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Purchasing property

Tips for Buying Your First Home and Mistakes to Avoid

Buying your first home is a huge step in life, a pivotal moment that is a mix of dread and thrill. The repercussions of it could stick with your for a lifetime, so, you better not rush things here.

The steps can look a bit different from state to state, but underlying principles remain the same. Take your time to assess your finances, life situation, the market, and opportunities out there. There is a slew of moving parts to keep an eye on and many costly mistakes to avoid.

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Setting the financial house in order

Not knowing what you can afford is the first on the list of pitfalls to steer clear of. Believe me, you don’t want financial problems to come and haunt you later, once you have taken the plunge.

You must do the math and have a sound financing plan in place. A mortgage is a viable option, provided that you figure out the total costs over its lifetime. It’s also a good idea to fulfill all the tax saving formalities and get the loan pre-approval ahead of time.

Furthermore, note that there are some first-time buyer loans with a lower down payment minimum than the conventional counterparts. Feel free to consult agents regarding referrals for mortgage brokers or turn to your bank/credit union.

[caption id="attachment_14050" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]buying your first home Photo from:[/caption]

The question of where

Knowing where to look is the key to fulfilling your dream of homeownership.

Don’t make the mistake many property hunters make and rely solely on what you find online. Yes, you can do a plenty of things via the internet before ever setting foot in the home. However, there are certain aspects that you cannot spot on an image, which can often be misleading. You are better off scheduling several home visits at a time and seeing it all with your own eyes.

No amount of digital mumbo-jumbo can replace a good old home inspection, the only surefire way to get to know what exactly you are buying. In some states, inspection is a contract contingency, but even if it’s not, you should never skip this step.

Seek real estate agents

Trying to keep spending in check by avoiding any professional help is one of the most common mistakes that first-time buyers make.

Rest assured that reputable real estate agents can save you a lot of time, headaches, and money. They are the professionals who know the market backward and forward and have access to hot information, such as listings that still haven’t been made public.

Moreover, they can review targeted homes for you, gather crucial documents, sniff out overpriced properties, and uncover problems and faults that sellers try to conceal.

[caption id="attachment_14051" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]buying your first home Photo from:[/caption]

The price of dreams

Know that prices of homes are not set in stone: they are a reflection of what a seller wants to get in the certain market.

As a rule of thumb, the first offer is a bit inflated, so don’t hesitate to reject it. Of course, it helps to carry out research and take a look at pending and comparable sales (similar type and condition of the property) in the area.

Use acquired insights to work out a realistic price range and manage your expectations accordingly. Then, you can develop your negotiating position and prepare a list of questions.

A broader view

You buy what you see before you, but also what you are able to envision in terms of the home’s potential. Problems can be solved and fixed, sometimes via a Request for Repair to the seller. An unfortunate paint choice is not a deal breaker and some redecorating can make new space truly feel like home.

In any case, you shouldn’t skimp on renovation, especially if you think it could make a real difference, whether in terms of your satisfaction or resale value. I have seen trusted home builders from Sydney helping numerous Aussie homeowners design, revamp, and remodel their homes, boosting their appeal, comfort, and value in the process.

Beyond face value

Never lose sight of the big picture.

The neighborhood that surrounds your home has a profound impact on the quality of life, as well as the value and true appeal of the home.  Keep an eye on amenities, institutions, shops, parks, and other things in the vicinity. Get to know the society and its rules.

Ask around to make sure that the neighborhood is not plagued by problems such as crime. Finally, you could also check whether there are some large infrastructural projects that could enhance the value and allure of the properties in the area.

[caption id="attachment_14052" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]buying your first home Photo from:[/caption]

Getting on the property ladder

For unseasoned newcomers, a residential market can be a real jungle. Many people are lead astray, finding out that buying their first home is a time-consuming, budget-guzzling, and emotionally draining process.

Therefore, you have to do your homework: arm yourself with knowledge and summon professionals to your aid. There isn’t much room for mistake and no reason for hastiness. The basic rule is this: check, research, look, and inspect.

That way, you can gain a foothold in the property market without blowing your budget or go out of your way to reaching your goals.

