Archive for Frequently Asked Question

Do I need a white ant pest inspection done when I’m buying a house?

The short answer is Yes! White ants and timber pests can cause costly damage to a property and it is recommended that as a buyer you include a special condition (commonly referred to as ‘white ant condition’) in the contract to make sure that there is no damaged caused by termites or other creepy crawlies that effects the structure of the property.

It is usually up to the buyer to pay for the cost of having a White Ant Report done with a professional Pest Control Company and is usually written into the Contract of Sale as a special condition. A white ant inspection in most cases is not carried out until Finance has been approved and the sale of the property can move forward to the next step prior to Settlement.

Termites and other pests can cause a lot of damage to houses but can be avoided by remember these facts;

  • Termites are attracted to wood, so remove potential termite food away from buildings – their food can include timber stacks, old stumps, building refuse, garden decoration such as sleepers and logs
  • Waste timber from construction activities is often left in place or stored under the house – remove all timber formwork
  • Timber can be treated to prevent termite attack, and some timbers are naturally resistant – use treated or naturally resistant timber when it is in contact with, or close to, soil
  • Termites are attracted to water, so fix leaking water pipes, drains, showers, sinks etc, plus capture water from air conditioning units
  • Termites prefer humid conditions, so keep air under the house dry by improving sub-floor ventilation, drainage and access
  • Termites cannot chew through properly laid concrete, so ensure concrete slab is properly designed, compacted, and cured
  • Termite colonies can sometimes be located – it is possible to eliminate colonies by killing the reproductives (the queen and the king).

So if you think you may have them, or your buying a house get a white ant inspection done and even have regular inspections done and save yourself any future heartache.

I recommend using Total Pest Solutions and tell all my clients to use them, but your more than welcome to use whoever you like but make sure you get the report and if anything is on it, you get it treated asap.

Let us know in the comments below if you have had a termite infestation or problem and how you solved the problem. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

When buying or selling make sure all structures are council approved to avoid delays

Last week I had a close call with a settlement of one of my properties when I went to check on the building approvals the only thing that had been approved was the house.

There were two extra sheds in the backyard and I was worried that because they didn’t have approvals the settlement wouldn’t go through. So I went to the house and checked the size of the structure with my builder and the Joondalup Council and was lucky because they were less than 10 square metres and not stuck to the ground so it didn’t need a building approval.

So I was lucky and dodged a bullet this time but you have to make sure that all your additional structures and changes to the land are approved by the council.

Under Western Australian legislation (Building Act 2011) a building permit is required before commencement of most building work. Formal approval (a building permit) is required for any building work involving the development of new structures, alterations or extensions and changes in ground levels. These include:

  • Swimming pools, spas and barriers
  • Fences
  • Garden sheds
  • Verandahs
  • Gazebos
  • Garages
  • Workshops
  • Pergolas
  • Dwellings
  • Commercial buildings including fitouts and refurbishments
  • Industrial buildings
  • Changes to ground levels (e.g. cutting and filling soil)
  • Retaining walls.

The Building Regulations 2012 details building work for which a Building Permit is not required. Although a Building Permit may not be required for all works, it does not exempt those works which may require Planning Approval. If the total value of the work exceeds $20,000 a permit is issued to a registered builder, or in some circumstances, an owner builder.

Upon issue of a Building Permit by the permit authority, works shall be completed within 24 months of issue date, or other time frame as specified by the permit authority. It is important to ensure sufficient time for assessment of your Building Permit.

Application Forms and Guides are available on-line and you can call the City of Joondalup for further information on 9400 4961.

Some questions and answers about buying a home at Auction in WA

When you come across a home being sold by auction and you like it, you… like most will have questions about what you need to do to be able to purchase. A real estate auction is not only a great way to sell a home but also presents many opportunities to buy.

Auctions favour buyers before and on the day of the calling because in order to purchase the property you must be in a secure financial position and be able to offer a substantial deposit upon the fall of the hammer. This cuts out a lot of potential buyers and puts you in a great position to purchase the property.

Often buyers become apprehensive about the number of people attending a auction but the majority of people are there to watch the event take place. So the next time you are considering purchasing a property for auction know this, you are most likely one of the few in a position to bid on the property.

Below you will find some general Questions and Answers to buying a property at auction.

Q. What is a Real Estate Auction?

A. Auction is a form of marketing a property through intensive advertising mediums designed to capture the maximum attention of buyers within a set time frame. The process is a means of purchasing Real Estate through public negotiations to determine the true market value of the property.

Q. What’s the reserve price?

A. The reserve price is usually set on the day of the Auction by the Seller. The Real Estate Salesperson is unaware of the reserve. The only person who will know is the Auctioneer. The reserve is generally established by the intending Buyers feedback.

Q. How do we bid at Auction?

A. Simply attract the attention of the Auctioneer by:

  1. Putting up you hand.
  2. By calling out.
  3. By nodding your head when you catch the Auctioneer’s eye.

The Auctioneer normally nominates the amount of the bid he is looking for. If you are the successful bidder, you will be asked to pay the deposit and sign the contract.

Q. Can I buy before Auction?

A. Yes, in most cases you can. You simply submit your offer to the agent on a REIWA contract of sale and if the price and conditions is agreed to, the contract is then completed and the property sold before Auction. In fact, 50% or more Auctions are sold this way.

