purchases, such as where the purchasers are foreign nationals.
The State Revenue office website also contains useful information on the first home owner grant – this is a one-off payment to eligible first home owners buying or building a new home. For more information, visit the First home owner page on the State Revenue Office website www.sro.vic.gov.au/first-home-owner.
5. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning www.delwp.vic.gov.au is a great resource for due diligence. Useful information on this site includes:
- Land boundaries
- Environmental issues (noise and odours)
- Growth areas
- Proposed or granted planning permits
- Impacts of easements
- Fire and flood information
This website will assist you with taking the proper steps to ensure the house you buy really is everything you want.
Article by Sanin Pasagic
The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice. They are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any matters you or your organisation may have. Parkston Lawyers is able to assist you with all the legal requirements so please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you require assistance with legal matters.