Hidden Costs of Buying a Home

Though there may be many people who assume that the only cause to be concerned with when buying a home is the flat price, the truth of the matter is that there are many more costs to be concerned with than simply the price tag itself. If you want to be as cognizant as possible of what the true costs of buying a home are in any circumstance, then it is absolutely necessary to make sure that you take all of the hidden cost into account.

By making sure to take the hidden costs of buying a home into account, you can ensure that you are never blindsided by any unforeseen expenses in the process. The following are all some of the most important hidden cost to keep in mind so that you can stay one step ahead no matter what the circumstances may be.

Building inspection

Even if the home seems to be as pristine as a crystal, you still need to make sure that you have it thoroughly inspected to ensure the absence of pests and other potential hazards. Even if the property was just renovated a couple of months ago, there can still be a number of issues that have to be sorted out in terms of overlooked infestation. A building inspection procedure shouldn't cost any more than several hundred dollars, but nevertheless, it is still a very important aspect of the home buying process that you should always keep in mind regardless of the circumstances.

Lenders mortgage insurance

How to Choose the Perfect Home Builder

One of the heftiest home buying expenses apart from the price tag is the matter of lenders mortgage insurance. Through lenders mortgage insurance, you have a way of guaranteeing that the lender will actually lend you an amount that is more than just 80 percent of the property's full value. By paying this premium, you assume responsibility for costs that can be close to $8000 on average. If you save up a large enough deposit, however, you can put yourself in a position where paying lenders mortgage insurance is completely unnecessary.

Bank valuation fee

In many circumstances, arranging for the independent assessment of your prospective property value can cost several hundred dollars should the bank choose to charge you for. You just may happen to be in a position where your bank does not actually charge you for this procedure, but just to make sure that all of your financial bases are covered, you will certainly want to make sure that you have taken this possible expense into account.

Yearly/Quarterly rates

No matter what kind of property it is that you purchase, you should always keep council and water rates in mind. The remaining yearly quarterly rates on the land and water are calculated from the initial settlement date, localized to the area and property at hand; this can cost as much as $700, so you will want to make sure that you keep in mind.


No matter what kind of home that it may be that you're interested in buying, there are always more important things to keep in mind than the flat deposit and the pantry organisers. In addition to the deposit that you pay, you also want to make sure that you have taken accounts of things such as the lenders mortgage insurance, maintenance costs, stamp duty, building inspection and all other necessary components of upkeep. By making sure that you keep all the hidden costs in mind at all times, you can always ensure that you are in the best possible position to leverage a new home with as much financial stability as possible. Compare real estate agents to be sure that you get the best deal.

Must-ask Questions for Your House Inspection Checklist

Investing in a home is not a lightweight decision. After all, there are several things that come into play and you’re setting aside a huge chunk of money which you’ll want value for.

Melbourne is filled with housing options and making the right selection can be tricky. One of the worst things to happen can be the problem of having to deal with a pest infestation in a house you have recently purchased. Maybe at the time of visiting the house, you never saw any visible signs. However, the main problem lay below the surface or in conditions conducive to the development of a pest infestation.

For those investing in an apartment in Melbourne, you need to conduct a building pest inspection to find out if there are any existing problems anywhere in the building. This is mandatory because if one resident of the building has a pest control and removal problem to deal with it is most likely to spread to other apartments in the building.

For those looking to purchase private homes, it is essential to inspect the foundations of the building and the existing structure to check for any pest or insect infestations.

Pest can be a real hassle depending on which type they are. There are rodents, termites, wasps, cockroaches to name a few. While all the rest can be carriers of diseases termites really are the worst and bring down the entire structure causing your entire investment to go down the drain.

Termite control and removal require treatment by professionals but first requires vigilance and inspection from your side. So here’s a checklist of things to consider when purchasing a home:

Where does the sun come in from:

This is important because not only will it give you the luxury of enjoying natural light within your home, you’ll also be saving on electricity bills. But with regard to pests, most of them prefer to live in the dark so a residence lavished with natural light will probably not have those many problems with pests.

Heating and cooling systems of the home:

Again, this is important because you would want your home’s temperature to be comfortable and not too hot or too cold. Remember to ask your agent about the heating and cooling systems the house already has or will require. This will give you a fair idea of what kind of wiring work you will need to get done.

