If you’re thinking of buying there’s a pretty good chance you know what you want, where you want it, and how much you are prepared to pay. When it comes to buying there’s no shortage of advice online as well as from parents, friends, armchair experts, not to mention those get rich spruikers.
The biggest mistake you are likely to make isn’t doing enough research, investing wisely, or getting the best price, the biggest mistake most buyers make is not calling a settlement agent before they sign a contract.
How many rock stars have said, “I only wish I got my lawyer to look over the contract before I signed it?” In property, they call it ‘caveat emptor’ or buyer beware, but it needn’t be like this, in fact, it can quite easily be buyer aware.
Let’s bust a myth and a BIG misconception. The usual listing real estate agent isn’t working for you (unless you are paying them a Buyers agent commission to do so), sure they might seem lovely, keen to show you around the property and they might even use the standard contract. But you need to know they are working for the Seller and that the standard contract in WA favours the seller. Why? Because just like those music execs they know you aren’t necessarily skilled at negotiating a million-dollar contract in your favour? So why try?
The Settlement Agent is experienced at representing both Buyers and Sellers so they have seen it all. Good and bad! What you might not know is that once they are appointed also duty-bound to look after you. A bit like a police officer is there to serve and protect. Ok, they might not have a badge but they are fierce when it comes to looking after you.
Why would you appoint a Settlement Agent after you have signed a contract? You are effectively excluding the one person experienced enough to assist you with purchasing a property.
If you’re about to lay down some serious money on a property start by calling a Licensed Settlement Agent, the conversation will go a bit like this:
You: I’m thinking about buying a property but I haven’t signed a contract yet
SA: Excellent, wise move, I have some questions for you and there may be some clauses you want to add plus some pre-inspections you might want to consider. Wound you like me to assist you?
You: Yes, but how much will that cost?
Depending on the settlement agent and how much assistance you require will depend if they charge a modest consultation fee or not. This is your first opportunity to build a relationship of trust with a property professional who could be representing you all the way to settlement. It’s time to use your intuition and ask yourself “is this settlement agent right for me”. The choice is yours! Ask questions and be open about your situation and what you want.
So if you are looking to buy, strike up a conversation today with a Licensed Settlement Agent before you sign anything.