During a property acquisition you will come across many people that will either help or possibly hinder your property journey.

Often their intent is not to be implied in a negative way, however as you are already on emotional high alert you may become agitated or unsure of other’s motivations towards you.

It is important to consider who are your friends or foes during your journey?

Who can you openly share your thoughts with?  Get advice?

Who can help you without leaving you feeling that there was an ulterior motive?

Let’s look at The Selling Agent – are they a Friend or Foe? 

As a buyer, you have to remember that selling agents will always be on the side of the vendor and part of their job is to extract as much information as possible from buyers to provide supporting evidence to the vendor.

Equally the selling agent wants to achieve a “record” price for their sellers and a buyer wants to pay the least amount for a property so they feel they have secured a “great deal”

Some agents have been known to overly engage with you at an open home as they are hoping that if you need to sell before buying, the agent could potentially be appointed by you, to sell your home.

It’s really important to balance your relationship with the selling agent, as you need them on your side to give you some inside information of any potential new listing, or information that you can use to your advantage when interested in presenting an offer to buy a property.

Don’t give away too much and keep some cards to your chest.   You should never disclose your exact budget.   If you are too open and honest then you maybe have no room to negotiate.

An agent will call you following on from an open home inspection and ask for your feedback and thoughts around pricing, ensure that you provide some constructive commentary around the property.

If they ask you “What do you feel it is worth”?  be honest and transparent as they are simply obtaining your thoughts to educate their sellers and potentially setting the price expectation based on market demand.

The feedback will also show sellers the aspects the buyers love or dislike about the home.

During this phone call, you can open up dialogue and ask the agent what is the vendor’s price expectation?   Take control of the conversation and extract information for you to use to your advantage.

Some agents try to create competition amongst potential buyers and push for urgency and commitment.  If this was to occur then the agent needs to provide all buyers with a “multiple offer form”

This means, you need to put your best foot forward and present your best offer in terms of price and conditions.   There is no room to negotiate.  

You are safe to assume that if no multiple offer form is presented, then there are no multiple offers, therefore you may have some wiggle room.

Ask the Agent questions:

  • Why are the vendors selling?
  • Have they purchased elsewhere already?
  • How long have they lived there?
  • Are there planning guidelines?
  • Is the land unencumbered or has any restrictions?
  • What are the outgoings?

Use the selling agent as a friend so you can position yourself with strength.

Let’s look at other friends:

A conveyancer for instance, they will help you navigate the legalities of your purchase.

Building and pest inspectors, they will point out all the good and bad elements of the property and remember there could often be some negative elements, but are these a deal breaker for you?

Buyers Agents, they are absolutely your friend as they take an unbiased approach, provide you with evidence and support you during the journey.

There is an endless list of friends.

Let’s now consider those possible foes:

They could be friends, families, competing buyers, neighbours.  

Again, all with differing opinions and reasons behind their motivations, words and actions.

There is room and a purpose to have these friends and foes in your corner, but it’s important to acknowledge and be clear in your mind as to what a successful outcome could look like for you.

Don’t listen to the “noise”

Do you due diligence, get curious and ask question as ultimately it is your property and your investment.    

The First Home Super Saver Scheme

Did you know that there’s a smart way to save for your first home using your superannuation? In March 2023, the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) opened up an exciting opportunity for aspiring homeowners. Let’s dive into the basics of how this scheme can help you unlock your dream home.

How Does It Work?

When you think of your superannuation, you probably think of retirement savings. However, with the FHSSS, you can contribute extra money to your super, and later, you can use it to buy your first home. The cool part is that super earnings are taxed at a lower rate compared to other investments or bank accounts in your name.

Am I Eligible?

To qualify for the FHSSS, you need to be at least 18 years old, have never owned Australian real estate, and be making voluntary super contributions.

Contributions and Withdrawals

You can put in up to $15,000 each year within your contribution limits. The maximum you can take out, including earnings, is $50,000. Your contributions can include money from your salary, personal contributions, and more.

How to Apply

Before you sign a contract or buy a home, you must get a FHSS determination through MyGov. After that, you can request to take out the funds, either before signing or within 14 days after.

Tax Talk

Some of the money you take out will be taxed, called the assessable amount. This includes contributions and earnings and is taxed at your normal tax rate, but you get a 30% tax offset.

