Buying Or Selling A House – What You Need To Know To Save Money and Avoid Problems

This post is sponsored by Consumer Affairs Victoria and Nuffnang.

I still distinctly remember the nerves and almost sick feeling in my stomach when we made our first offer on a house. It was yet to go on the market, we adored the place and had been outbid at so many auctions in the previous months.

The nerves and sick feeling came from knowing we were about to make the biggest financial commitment of our life to date. We had set out budget, arranged a pre-approved loan and knew Richmond was the area we would like to live in.

The vendors of the property accepted our offer and our first property transaction went smoothly. We loved the house and lived very happily in it for five years. But not all property transactions end that way. We all know stories of friends or family who make a purchase only to find out later there are structural problems with the property, issues with zoning or finance falling through at the last minute.

For all buyers, but first time buyers in particular, arming yourself with knowledge is the best way to make a successful entry into the complex world of the property market. But as there are so many parties who have competing interests when it comes to property transactions, where is the best place to find impartial information on what your rights are and what steps you can take to be prepared for your property purchase?

buying selling leasing

Consumer Affairs Victoria is the state’s consumer affairs regulator (part of the Department of Justice). It is responsible for the laws that govern buying and selling domestic property in Victoria. It is their goal to empower consumers to make informed purchase decisions and create a competitive, fair and safe trading environment.

Their website has the most amazing array of information, resources and handy checklists for property buyers and sellers. Being a lover of checklists, I was so impressed that they have a section devoted to them which include checklists for:

Often when it comes to making significant decisions and investments like this we rely on family and friends for advice. I know this is something we did, but the property market is always evolving and relying on this information may not be giving you the full picture. Seeking independent information to support your decision-making can help make sure you are fully aware of both your rights and your obligations when buying or selling property.

Consumer Affairs Victoria have recently created a number of short quick tips videos (30 seconds) to highlight the simple steps buyers and sellers can take to save money and avoid problems. {I have embedded the videos below for you to view, if you are reading via email and cannot see them, click here to view.}

When buying a property

Know how much you can afford – highlights related costs you will need to factor into your purchase. The CAV website also lists these costs here plus tips on what to consider when getting a home loan.


Know your rights at auction – there is no cooling off period. The CAV website also has extensive information on auctions here including pre-auction offers, vendor bids, dummy bidding and what happens when the property is sold at auction.


Get a pest and building inspection – it is your right to have a pest or building inspection carried out before purchase. You can also read more on the CAV website here which will give you tips on what to look for and how to go about it determining if you need to have one.

Understanding private sales – can be made subject to finance and home inspection and the purchaser has cooling off rights in most cases. Detailed information on making an offer on a property, negotiating a property sale and what a contract of sale contains can be found on the CAV website here.


When selling a property

Choose the right agent – choosing the right agent can make a huge difference in the sale price of your house. You can read more information including what you can expect from an agent and your estimated selling price on the CAV website here.


Present your home well – preparing your home is important and can improve the sale price. You can read more about this on the CAV website here.


Understand agent costs – what are the fees and commissions being charged by your agent. This page on the CAV website details what a commission is and how it can be set.

Buying and selling a house can be such an exciting time. Being armed with knowledge of your rights and obligations can help prevent this time turning sour. The free and independent advice offered by CAV is a great place to start you information gathering journey:

Are you in the process of buying or selling at the moment?