A well-ventilated house is less likely to attract pests since pests like cockroaches, termites, wasps, ants, etc all require moisture to thrive. You may even want to keep in mind to not have heating and cooling systems with excessive wiring as those, in turn, would garner the attention of rodents, cockroaches, etc.

Plumbing issues:

Plumbing is something that you absolutely cannot afford to compromise upon since broken drains or leaking faucets, rusty pipes, etc are what can cause more than a flood problem in your apartment or home.

Allowing plumbing to deteriorate not only brings on a bigger bill to pay but will also lead to moisture getting trapped in the house which as mentioned above will make your residence to be a paradise for pests.

Cracks, dampness or mould on the walls:

Walls are what protect you within your home from being exposed to harsh weather conditions, etc.

If the walls are weak you can be sure that you aren’t going to feel very much at ease within the house. Cracks, damp patches or mould etc are signs hinting at a plumbing problem. It means that something somewhere has given way and needs fixing.

Cracks can also become entry points for pests and insects to get, while damp patches and moulds, could result in respiratory problems and encourage termites to enter your home.

History of a pest infestation:

This is important and will be information you could get only through a reliable pest control service that conducts a building pest inspection of the place.

It is important so that you know whether there have been infestation or insect problems in the past, the extent of the damage done and whether those matters were thoroughly solved. This point can be a deal breaker or even a price negotiator depending on how bad the report says it to be.


Now just for your peace of mind, it might do good to find out what kind of neighbours you will be living along with. After all, they could easily prove to be problematic right? Even if you don’t plan to personally live in the house you’ll want to acquire this information so that the tenants you give your residence out to don’t have a reason to complain.

One important thing to find out about your neighbours is with regard to whether they’re the quiet and tidy kind. Or else you run the risk of not just having their nose in your business but their pest infestations and insect problems too! These pesky creatures travel to and fro with ease, remember?

Renovation potential:

maybe you will like the way the residence looks or maybe you’ll want to do it up entirely. Enquiring on the potential of this is wise because it will expose the sturdiness of the frame of the place allowing you to know just what you might be able to do as well how good a buy it is from the inside. Hint: if you face too much resistance to this question you may want to conduct a pest inspection to discover whether any under the surface infestations are being concealed!

Finally, it’s good to ask all the questions that will set your mind at ease over the purchase but it is also wise to have the place inspection by a professional so that pests will not later eat into your investment.

About the author:

Muzi Tsolakis heads Protech Pest Control, Melbourne’s preferred pest inspection, and control service. Amongst the various pest treatments, they offer they specialise in termite control and possum removal thanks to their skilled professionals.


5 Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating for Profit

Renovating for profit isn't just about painting a wall or fixing the fence: its all about adding real value to your property over the long haul. If done correctly it can be a fantastic way to secure returns. Although, you've got to be wary as there are numerous places where you can potentially fall into trouble. Keep reading to discover the 5 mistakes to avoid when renovating for profit and how to evade them!

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Mistake #1: Paying Too Much for the Property

Paying more for a property than what it's worth is a mistake in any situation, but especially if you're only renovating for profit. The more you pay for a property, the more money you need to sell it for in order to gain profits. Therefore you're going to need to spend more on renovations in order to increase the value of the property. Overall it's just easier to purchase properties at prices you can afford.

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In order to avoid paying too much you:

  • cannot let the auction bidding process run away from you

  • cannot let yourself get emotionally involved in the property

  • must be confident in your negotiation skills.


Mistake #2: Leading with Your Heart, Not Your Head

Possibly the most important thing to remember when renovating for profit is that it's not about you! You need to leave your own tastes and opinions at the door. Therefore stray away from bold design choices and opt for more neutral ones.

[caption id="attachment_7523" align="aligncenter" width="427"]neutral_living Neutrally designed home[/caption]

In order to learn what improvements will add the most value to your particular style of home, in your specific suburb, in your current housing market you need to get studying! Comprehensive research will help you avoid common mistakes, approximate your costs, understand your target market and overall maximise your profits.


Mistake #3: Not Sticking to Your Budget

When renovating it can be easy to let money get away from you. Not sticking to your budget can create serious cash flow issues and unhappy suppliers. It'll also stress you out, and kill your motivation. Other people will also be less likely less inclined to work with you if they don't believe you're managing everything successfully.