What You Need to Know

After you apply for the release, it takes about 15 to 25 business days for the ATO to send you the money. You have 12 months to buy a home and live in it for at least six of the first 12 months. If you don’t, you’ll either need to put the money back into super or pay extra FHSS tax.

Important Point

Once you’ve contributed to super and the funds are released, they can only be used for your home purchase. Changing your mind means either putting the money back or paying extra tax.

Seek Advice

To get a full grasp of how FHSSS can help you and its potential benefits, consider talking to a financial advisor and check out ato.gov.au. Also, don’t forget to explore state-based incentives like stamp duty concessions or first home buyer grants.

In a nutshell, the FHSSS is like a turbo boost for your journey to homeownership. It’s a savvy strategy if you’re dreaming of owning your first home.

General Advice Disclaimer

This information has been provided as general advice. We have not considered your financial circumstances, needs or objectives. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice. You should obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and seek the assistance of an authorised financial adviser before making any decision regarding any products or strategies mentioned in this communication.

Whilst all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, it is based on our understanding of current regulatory requirements and laws at the publication date. As these laws are subject to change you should talk to an authorised adviser for the most up-to-date information. No warranty is given in respect of the information provided and accordingly neither Alliance Wealth nor its relatedentities, employees or representatives accepts responsibility for any loss suffered by any person arising from reliance on this information.

All rights reserved. Use in whole or in part without written permission from Compound Freedom is not permitted.

Helen Nan, a financial adviser with over a decade of experience, assists numerous clients in realising their lifestyle goals and aspirations. She believes in tailoring her advice to each individual’s unique circumstances, understanding that everyone has distinct aspirations when it comes to their finances. Her articles, commentary, and book have garnered recognition and have been featured in various reputable publications such as AFR, Money Magazine, and Inside Network. Additionally, She is the author of the finance book “Your Best Life,” and is the founder of Compound Freedom

When it comes to purchasing property in Australia, Queensland (QLD) offers unique opportunities and challenges for buyers. There’s a critical difference that prospective property buyers from interstate need to be aware of, especially when it comes to due diligence: seller disclosure.

Currently, the lack of seller disclosure requirements in QLD emphasises the importance of the “buyer beware” principle. While QLD offers many advantages, such as its beautiful landscapes and a more relaxed lifestyle, it also places a more significant responsibility on property buyers to conduct thorough due diligence.

Knowledge is power in the world of real estate. Sellers are legally required under NSW law to declare any known faults or issues within the property being sold. Which means buyers in NSW get to see far more information about a property and can make far better buying choices with that knowledge.

However, when it comes to buying property in QLD, it’s a different story. Currently, QLD does not have the same level of seller disclosure requirements as NSW. Buyers must be prepared to take on a more significant share of the due diligence burden and be extra vigilant when inspecting properties.

Thankfully, this is all set to change in the very near future. The Queensland Government is introducing a seller disclosure system for land sales, shifting from a “buyer beware” approach to proactive seller disclosure. This change, governed by the Property Law Bill 2023 (Qld), will affect all types of property, including residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial.

Under the new rules, before completing a sale, vendors must provide a disclosure statement and specific documents, including a title search and survey plan. This statement includes statutory warranties from the seller and information on encumbrances, zoning, environmental concerns, and more.

Sellers will not be required to provide information regarding the following:

1. The property’s history of flooding.

2. The current or historical uses of the property.

3. Pest infestations and the structural condition of the property.

4. Approvals for construction on the property (with the exception of work carried out by unlicensed individuals).

5. Restrictions imposed by zoning and planning regulations on the land’s use.

6. Any existing or potential connections to services related to the property.

It also seems that these newly imposed disclosure requirements will not be applicable to off-the-plan sales involving proposed lots on freehold land or units.

With this greater visibility, buyers will have the power to make informed decisions and also build confidence in the real estate market. Additionally, buyers will have confidence knowing that critical documents will be disclosed, and they will have a legal remedy available in case of failures to disclose, all adding up to a more transparent and honest real estate market in Queensland.

The Bill is likely to pass this year, but the rules implementing the Bill will be delayed by 6 to 12 months to permit additional consultations on the Property Law Regulations and to allow for market education.

The implementation of vendor disclosure in Queensland will no doubt strengthen buyers’ bargaining power and enhance their capacity to make informed choices, but it should be said that due diligence on the part of the buyer can never be dispensed with entirely.