Protect yourself from dodgy property cover ups

RateCity shows you why you need to know what you are getting yourself into before you buy a property.

August 27, 2010

Some people will do almost anything they can to cover up major problems, especially if money comes into the equation. Take buying a house, for example. We have all heard of cases where the seller has covered up an issue for the purpose of selling their house at a higher price. The poor buyer is none the wiser and as the cover-up is usually temporary it ends up costing them more to fix properly.

Unfortunately there are some dodgy people out there, but there is a way to save yourself and your wallet from problems popping their ugly head up later down the track.

Uncover any issues before they arise
Purchasing an existing property can have a number of advantages and disadvantages, however whether you choose to buy it or not could all depend on your pre-purchase property inspection.

A pre-purchase property inspection is done before you decide to make an offer on a property and highlights any major issues with the property that could cost you loads of money down the track.

Basically it reports the current condition of the property and any major issues such as cracks and movements in the walls and ceiling, problems with the roof and any safety hazards.

This report can not only save you money but, depending on the outcome of the inspection, you can use it to negotiate the price of the property – that is if you still want to make an offer. Also, if you discover there are issues arising with the property, again depending on what the problems are, it is up to you whether you seek further specialist advice so you can determine the extent of the problem, if and how it can be rectified and how much you will be up for.

While the inspection covers most areas of the site such as the interior and exterior of the dwelling, the roof and under the floor space, it will not include any minor defects, any detection of termites, repair costs and any sections that were inaccessible. If there is a certain area of the property that you want included, make sure you inform the inspector of this. If this is not possible, there are other inspection reports you can arrange.

Cover all your bases
There are a number of other types of reports that you can organise to have such as:

  • Special-purpose property report. This is similar to the pre-purchase property report but shows the approximate costs involved for fixing any problems, any minor issues present and a recommended list of repairs and work required.
  • Pest inspection reports. This report shows whether termites or any insects are present that may cause damage to the structure of the property.
  • Pre-sale vendor report. Some vendors selling their property may arrange to have their own inspection done, however for your total peace of mind it may be beneficial to get your own report done just in case.

Once the inspection is done and you are happy with the results, there are a number of home loans available for purchasing an established property. Whether you decide to purchase the property for investment reasons or to live in yourself compare home loans online to find one with a lower interest rate and save yourself even more.

 

 

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Learn more about home loans

What is bridging finance?

A loan of shorter duration taken to buy a new property before a borrower sells an existing property, usually taken to cover the financial gap that occurs while buying a new property without first selling an older one.

Usually, these loans have higher interest rates and a shorter repayment duration.

Mortgage Calculator, Property Value

An estimate of how much your desired property is worth. 

What is a line of credit?

A line of credit, also known as a home equity loan, is a type of mortgage that allows you to borrow money using the equity in your property.

Equity is the value of your property, less any outstanding debt against it. For example, if you have a $500,000 property and a $300,000 mortgage against the property, then you have $200,000 equity. This is the portion of the property that you actually own.

This type of loan is a flexible mortgage that allows you to draw on funds when you need them, similar to a credit card.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is the tax that must be paid when purchasing a property in Australia.

It is calculated by the state government based on the selling price of the property. These charges may differ for first homebuyers. You can calculate the stamp duty for your property using our stamp duty calculator.

What does pre-approval' mean?

Pre-approval for a home loan is an agreement between you and your lender that, subject to certain conditions, you will be able to borrow a set amount when you find the property you want to buy. This approach is useful if you are in the early stages of surveying the property market and need to know how much money you can spend to help guide your search.

It is also useful when you are heading into an auction and want to be able to bid with confidence. Once you have found the property you want to buy you will need to receive formal approval from your bank.

What is equity and home equity?

The percentage of a property effectively ‘owned’ by the borrower, equity is calculated by subtracting the amount currently owing on a mortgage from the property’s current value. As you pay back your mortgage’s principal, your home equity increases. Equity can be affected by changes in market value or improvements to your property.

What is an investment loan?

An investment loan is a home loan that is taken out to purchase a property purely for investment purposes. This means that the purchaser will not be living in the property but will instead rent it out or simply retain it for purposes of capital growth.

What is appreciation or depreciation of property?

The increase or decrease in the value of a property due to factors including inflation, demand and political stability.

What is equity? How can I use equity in my home loan?

Equity refers to the difference between what your property is worth and how much you owe on it. Essentially, it is the amount you have repaid on your home loan to date, although if your property has gone up in value it can sometimes be a lot more.

You can use the equity in your home loan to finance renovations on your existing property or as a deposit on an investment property. It can also be accessed for other investment opportunities or smaller purchases, such as a car or holiday, using a redraw facility.

Once you are over 65 you can even use the equity in your home loan as a source of income by taking out a reverse mortgage. This will let you access the equity in your loan in the form of regular payments which will be paid back to the bank following your death by selling your property. But like all financial products, it’s best to seek professional advice before you sign on the dotted line.

What is appraised value?

An estimation of a property’s value before beginning the mortgage approval process. An appraiser (or valuer) is an expert who estimates the value of a property. The lender generally selects the appraiser or valuer before sanctioning the loan.

What is a loan-to-value ratio (LVR)?

A loan-to-value ratio (otherwise known as a Loan to Valuation Ratio or LVR), is a calculation lenders make to work out the value of your loan versus the value of your property, expressed as a percentage.   Lenders use this calculation to help assess your suitability for a home loan, and whether you need to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI). As a general rule, most banks will require you to pay LMI if your loan-to-value ratio is 80 per cent or more.   LVR is worked out by dividing the loan amount by the value of the property. If you are looking for a quick ball-park estimate of LVR, the size of your deposit is a good indicator as it is directly proportionate to your LVR. For instance, a loan with an LVR of 80 per cent requires a deposit of 20 per cent, while a 90 per cent LVR requires 10 per cent down payment. 

LOAN AMOUNT / PROPERTY VALUE = LVR%

While this all sounds simple enough, it is worth doing a more accurate calculation of LVR before you commit to buying a place as there are some traps to be aware of. Firstly, the ‘loan amount’ is the price you paid for the property plus additional costs such as stamp duty and legal fees, minus your deposit amount. Secondly, the ‘property value’ is determined by your lender’s valuation of the property, not the price you paid for it, and sometimes these can differ so where possible, try and get your bank to evaluate the property before you put in an offer.

What is a guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who provides a legally binding promise that they will pay off a mortgage if the principal borrower fails to do so.

Often, guarantors are parents in a solid financial position, while the principal borrower is a child in a weaker financial position who is struggling to enter the property market.

Lenders usually regard borrowers as less risky when they have a guarantor – and therefore may charge lower interest rates or even approve mortgages they would have otherwise rejected.

However, if the borrower falls behind on their repayments, the lender might chase the guarantor for payment. In some circumstances, the lender might even seize and sell the guarantor’s property to recoup their money.

How do I take out a low-deposit home loan?

If you want to take out a low-deposit home loan, it might be a good idea to consult a mortgage broker who can give you professional financial advice and organise the mortgage for you.

Another way to take out a low-deposit home loan is to do your own research with a comparison website like RateCity. Once you’ve identified your preferred mortgage, you can apply through RateCity or go direct to the lender.

What is breach of contract?

A failure to follow all or part of a contract or breaking the conditions of a contract without any legal excuse. A breach of contract can be material, minor, actual or anticipatory, depending on the severity of the breaches and their material impact.