In order to avoid overspending enlist the help of a professional valuer. They come up with a value which they think your property has the potential to sell at, and then assist you in estimation of costs and development of a highly disciplined budget. Select a locally based valuer as they'll have a good understanding of your target market and hence where your spending will be most successful in increasing value.

As a basic rule for every dollar spent you should get two dollars in added value. Another top tip is to add between 20% to 30% contingency for unforeseen expenses. That way you’ll stay on top of your finances, no matter what disaster strikes.


Mistake #4: Choosing to DIY

Unless you're a professional, it's usually not worth the risk of DIY when you intend to sell for profit. Yes, the cost effectiveness is of DIY tempting, but you'll find in the long run that things'll start falling apart and you'll just end up spending more!

timber flooring installation


Professionals actually know what they're doing, can completely the task much faster and of course leave you with a much classier finish. Do your research and be willing to spend a little extra to ensure you're hiring competent individuals who can give you what you want.


Mistake #5: Ignoring Your Audience

Beyond simply leading with your head rather than your heart you must also completely understand your target market in order to make profits. Failing to do this is probably the biggest mistake you can make whilst renovating for profit.

Selling House tip to make sure buyers understand the property

Think who is most likely to purchase the property - families, students, young couples, the elderly - and then tailor to them. It is important NOT to make assumptions here or go with what you think is right. Instead actually seek people out and understand their real tastes and needs. If you're still unsure contact an agent who can chat to a network of prospective buyers.

How to make transferring property less painful

Whether you are about to buy a new home, or you are thinking about selling, there are many things to consider. A seller needs to consider advertising and marketing, legal contracts, open for inspections and presenting the property. A buyer needs to consider whether the property is suitable in terms of location, style and size, what is the right value and whether the property is affordable.


Hire a conveyancer 

If you are not sure about any of the legal documentation, it is best to get a conveyancer who will be able to help you out. The conveyancer helps with the transfer of ownership of a legal title of land from one person to another. They typically provide advice and information about a property, prepare the contract and conduct the settlement process.

Think Conveyancing are experts at helping people with selling their homes. Just remember without a contract anything you do will be null and void, meaning that the transaction never occurred.


Image source:

Present your home for more overall value

A property seller should always consider making simple investments to make their home more appealing to buyers. You do not need to spend a lot of money to get a great return on investment. Updating fixtures, a fresh coat of paint, a professional clean and some de-cluttering is often all you need to add significantly value to a property during a sale campaign.

What is the right property value

Today there is so much freely available information about property prices that any buyer and seller can be well informed and make sensible decisions about what is the right price to buy and sell a property. is Australia’s only real estate website that combines historical property data and Guesstimate values with what’s now on the market to buy or rent. Their reports allow you to research the sales history of a property, analyse comparative properties and monitor the performance of properties over time.




Open Home Inspections - know these tips before you inspect

A close relative of mine recently bought a house for a princely sum after only a single open home inspection.  I asked him some obvious questions about the state of various aspects of the building, the interior, the fixtures, the pool, and the landscaping - and he could not answer the questions with any confidence.  In fact, he could only recall some obvious positives of the property.  The next time he will see it is when he will move in, so let's hope there is no lurking expensive issues to address!

So how do you get the most out of an open home inspection?   These tips by Property Observer will help you avoid wasting your time, and panicking as you sign the purchase contract that you have not checked some key items in the house.

New house searching and inspecting is a tedious exerciseIf you are house hunting you should know after your first open home inspection whether the property meets your criteria, what the risks/issues might be, and have a sense of the fair value.   Do not waste time re-inspecting houses because you cannot remember details, or you forgot to check something!  House hunting is difficult enough as it is and your time is precious.

Renovator Store has found this great article by Property Observer that provides essential tips to ensure you get the most out of your inspections - saving you time and helping you make the right decisions:

  • Prepare - know the house before you inspect and bring everything you need

  • Be early - take the opportunity to check out the street and area, and local noises and features.

  • Engage the agent - have a chat with the agent and get on their buyer list.  Thank them on exit and seek a followup if you feel the property will make your short list.
    house and real-estate hunting

  • Walk through - initial walk through points to look for, and a more detailed second walk through looking at the detail.  "Buying Property for Dummies" highlights there are nine basics you need to look for in the street appeal, and rooms such as the kitchen, bathrooms, living/dining areas, bedrooms, laundry, garage, and the backyard

  • Discrepancies - check the property features against the listing.  Do not simply rely on what is marketed to you.

