What to Ask When Buying a Townhouse – 7 Key Questions
Are you thinking about buying a townhouse? If so, it’s a good move.
Townhouses are generally priced lower than standalone houses, making them the ideal entry point into the property market for younger families.
They offer more space than an apartment. And you can purchase off the plan and make further savings.
They are also suitable as investment rental properties, as they offer slightly higher rental yields than apartments and are cheaper than a house.
Yet buying real estate is a huge event, and it’s a choice that you should not rush blindly into.
Caveat emptor or buyer beware, applies as much to property as it does to other goods. You wouldn’t want to buy a lemon car, would you?
The same applies to real estate; you don’t want to wind up with a dud townhouse that will bring nothing but drama and headaches to your life.
Project marketing can be crafty, so you need to be careful – what is project marketing, you ask? It’s essentially a promise being sold to you.
Lucky for you, we’ve crafted this helpful article. In it, we’ll share seven things to ask when you buy a townhouse.
If you ask these questions of the real estate sales agent, you’ll be in the know and able to make an informed decision before you bid at an auction or put in an offer on a private sale.
And, of course, if you plan to bid at an auction, ensure you are up to speed with the settlement terms.
Read on to learn more. Or if you need to figure out if you should buy a townhouse first, go here.
1. What’s the Asking Price Range
If you’re looking to buy a townhouse, you’ll likely have an available budget. This will be the deposit plus the amount the bank is willing to loan to most people.
Some people may have the funds ready, but this will usually apply to you if you’re older, have more assets, or have had a sudden windfall.
Either way, you will have the maximum amount you can spend on a townhouse.
When inspecting homes during open homes or enquiring with a real estate agent about listed property, you should ask about the indicated price range.
In Victoria, by law, the agent must list a statement of information that outlines a price range based on prior sales in the area.
The range is usually between specific amounts, for instance, $750,000-$850,000.
By asking this, you can immediately rule out properties outside your budget.
2. When was the Home Built?
This is the next question you should ask.
The reason you want to ask this is to ascertain the potential condition of the property.
A newer property will hopefully require more minor repairs, maintenance, and general upkeep than one built twenty years ago.
So, if the property is older, it’s not a definite sign to avoid it, but it is something to consider.
Also, beware of property photography dressing it up, giving you the perception it is newer than it is.
3. Can We Arrange a Building and Pest Inspection?
This is the following question to ask, even if the property is new. Unfortunately, not all townhouses are built equally. Some are knocked up quickly, with corners cut during the build.
A building inspection by a qualified building inspector will find defects in the building, such as hugely expensive structural issues and other faults.
In addition to the building inspection, the pest inspection will determine if the home has an infestation of vermin, such as rodents, termites, and other disgusting critters.
Based on the outcome of the inspections, you will find out if the home will require expensive repairs or pest treatment. This may be enough for you to look elsewhere for your home.
Especially if structural repairs are needed – most townhouses are built on concrete slabs, and slab foundation repair is a tremendous job that costs thousands upon thousands of dollars.
4. How Much are the Owner’s Corporation Fees?
Townhouses tend to be strata properties, with common areas and other aspects of strata, such as being managed by an owner’s corporation.
If an owner’s corporation manages the property, there will be quarterly fees that you’ll need to pay. These are usually a few hundred a quarter, and it’s worth considering if you can afford them.
Furthermore, for some townhouses, the fees will include property insurance, which can be equal to what you’d pay in building insurance. However, not all owner’s corporations insure properties, so it’s worth asking about.
5. How are the Noise Levels?
Townhouses tend to share walls with other townhouses, as they are often duplex or triplex property developments. This means that you might hear your potential new neighbours, and they might listen to you.
Look out for if the shared walls are garages, as the noise levels will be relatively low. However, if the shared walls are bedrooms or living areas, it’s worth considering if you can handle some noise.
A good tip is to do a sneaky drive-by on the weekend. If your potential new neighbours are partying loudly, you may want to consider looking elsewhere if you prefer peace and quiet.
6. Is There Parking Available, and How Much?
Most townhouses will have a single-car garage or a parking space. Some will have a parking space in addition to the garage.
However, not all townhouses will have parking space, which is usually a purposeful oversight from the townhouse developer to cut costs.
If you drive or are a two or more-car family, you need to ask about available parking, which will factor into your decision.
7. Why is the Vendor Selling?
Not all sales agents will answer the question, but it’s worth asking. If they answer honestly, you can potentially wind up in an advantageous position.
This will pay off when it comes to negotiating a price, especially if it’s a private sale.
For instance, if the vendor has put a deposit down on another property and needs the sale proceeds of the home to settle the purchase, they are usually highly motivated to sell.
This means they may take a lower offer than the asking price.
Before we sum it all up, if you’ve already decided that you will buy, you need to check out these townhouse buying tips.
And you need to understand what market value means in real estate.
In this helpful article, we’ve shared seven things to ask when buying a townhouse. Make sure you ask each and every one of these questions of the sales agent.
This is because being an informed buyer puts you in an advantageous position when compared to other buyers. After all, it pays to get ahead.