Nicola McDougall | 6 December 2012

'Try before you buy' property scheme trialed in Queensland

'Try before you buy' property scheme trialed in Queensland

A Queensland developer is currently offering a “try before you buy” option to entice buyers.

The unusual marketing strategy includes the option for buyers to live in the new place for a small fee while their house is on the market – and there is also the option of moving back out if their place doesn’t sell.

While developers generally steer clear of subject-to-sale contracts, you have to give them extra points for uniqueness.

One thing that has always intrigued me is the relatively small amount of time you generally take before you decide to buy a property.

In a hot market, like the good ole days of 2007, you were lucky if you got one viewing and you had to make a decision what price you were going to offer before someone else beat you to the punch.

Even today, in sought-after inner-city areas especially, properties that are priced correctly don’t tend to last too long on the market. In fact, I recently went to the first open home of a property in the inner city to find out that it was already under contract.

When you consider that buying a home and/or an investment property is likely to be the biggest financial investment you will ever make, in many cases you have probably spent less than an hour actually inside the property before you decide to buy it. As a juxtaposition, I spent more than two hours at the weekend looking for a new frock that ended up costing me about 150 bucks and will probably be in my closet for, at best, one season.

My first home, I knew immediately – it was almost love at first sight – that I wanted to buy it, but that was probably because I had been to countless open homes in the months beforehand and knew exactly what I wanted. My second property, well I’ve never actually seen it, I only have some plans from the developer to go from as well as a vivid, and I hope learned, imagination.

The ability to live in a property before you legally own it, in my opinion, would therefore be a very good idea. You could suss out the neighbours (which realistically could be a positive or a negative), work out just how much closet-space you will have available for the aforementioned collection of season-specific frocks, and daydream about how your six-year-old, but very comfortable couch, will look in the lounge room.

Most of us, however, will never get such an opportunity, so that is why it’s so important to make sure you know exactly what you want when searching for your first, or your next, property. On reiq.com, we have a plethora of information to help buyers as well as nearly 100,000 property listings from REIQ accredited agencies – that’s the second highest numer of online Queensland property listings in the country, don’t you know!

So to help in your search, here are some tips to think about and check when you go to your next open for a property that might in a short space of time become your home:

Inside the property

• Check for signs of rising damp, such as rotting carpet or mould on the walls and ceiling;
• Check the walls and ceilings for warps, cracks and any obvious damage;
• Test all light switches; and
• Test the water pressure in hot and cold taps and check to see that water drains well – slow flowing water may indicate blocked drains.

Outside the property

• Inspect fences for stability and any obvious faults;
• Large trees around the house may have large root systems that can cause structural problems;
• Check that the land’s water run-off is adequate and drains away from the dwelling;
• Water staining on the eaves may indicate damaged or blocked gutters;
• Look at the roof for any broken tiles or capping; and
• If the property has a pool, check the legality of its fencing via the Pool Safety Council. Pools in a community titles scheme (body corporate) are the responsibility of the body corporate.

Nicola McDougall is executive manager for corporate affairs for the Real Estate Institute of Queensland. This article originally appeared on the REIQ blog.

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