oc | Tuesday 31st March

The Hunt Begins

The Age. Weekly Review, James Buyer Advocates Young Homebuyer series is designed to take homebuyers through the entire homebuying process from the inside. The article series has become the biggest read online series of its type. It has been been published throughout Australia and internationally. It continues on from James Home Ratings – an industry standard in the assessment, valuing, negotiation and buying of Melbourne homes at auction, private, set sale or expressions of interest.

Summary of the many comments received from the public, the real estate industry and importantly young homebuyers

  • “The most brilliantly accurate homebuying insights I have read and I’m 76”
  • “Mal your articles are so simple, yet so spot on”
  • “Your value and negotiation concepts make me look at things very differently”
  • “I’ve learnt a lot”

WEEK 4: The Hunt Begins

In the past three weeks we’ve looked at the basic wisdoms of buying a home, and devised a simple plan focused on the three Ps – price, and position – to help you get what you want.

Now you’re ready to start the home hunt.

All too often it goes like this: you walk into the first house you see and mentally rip up the plan you’ve spent time on because you get distracted.

You listen to your mate at work about how you need to be really careful about this and that, and your stress levels start to rise.

Then you speak to an agent and get even more confused.

By day 30, you’ve looked at so many houses, you can’t remember what you looked at yesterday. You have two choices.


You turn up and the house that’s quoted at $800,000 sells to somebody else for $1.2 million. You feel embarrassed or cheated. So it’s back to the bank. You now you have $1.2 million. But the next week you miss again when a house goes for $1.3 million.

Then you hear about a house on the other side of the highway. Sure, there’s problems with the floorplan, but you can fix those, and the agent seems a bit of a nuff-nuff as the house has been on the market for almost a year. You go in all guns blazing and knock them down from $1.5 million to $1.43 million.

Deal done. Genius.

Well, genius, welcome to weak (because that side of the highway is full of home-buying landmines), unhappy renovations, increased travel times to school and work as it’s a long way from the station and, your mortgage becomes the main topic of conversation until child number three forces you to reconsider your housing options back in the original location where you wanted to buy.

Choice two

The alternative is to work in a logical manner, perhaps with a professional buying agent, perhaps not. Instead of going to each house and making up a new plan on the spot to fit, you look only at houses that fit your existing well-thought-out plan.

I suggest as a minimum attending three open for inspections a week for three months and then go to the auctions or check the results. Build up a database recording the address, landsize, style of home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, quoted price and sale price, and the number of bidders. Do this for 20 houses that fit your criteria and you’ll be clearer about what you do and don’t want.

Instead of going to a home and making up a new plan on the spot to fit each home, you are only looking at homes that seemingly fit your existing well thought out plan.

TIP: As professional buyer advocates when looking at homes with new clients we are initially focusing on the female partner’s comments on position and whether or not she warms to a home. If the couple is not sure on location we suggest visits to the coffee shops, shopping strips and drive arounds rather than walking thru one house and then another and then another.

Whatever I say about Due Diligence some of you won’t really listen –you just won’t do it because it actually takes effort. Or you will do it for the first few homes and then drop it because, “……well because after 3 homes your an expert”.

Due Diligence if done well is worth thousands of dollars each hour you put in and that is a hell of lot better than waiting on tables, working in an office or digging a trench.

Ask and answer these 9 questions BEFORE ANY home purchase.

You can follow a simple assessment system by answering these nine questions:

1 \ Do you like the feel of the house? If no, then forget it. Three really good tests for this are the first-impressions test, the gut test and the sleep test. If you answer maybe or yes to all three, move onto question two.

2 \ Does the house fit your PPP plan? If it’s a yes to position (close to shops, rail and schools) and price, then move on to question three. If no, then move away.

3 \ Does it fit the FFF five-year flexible future-proof plan (is there good size and a liveable floorplan? Can I see myself there in 10 years’ time with kids?)

4 \ Ask to see and get a solicitor to read over them. We find about one in five have legal clause issues.

5 \ Get a pest and building inspection. Twice a year we pull out of houses because of poor inspection reports.

6 \ Call the council to see if any neighbours are planning big changes –

7 \ Measure the land against the title with a measuring wheel. We find serious discrepancies in about one in 30 houses.

8 \ Finances – do you have written approval for deposit and settlement from your bank?

9 \ Settlement – are the settlement terms OK for you? If not, them.

If your answers to these nine questions are all positive it is then time to move onto the next step – Valuing the home.


More in The Age, Weekly Review, James Buyer Advocates Young Homebuyer series

Article One: Good Home and Bad Homes – Simply your decision. Glen Iris gain a $million – Southbank lose a $million CLICK HERE

Article Two: Clarity Plan – PPP’s – get the best out of now  CLICK HERE

Article Three: Futureproof your plan FFF’s and put a $million into your pocket – CLICK HERE

Article Four: Due Diligence. Boring but very profitable. Great hourly rate work – CLICK HERE

Article Five: Value Concepts that can work for you – CLICK HERE

Article Six: Practical Valuing – CLICK HERE

Article Seven: Negotiation at the Pointy End – CLICK HERE

Article Eight: Walking the Walk – CLICK HERE


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