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Review: Knowledge About Buying or Selling Property

When it comes to buying real estate you cannot trust anyone, it’s up to you to be fully informed so you can face experienced agents and still have a happy outcome. Oh, and the author, well she is a great believer in never paying the asking price.

Click cover to buy the book

Everything You Need To Know (But Forget to Ask) When Buying or Selling Property

By Mary Smits
Only $29.95

Reviewed by Kathryn Dalglish on behalf of Good Returns Bookstore

Real estate agent, Mary Smits, has designed her book to forewarn and inform inexperienced buyers and sellers. She gives us the information needed to facing experienced agents and still obtain a happy outcome. Otherwise, she warns, you may end up trusting someone else to make your decisions for you. Knowledge pays off in money gains and in better property purchases. To expect to survive without any prior knowledge, against an experienced estate agent, is like going to court to fight your case against a top lawyer all by yourself.

Many people are so inexperienced and trusting, that they rely on the information and opinions of the salesperson - who works for the vendor - to base their own decisions on. There is no agent on 'your' side, so you need to be knowledgeable and confident enough to check up on each claim or assertion, and request or seek out documents which back up the information.

As Smits says in the first line of her book, when it comes to buying real estate you cannot trust anyone, and the final decision to buy and the consequences of that decision rest firmly on your shoulders.

This book gives advice on searching for properties in your desired area, within your price range, and which meet your criteria. Then, when you have located a suitable property, there is an extensive check-list for you to go through when you look at the property and talk to the agent. It is important to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself as much as possible, as giving away too much can cost you money. Request some time to look through the house without the salesperson hanging over your shoulder.

Mary Smits gives helpful tips on buying your own home, and also investment properties, with the differences in terms of risk, reward and management involved being discussed in some detail. She also explains the different entities used for owning property, depending on your circumstances and goals.

There is a comprehensive explanation about the processes involved in purchasing a property, such as applying for pre-approved finance, putting in an offer, obtaining and understanding the documentation involved in checking out the property thoroughly and negotiating a price. She is a great believer in never paying the asking price.

Unfortunately, being an Australian book, many sections to not apply in New Zealand, and a beginner might not know that there is no Stamp Duty, no GST on houses - unless you are trading them - and would not know whether there is a 'cooling off' period allowed on the purchase of houses here.

Part 2 of the book is about selling a property at the right price. The most important part is choosing the right agent, but before that you must present your house so that it looks its best. Smits includes a check-list for choosing an agent with good knowledge and negotiation skills, and also one you like and feel you can trust.
There is an extensive list to make sure that everything is looking good, and giving the right impression.

The alternative methods of sale are discussed. Smits does not recommend auctions, unless your property is very unusual, or has an outstanding feature, such as a waterfront situation. Not only do people find auctioning very stressful, it is also more expensive.

The process involved in signing an agency agreement is covered in detail, and a helpful list is also provided to assist in the process of moving house. However, being written for the Australian market, a beginner would need to investigate which laws and contracts would be applicable in the New Zealand market.

Altogether, the book is informative and easy to read. It gives a general overview of buying and selling property, with some useful detail and check-lists which people inexperienced in property would find very useful.

Buy your copy of Everything you Need to Know through the Good Returns online bookstore by visiting: or call 0800 345 675

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