  • Details - seek the documents and floorplans you need and make use of some of the fantastic smart phone apps - one can create floor plans for you on site.  Take note of the interest and attendance on the day

  • Other - learn to look past the staging (such as rented furniture and art), and have a keen eye for what looks like recent touch-ups and repairs

Click here to read this article by Property Observer and let us know below what issues and surprises you have experienced in-house inspections.


Property Investment in Australia: Navigating a Tough Market

There is so much conflicting commentary in the media about Australian property.  Are we experiencing a huge property bubble about to burst, or are high prices here to stay given we are a wealthy country with an under-supply of property?

The fact is:  in a market where there is such high property price volatility and uncertainty the winners will be those equipped with the tools and knowledge to take advantage of the opportunities and the uninformed.   If you are considering Australian property as an investment, this article could be your first positive step towards taking control of profiting from it - in a big way . . .

House and gold coins on the scale

Whilst I do not have a crystal ball, I know Australian property is very tradable and is one of the few asset classes where the local investor can take control of the investment terms, the investment appreciation, and the investment exit.    Learn how to take that control and it could be the best lesson you ever take.

If you invest in listed stocks or bonds, or managed funds that invest in these, all you can do is sit back and watch the value of them go up and down based on the markets and management performance that you had to speculate on upfront.  For most it feels like a complete gamble.  If you (or your fund manager) guess better than the market on these factors then you should profit, otherwise you may see your invested funds decline.  Either way, you probably never had much control during the investment.

Property does have its undeniable market risks.  But as an investor or owner you can usually seriously influence its improvement, presentation, and exit value.  Owning shares in BHP will not let you influence its investment performance.  And importantly, unlike shares and commodity markets, selling an investment property can seek to benefit from emotional purchasers - and emotion can yield the seller a sizeable profit!  Learning to understand property investment, property improvement and presentation, and appealing to the emotions of future suitors of your asset makes it a very different investment class to listed equites or bonds.

Happy Couple Hugging in Front of Sold Real Estate Sign and House.

Basically, PROPERTY OWNERSHIP = (opportunity for) INVESTMENT CONTROL.  It sounds simple, but it is amazing how many investors simply compare historical returns from property ownership to investment returns from passive securities investment.  If equities have yielded higher than property in the last year then let's invest in equities!  Property ownership gives you the ability to make decisions to seek to transform value.

An analogy would be:

The PROPERTY INVESTOR is the surfer who patiently waits just beyond the surging tide all morning to pick his ultimate wave, then rides it as best he can, and exits it spectacularly to avoid getting dumped into the turbulent white mass;

The passive SECURITIES INVESTOR takes a skippered boat out into the ocean and gets regular reports on its direction and tidal influence, and hopes to return to port on safe terms but must rely on the judgement and actions of the Captain and the crew.

There are so many considerations for someone seriously contemplating "Australian Property Investment": purchasing, financing, developing, building, renovating, improvement, timing, marketing, presentation, and sale.  When it comes to property, I feel textbooks are far less useful than real practical advice and learnings from experienced experts, winners and losers.  I have been a property winner (several times) and a property loser, and now believe I can offer some expertise from experience and observation.  But the real way to get informed and take control is to take practicable advice from a wide field of experts.  You cannot learn it all from one expert.  The good news is IT IS REALLY DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND PROPERTY INVESTMENT.  But if you take the time and do the research then you can be a winner too.



Your Ultimate guide to buying off the plan

Buying a property off the plan can be a daunting experience for anyone, yet for first time homeowners it can be a real advantage. When buying a property off the plan, it is important not to rush into the process but instead complete all relevant research and sort out your financial budget. Follow the steps below and you will be on your way to owning your own home!

Buying a property off the plan enables home buyers to purchase at the current market value but only pay a small deposit upfront. This gives time to plan settlements, time to save and time to organise first home owner grants and other possible government incentives. Buying off the plan can also provide opportunity for great investment properties that will produce stable rent and potential capital gain through depreciation and negative gearing.

Just like any home purchase, there are many things to consider before signing a contract.

