Have you ever left an open home feeling like there was something you forgot to ask?
What are the neighbours like?
What is the floor area?
Is the property in a flood zone?
There’s 1000’s of questions you could ask, but what if you could only ask five?
What five questions would extract the most value for you?
If I were to go back to my first Open Home, here’s what I’d ask:
1. Do you have Title and CCC?
Just because a development looks complete doesn’t mean it’s ready to move in.
Think of settlement like a door which requires two keys.
The first key is the record of title.
This document proves the developer owns the land and that each townhouse is its own unique entity. It’s like a passport for a property and it’s essential to transfer ownership of land from the developer into your name.
The second key is the Code Compliance Certificate (CCC).
A CCC is evidence that building work meets the Building Code and matches the building consent.
If a development has those two documents issued, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll be able to settle the property and move in.
2. Is there a Resident Society or Body Corporate?
A development is like a mini neighbourhood.
It’s likely that you’ll be sharing some spaces & infrastructure e.g paths, driveways, landscaping, outdoor lighting etc.
You’ll want to know what the longterm plan is to maintain and insure those assets.
Resident Society’s give owners more freedom to choose their own insurance provider for their individual property while still covering shared spaces for around $1,000 - $2,000 per year.
Body Corporate’s restrict owners to one insurer for the entire development and may cost up to $5000 per year.
*We covered the differences between a Resident Society & Body Corporate in a previous blog. You can find it here
3. What chattels are included?
I’ve got some bad news.
That beautiful sofa in the lounge will probably not be there when you move in.
That’s because it’s likely part of the staging.
Being crystal clear with the developer with what is included and what isn’t included is vital.
For example, with most developers you can expect things like an oven, hob, waste disposal, blinds, heatpump etc. Best not to assume anything and make sure you do a thorough check of the chattels or spec lists.
4. How sound proof is this townhouse?
Will I hear the neighbours?
I hear that question multiple times a week from buyers.
Important to note: No amount of acoustic treatment will help if your windows and doors are open. Closing your windows and doors will have the greatest effect on sound isolation.
Second to that you’ll want a townhouse that’s double glazed and has a superior intertenancy system. You can get into the nitty gritty data sheets of the products used in a build or you could simply do a quick on site test by standing in adjacent units and yell. You should find these days most of the intertenancy systems have acoustic treatment and offer a sufficient level of sound isolation.
5. Is the price negotiable?
That question is a good start.
But to get the best price, I suggest employing a little leverage.
Before attending an Open Home do some research.
- What are comparable properties priced at?
- What has sold recently and how much for?
- How long has this development been on sale for?
- How many units are left?
This will give you a clearer picture as to if the marketed price is a good deal or not. It’s like the Bunnings price match policy.
If you can’t find a better price somewhere else, why would a developer move their pricing?
You’re never going to get all the answers at the first viewing but being proactive with asking the right questions will put you a stronger position.
Hi I’m Hausia,
I help first home buyers make better buying decisions.
If you want access to arguably the best off-the-plans mortgage advisor in Lower Hutt, click ‘contact us’ below or head straight to his website here.
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