Buying and Selling Property in Hobart – Our Experience
Our old house in Sandy Bay
In a recent post I shared a little of our busy year in selling, buying and renovating. You can read a little about that here.
Today I wanted to share with you some of the details of selling our old house and buying our new house in Hobart, Tasmania.
Buying a home in Tasmania
To commence a search to buy a home in Tasmania, the internet is your friend. Most properties will find their way onto www.realestate.com.au and once you know where you want to live you can search in your price range. Although I have written before about the pros and cons of searching online, which you can read here.
However it is preferable to start online rather than the old approach of just talking to one or two local real estate agents. You will find that agents in Tasmania, even in the bigger cities, tend to have listings across a broad geographic area. Most do not focus in just one or two suburbs or towns. As such, the full range of properties available for sale in the area you wish to live will be listed with many agents. To look at the whole market, start online. Then start talking to the agents for the properties that you think will suit you.
For us the search was a quick one, instigated by chance when seeing our new house advertised – a house we had considered buying three years before. It reminded us of how much we would love to live in Kingston Beach, now that the reasons for originally choosing Sandy Bay were not so relevant for us. Luckily, given the area of Kingston Beach on the flat close to the beach is so small, there were four houses for sale that were within budget and of the size we wanted. This meant we could inspect those too and work out the best option for us.
When we offered to buy the house we included a condition that we needed to sell our existing house first, within 90 days of the contract date. Happily this condition was acceptable to the vendors and we agreed on a price. We were lucky that the vendors chose not to include a clause, commonly called the ’48 hour clause’. If included, this would mean they could continue to market the property within that time and if they received another offer they wanted to accept then they could give us 48 hours to decide whether to proceed with the sale without our selling clause, or get out of the contract. If we walked away they would be able to accept an alternative offer.
In Tasmania, offers to buy property tend to be made in writing and you will be asked to complete a contract. A written offer is not required by legislation but it is the process followed by most real estate agents. The real estate agent is legally required to present this offer to the vendor.
If your offer is accepted the vendor will also sign the contract and it will be legally binding. If further negotiation takes place then the contract will be amended and may move back and forth between you and the vendor a number of times. Once both parties are happy and have signed all amendments the contract is legally binding.
When purchasing property, it is important to remember that there is not a cooling off period on the contract, as exists in some states of Australia.
You are bound by the contract. If necessary you may be able to negotiate conditions to the contract such as the sale of another property, securing finance or a building or pest inspection with the contract only becoming unconditional if these conditions are met.
So within a week of the idea to look at properties in Kingston Beach we had a contract on our new house. Exciting! Although the excitement was mixed with uncertainty as we needed to get our current house sold. The clock was ticking…
The week we had been running around inspecting properties in Kingston Beach and before we had a contract to buy, we were already talking to agents about our current home. We ended up asking four agents to do an appraisal of the property. This includes their marketing plan and pricing strategy.
Each agent had similar ideas on price, plus we didn’t want that to determine who we chose. We went with an agent I already knew and whose approach to the marketing of the property was targeted and felt right for us. We signed up with Melinda Warren from Nest Property in Sandy Bay. We are quick decision makers and had chosen our sales agent by the time we had a contract on the new house. We were ready to go with inspections a few days later.
A few pointers about the process and the costs
Agents in Tasmania follow a sales commission table for the industry. However this is always negotiable and tends to range between 3 to 5%. There are some agencies that have a fixed amount of commission, not related to the sale price.
You do pay extra for advertising in the newspaper, which is expensive. However in Hobart at least it is still a great source of leads, despite the dominance of the internet. Listing online is now a given and you can pay more for a featured listing to ensure you are higher in the search results.
You can pay for professional photos and some agents will offer to do them for you for free. We chose the free option as Melinda spends a lot of time on the shots and knows what she is doing with a camera.
Similarly you can pay for a professional floor plan to be created. We went with a simple floor plan at no additional cost.
Open homes are common in the first few weeks of a listing but the numbers coming along can then drop off. You may then choose to only have private inspections (which you offer from day one).
What we learned and may do differently
Despite our best intentions, we grasped onto the high end of the price range proposed by the agents we spoke with. We ended up selling for around the price I originally thought before we spoke with anyone!
We started with a higher price and reduced this a few weeks later when the interest reduced. We did get a valuer in to confirm our suspicions that we had started too high.
We did some maintenance on the house prior to listing and as part of this considered painting the outside of the house. We didn’t and I think it had an impact as the street appeal was less than ideal. We ended up getting the painting done and the house sold within a few days. Probably a coincidence in terms of timing, but it was one less thing for buyers to deduct from their offer price.
We had 90 days to sell our house and we ended up with a conditional contract to sell half way in. The contract had a finance clause, which is incredibly common in contracts in Tasmania and probably elsewhere. The buyers said they had pre-approval, but still it was a further two weeks or so before we could celebrate an unconditional contract and put up the sold sign. Very happy indeed!
Then the fun started. We had agreed to a 23 day settlement. Crazy!!
That is a story for the next post.
If you are looking to buy property in Tasmania and would like some help with the process, or even have us undertake the search for you, then please have a look at our range of relocation services.