1. Research the developer, company and builders.

This can be done over the Internet with a quick search into the developers past developments and any newspaper articles. If articles containing court actions are found, alarm bells should be ringing. Check the time frames of past developments and if they were delivered on time. Check out the financial security of the company. Research the builders commonly employed. If they are considered tier 1 or 2, these are genuinely very reliable and efficient builders.


2. Ring the council of the area in which the development will be built.

Determine the zoning areas of surrounding schools and clubs. Ask about future pending developments that may affect your investment. If there is a large opportunity for further developments, it may create oversupply and reduce your potential re-sale value, not to mention turning your home into a developmental jungle.


3. Take the time to inspect past developments of the builder to gain an idea of the architecture, finishes and quality used.

It is very hard to deduce what your apartment will look and feel like by looking at floor plan. Inspect the display suit to gain an idea of space. Make sure you understand the finer details such as the placing and number of power points.

4. Inspect your choice of finishes

Although more expensive initially, it is often worthwhile to invest in higher cost and quality finishes to increase longevity. Carpets often last 10 years, floor boards 15 years and tiles beyond 40 years. When deciding on finishes, go for something simple yet modern that will age well like good wine. Some items that are likely to pay off come re-sale time include slightly wider bench tops, larger ovens, built in coffee machines, double glazed windows and LED lighting.

5. Showing early interest

Showing early interest in an apartment complex will provide you with more choice and flexibility in terms of apartment choice and finishes. A well-known Melbourne real estate agent from Frasers property suggests that apartments on level 7 or 8 are often the best value due to the slightly higher ceilings resulting from the installation of water and sewage pipes above. Floors 3-8 are often the first to sell and retained for the longest. Interestingly, living areas are more popular when facing north or east however come re-sale, there is often little difference in the reflected price.north_facing_choose_orientation

6. Decide on your priorities.

If street parking is competitive and you have your own vehicle, investing in a car space would seem necessary and a great draw card come re-sale. 1 bedroom apartments are often a lot more common and so a lot more competitive in price. If you have the money to spare, investing in a 2 bedroom apartment would provide you with much higher selling potential. It is important to not forgot your priorities in the hype of buying a new home. Make sure all your wants and needs are covered and that you have the financial means to afford such investment.

Finally, remember that research is the key. If you have spent ample time researching the area, the developer, the prospect of capital gain and your own personal wants and needs then you are in good sted to make the investment. Make sure the contract is filled out with all your requirements and specifications. A skinny contract is a risky contract. GOOD LUCK!

For more information about 'Buying off the plan', visit to view the Property Observer's Ultimate 'how to' guide for new apartments

Protect your investment - Home Renovation Warranties

There can be a great deal of cost, time and effort entailed when managing a renovation. Home Renovation Warranties protects your investment as a homeowner as well as a contractor.

Most homeowners are unclear about what their rights are when it comes to warranties, particularly for renovations. Home Renovation Warranties protect homeowners in the event that a contractor fails to complete a building or renovation project for any reason.

Home Renovation Warranties will cover you for the extra costs involved in engaging another building contractor to complete your renovations, should your contractor be unable or unwilling to complete your renovations.

Be wary of any builder or tradesperson who says they do not need insurance if the value of work exceeds $20,000, or who suggests you obtain an owner-builder permit while they carry out the work for you.


Generally speaking, there are a few different kinds of warranties and protections in place during a renovation project namely,

Statutory warranties or implied warranties on building work

Statutory warranties are implied under state building acts and legislation. These statutory warranties are all consistant, and state that you have the right to expect:

  • All work done by your contractors will be carried out in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations

  • Work will be done in an appropriate and skillful way

  • Work will be done as specified in plans and specifications

  • Products and materials used or supplied will be good and suitable for the purpose for which they are used

  • Products and materials used will be new, unless otherwise agreed

  • Your home / the renovated area should be suitable for occupation on completion of contracted works

Manufacturer’s warranties and statutory consumer guarantees

Manufacturers usually provide warranties on products, fittings and appliances.  If you’re buying a new fridge, for example, it’s likely to be advertised with at least 12 months warranty. If anything goes wrong with the fridge during the warranty period, you should not have any trouble at all getting it repaired or replaced as spelled out in the manufacturer’s warranty documentation.