Q. I can’t buy at Auction because I have to get finance.

A. That’s OK. You can organise, through your Bank or Building Society, approval to bid up to a price that you are prepared to pay. This offer would be subject to the Bank’s valuation. This is simple to organise and only takes a couple of days.

Q. I want to buy it, but I have a house to sell.

A. There are two answers. If you are in a sound financial position you may organise a Bridging Loan. The other way is to buy on a longer settlement date, giving you time to sell and to settle your house.

Q. What price do I have to pay to buy the property?

A. This is the price YOU are prepared to pay. Other people will perceive different amounts. Generally, your price will be established by what property has sold for around the area and also the particular features that the home offers you.

Q. What if the house doesn’t sell?

A. If the reserve price is not reached, it is passed in to the highest bidder. The highest bidder then has the first right to purchase the property immediately after the Auction at the reserve price, otherwise the property will be offered for sale to all other interested parties.

Q. What contract do we sign and what are the standard conditions?

A. The contract is the standard REIWA contract. This contract is on display at the Auction. The usual conditions for purchase at Auction are:

  1. 5% of the purchase price paid as deposit: either by cash, bank cheque or personal cheque.
  2. Settlement date is 30 days from the signing of the contract.

If you have any more question about purchasing a property by auction or perhaps you bought or sold a property at auction and want to let others know about your experience, please let us know the details in the comments below.

Do I have to install a mains powered smoke alarm to sell my home?

Legislation has mandated that from 1 October 2009, all mains powered smoke alarms must be installed on residential buildings whether these will be placed on sale or prior to finalizing new tenancy agreements for rental properties. A two-year difference is given for rental properties without tenancy changes. If the tenants remain the same, the mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted by landowners by 1 October 2011.

If no smoke alarms have been installed, you are required to fit a device into your home, as mandated by the Miscellaneous provisions of the Local Government Act of 1960, Section 248; Local Government Act of 1995, Section 9.60; and the Building Amendments Regulation of 2009. Though the regulations prefer the use of mains powered smoke alarms, other alternative smoke alarms are also permitted as long as they meet the following criteria: these alarms must have a non-removable 10-year battery life, the overall design and construction of the home does not allow concealment of the wiring, when the mains power supply is unavailable, or where a suitable alternative location is impossible.

These regulations have been developed as a result of an agreement among several key stakeholders, including the Western Australia Division of National Electrical Communications Association (NECA), Department of Commerce (Consumer Protection – Tenancies), REIWA, WALGA, and the Local Government. The resulting mandates will be part of each building law of any Local Government. Though the legislation is expected to be self-policing, the Local Government is a primary figure in ensuring compliance. As such, power is vested upon the Local Government to issue infringement notices, or issue a maximum fine of $5,000 for non-compliance. More information is available from FESA.

If you need an electrician, check out Ken Gimm he is a fantastic electricians in our business directory.

What is the “Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land” when buying and selling real estate in WA?

One of the most important documents that complete a contract is the “Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land.”  It is part of real estate regulations, and is reviewed by the combined efforts of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) and the Law Society of Western Australia every few years. This document contains additional conditions that supplement the stipulations that have already been included or incorporated in the previous agreement. The purpose of these annexed conditions is to equally protect the interests and right to property of both the seller and buyer in Western Australia.

The document is designed to answer many legal points that may surface during sale transactions. A common condition addressed by the document is the date of transfer to the new settlement. In essence, the Joint Form of General Conditions for Sale of Land aims to address areas which seem to have loopholes, such as concerns that have the potential to end in legal disputes. The document makes sure that every point is covered about the contract, the property, or the ensuing settlement.

If you are currently living in the property, and have placed your property on sale, a common question addressed by the form is “When do we have to move out?” The Joint Form has specified the following in 6.3, Principal Residence, Limited Occupation Right:

(a) If immediately before Settlement, the Seller occupies the Property as the Seller’s principal place of residence, the Seller may, subject to clause 6.4 remain in occupation of the Property until 12 noon on the day immediately following settlement.

When you decide to sell your home make sure you have 2 electrical RCD’s installed in your home

A Residual Current Device (RCD) is a device to prevent electrocution in the home. It is designed to break the power circuit when it detects an unusual power usage spike (like sticking something in a power socket).

A Residual Current Device (RCD) is a device that can help prevent electrocution in homes. It is the only device capable of preventing electrical accidents that are often difficult to detect. These devices can be fitted to power and lighting circuits. A Residual Current Device has been designed to disconnect the power circuit once it detects an imbalance in the electrical current or an unusual power usage spike. It can be caused by the simplest of things, such as sticking something in a power socket. The RCD cuts the power within just 10 to 50 milliseconds, preventing possible fire.

In an effort to prevent serious injury, death, or loss of property, the Western Australian Government has modified and implemented new regulations for the use of Residual Current Devices in August 2009.

What are the requirements for an RCD?

The updated regulations apply to both landlords and people who have decided to sell their homes. When a property is leased or sold, it will be checked for at least two RCDs, which must be able to cover all power point and lighting circuits. It is required that the landlords install a minimum of two devices when a new tenant decides to take up residency, all before a lease agreement or contract is signed.

In the case of homes with continuing tenancy, the landlords must have fitted the new devices before 8 August 2011.

I have known the electrician Ken Gimm, he is fantasic for all electrical needs. If you need an electrician, check out electricians in our business directory.