Before doing anything else, ask an expert.

It might seem like logical advice, but in over 36 years of selling property, I have seen so many people disappointed when a sale for their dream home falls through.

More often than not, it’s because they didn’t get the right advice. I’m the last person you should be asking to fix your toilet. I struggle to flush one, let alone fix it. If I need a toilet fixed, I ask a plumber.

When you buy your first property you need to get the right advice from the right people, definitely not well-intentioned family and friends. They all have the best intentions, but most have only ever made one property purchase or sale in their entire life.

My simple advice to you is call the plumber for a toilet and talk to an independent financial adviser before sourcing finance. Engage a conveyancer/solicitor and ask them to explain the process from offer acceptance to settlement.

Whoever wants you to sign paperwork get them to cc your conveyancer/solicitor before signing. For advice on your purchase, source advise from independent experienced professional eg: licensed building inspector or surveyor. Get the professional to cc your conveyancer/solicitor on any report going to you.

In more than three decades of working in real estate l have never sold the perfect property – it doesn’t exist. The secret is to understand what you are purchasing.

Musings by Joe McFall and Patrick Bonello