You have decided to move, but do you know what the hidden costs there are when buying and/or selling a property?
There are so many things to consider when buying a property. You not only have the obvious associated costs which we’re all aware of, bank fees, legal fees and insurance costs. But what about all those ‘other’ costs, what other things should you be preparing for financially when you buy a property?
Inspection fees can be broken down into three main categories (there are others however these are the main initial inspections)
The type of property you’ve purchased will determine which of these inspections you should have carried out.
A building inspection checks the structural soundness of a property and will list any visible defects and necessary repairs which may need to be carried out. This inspection should be conducted by a professional building inspector. Your conveyancer should be able to refer you to independent and reputable inspectors.
Pest inspections are designed to check for any signs or evidence of past or present pest infestations. Primarily the pest inspection is looking for Termites also known as white ants. Termites can cause a huge amount of damage to the structure of the property, sometimes to the point of affecting the structural integrity of the building or parts of the building. The pest inspector may also comment on excessive amounts of other pests such as spiders, cockroach’s termites and wood borers however this is not the purpose of this pest inspection. Similar, to a building inspection, it is recommended you engage a professional pest inspection company to carry out the inspection. Your building inspector may have a pest inspector they regularly work with and can refer you to, or they may be able to arrange the pest inspection on your behalf.
A Strata inspection is an examination and inspection of the written records of the owners’ corporation. It gives us information as to how much the levies are, if there are any special levies (or likelihood of special levies) it tells us how much the body corporate has in their account, this is important to know how the property is going to be maintained in the future. The inspector will also comment on the insurance, the harmony of the complex as well as a lot of other things.
The cost of a removalist is dependent on a few factors. The distance you need to move from your current home to your next is a main factor. Obviously if you’re moving interstate it may not be easy to do many trips back and forth to your new property and so you might need to consider an option such as freighting your belongings in a shipping container so that you can move as much of your belongings in one go as possible.
The amount of furniture you have will also have an impact on the cost of moving as it will determine how many and what sizes trucks/vans etc. you need to fit your belongings in to. You also need to consider who is doing the packing. If you require a removalist company to do the packing on your behalf there are costs associated with this in addition to other services they are providing you so you may consider packing as much of your belongings as possible yourself in order to keep the cost of moving as affordable as you can.
Whilst it is an extra cost, we STRONGLY recommend that you engage a removalist instead of trying to move yourself with friends utes and trailers. Particularly if you are selling and buying at the same time. When you settlement comes around we settle simultaneously and you MUST be out of the property by the time of settlement, you cannot be going back and forth for the rest of the day to collect small loads.
No matter how organised your home is, how long you’ve lived there or how many people live there, moving is a time-consuming task. Depending on your individual circumstances you may have many years’ worth of belongings which need to be packed up and moved as well as the belongings of your children and other family members who may live with you.
All of these belongings need to be sorted and packed up, then loaded onto removalists trucks and once you’ve arrived at your new home you then need to unpack everything into its new position in your new home.
All of these activities take time and may require you to take some extra days off work or out of the office, meaning you not only have the cost of downtime from work but there may also be a financial cost to you needing time away from work and so you need to consider this when you buy a property.
Connecting to services.
During the conveyancing process, your conveyancer will notify the council, water and strata (if applicable) of the change of ownership and where to send future rates and levy notices, HOWEVER your conveyancer is not able to arrange for your telephone, electricity, gas, internet, Foxtel, insurance and other services that you use to be connected to your new property or disconnected from your old property.
You will need to do this which takes some time to arrange and co-ordinate. There are some companies around that you can engage to do this for you and which are free of charge as the suppliers pay them not you.
We have put together a list of people to contact and advise of new connection and sometimes forgotten about changes required.
Purchasing property can be quite an expensive exercise, even more so if you’re not prepared for these ‘hidden’ costs. Make sure you do your research and speak to your financial advisor or conveyancer so you can fully understand what costs to expect and budget for them.
Here are some suggestions of who you need to notify of your move. It is by no means complete as everyone has different people to notify, but this will give you a start and may assist with suggestions.
Some of these are essential, like changing drivers licence and others can wait a little.
- Australia Post retail outlet (apply to have your mail redirected)
- Australian Electoral Commission
- ATO (Australian Tax Office, Tax returns, small business licences)
- Welfare (Centrelink, seniors card, veterans affairs etc.)
- Departments for driving licenses and car registrations
- Local library membership
- registrations and memberships
- Electricity account
- Home phone
- Gas account
- Mobile phone
- Internet / VoIP
- Pay TV
- General practitioner
- Personal trainer
- Health insurance (Private)
- School / work / childcare
- Financial (financial advisor, accountant)
- Banks, credit cards and credit unions
- Shop credit cards eg David Jones/Myer
- Family and friends
- Gym memberships
- Insurance (car, house, home and contents etc)
- Store memberships and loyalty programs
- Newspapers & Subscriptions
- Real Estate
- Superannuation memberships
- Car insurance
- House and contents insurance
- Pet insurance
- E-tags, tolls, mechanic
- Pet microchip registry
If you have kids and pets then there are all sorts of other organisations you should include in your address change checklist.
Pets need to have their registration address changed with local councils in case they get loose and get picked up by relevant authorities.
A child’s school, friends and any extra-curricular clubs and activities should also be included on your list. Some people like to have change of address cards printed to give to family and friends or pop in their Christmas email/cards.
It’s a great idea to keep an eye on your mail for the months leading up to you move. Take note of who sends you mail regularly and collect any change of address forms that come with any of your subscriptions. This will help you to tailor make your own address change checklist.
It is also a great idea to have a change of address for a period of say 6 months after your move to catch anyone that you have forgotten.
If you are selling and going to rent and then buy, why not rent a Post Office Box that way you can keep the change to one place for some time until you are completely settled and you don’t have to keep advising.
I hope this helps with your move.