There’s nothing that says ‘I made it’ more than a beautifully appointed luxurious home – a high-end haven where you can remind yourself of the hard work and the smart decisions that got you where you are today.
But before you take the plunge and buy the house of your dreams, it’s important to make sure you conduct your due diligence so you can be certain of what you’re buying.
Top 10 things to consider as part of your due diligence
- Engage local reputable specialist property advisors. Any home is an investment in your future – a luxury home even more so. It makes good financial sense to get the right advice to achieve the most desirable outcome for you. A licensed professional buyer’s agent (or buyer’s advocate) can help you find a property and guide you through the step-by-step decision process. You’ll also need a good lawyer.
- If time permits, visit the house yourself; alternatively send someone who knows your expectations and tastes, someone you trust implicitly. Photos on the internet can easily mislead – size of rooms, views, quality of fixtures, backyard – it’s important to experience the house you’ll be living in.
- Have appropriately specialised licensed contractors carry out all inspections. This is where a good buyer’s agent can provide guidance. Consider a valuation report and a strata report where applicable. Check with the local council to see if there are any development plans in the vicinity to identify any potential issues, such as future obstruction of views or facilities that don’t fit with your ideal surrounds.
- Research comparable properties in similar locations. Understand what the market paid for those properties, and what the property environment was at the time.
- Ensure the amenities and finishes meet your standards. If you plan to renovate, understand any restrictions and likely costs, and factor this into the purchase price.
- Visit the property at different times of the day. This will help you understand important factors such as noise, flight paths, peaks and troughs for car traffic, on-street parking availability, and anything else that might impact your lifestyle.
- Talk to neighbours – they’ll give you insights you won’t find elsewhere.
- Be clear on where you want to live. As with any property, location is critical as it will present you with the surroundings and lifestyle you have paid for. There’s no point in paying top dollar for a location that you’ll be unhappy in. Research the location and make sure it has everything you need – from a thriving café culture, to parks, schools, and bustling community, or absolute quiet if that’s what you’re looking for.
- With their open views of ocean, bay or lake, waterfront homes have an undeniable ‘vibe of success’ appeal. But they also come with their own series of risks. Exposure to sea air, for example, can create severe deterioration of the building structure – concrete, paint, metal, and timber can all be impacted by salinity. Mould can potentially also be a big issue – it loves the damp. This is where an inspection by a well-regarded reputable specialist is critical. Other factors to consider include:
- Land erosion – What established plans does local council have to protect the foreshore from impacting your home? How sound are the foundations of the house? Has the property been maintained well?
- Is there exclusive or private water access, or is it shared access? Enquire about service fees and maintenance costs. Is access well maintained?
- Insurance – Is local flooding a risk and does local council have a flood management plan? Will your insurer cover you for flood, and how costly is the premium? What kinds of damage are excluded from their policy? Would you be covered if there’s a sea surge or extreme flooding? Would you be covered for wear and tear damage to your house?
- Speak to your financial planner to make sure this is the best allocation of your funds, and that it fits with your holistic wealth management approach. Be sure you’ve factored in all costs, including inspection and specialist reports to legal and buyer’s advocate fees, mortgage costs, and insurance protection.
Most of all, when it comes to buying a luxury home, don’t rush in. Gather all the information and do all your research to make sure the outcome is in your best interest and achieves everything you want.
By Alex Soupanas CM Lawyers