These warranties apply with certain conditions (ie. products are used and installed as prescribed, etc.). If a product does not last as long as the warranty states, there are processes you can follow to request a replacement, repair or refund.

Builders warranty insurance

Builders warranty insurance goes under many different names (depending on which state you’re in). In NSW, Queensland and the ACT, it’s home warranty insurance. In Victoria, it’s domestic building insurance.

Builders warranty insurance is to provide insurance protection for building work in case the builder you’ve hired dies, disappears or becomes deregistered at any time during your build or within the warranty period.

Builders warranty insurance is a bit controversial - while it’s mandatory on work above certain values in all states except Tasmania, in most places it’s quite difficult to get a successful claim. In fact, that’s the main reason why it’s no longer mandatory in Tasmania.

Queensland’s something of an exception – home warranty insurance is underwritten by the state in Queensland, and claims and disputes there are managed by the Building Services Authority (BSA).

To ensure that you’re protected as well as possible and to reduce the chance of any confusion, it’s always better to have everything you want written very clearly in your contract, down to brand and model names. Clear expectations always make things much easier both for the builder, and for yourself.

Owner builders and warranties on workmanship

For fairly obvious reasons, if you’re an owner-builder you are not entitled to many of the same statutory warranties  you would have when hiring a building contractor. However, you are still entitled to statutory warranty protection for the products you buy for your home.

Successful Property Investment Tips. How Not to Overpay

Anyone can have a successful property investment. Overpaying for a property is the surest way to lose money on a property investment. No matter how great and excellent your renovations are, an over-capitalised property becomes increasingly hard to profit from.

Here are some key tips to buying a property at the right price.

Know what properties are worth

Knowing the current value of properties in your desired location lets you quickly know when a bargain comes along or when a property is overpriced.

OPen Home paper

Spending time attending open for inspections and auctions in suburbs you want to buy in will help you get an on the ground feel for pricing and values. You will also gain an understanding of who your competition is and the quality of houses in your location.

Property value is all about buyer demand. What features are people looking for in that area and what properties sell faster and for a higher price?  Understanding the property dynamics in your area will help you find the value spots. The best property investments are generally those which require renovations to bring them up to standard. You need to have a clear view on the cost to renovate a home and the price that home could achieve if it was renovated. If cost to buy plus renovation is less than the expected future sale price, then you have probably found a good property investment. 

Find out the Seller's Motivation.

Knowing why the seller is selling allows you to meet the their needs. Reasons may include financial or might be because the seller needs to move quickly. Knowing the reason behind the sale lets you structure your offer to fulfill those needs.

Offering Low

Don't forget that the vendor is a person with real emotions, so never submit an offensively low offer. If you make a low offer, give a logical reason why you think your offer is fair. Do not insult the agent by handing over a list of comparable sales. Instead, make notations on each sale that compares it to the subject property. Maybe the higher priced homes had remodelled kitchens, or a pool, or a better aspect.  If the home you want to buy is not updated, then include a realistic discount that reflects the remodelling work that's required.



Make your terms flexible to give room for your vendor to move. Negotiating demands that work entirely in your favour is a definite no. Work towards a win-win situation. For instance, a deposit that could be given back upon settlement of the property can make both parties comfortable to go on with the deal.

Remember that price isn't always the only factor. There are a few other things to ask that could be highly beneficial to you or the seller.

Extended settlements

30, 60 or even 90 days settlements are normal and may give you extra time to get a start on planning any renovations.

Minimal deposit.

Why pay 10% if you could pay 5%.  See what opportunity there is to negotiate the deposit. A lower deposit means your money stays in the bank longer earning interest or if you need to borrow you will be paying less interest.

Immediate access

You could potentially start, and maybe even finish renovations before settlement of the property by having immediate access. This is highly ideal for house flipping or the BUY-RENOVATE-SELL investments.


Always submit your offer in writing. Verbal offers gives no legal obligation for the property agent to submit your offer to a vendor. Have a date stamp on your offer and indicate when the offer expires. Try submitting multiple offers. For example, an offer with a lower price that has no conditions, then another full price offer with terms and conditions, plus maybe a third meeting halfway between the two in price and conditions.

property worth

The first step to renovating for profit is always purchase at the right price. Remember to be professional and keep your emotions out of your property deals.