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Your guide to researching properties

Whether you’ve found your dream home or you’re still house hunting, you want to know that a property is a good buy at the right price. Doing your homework will help you make a fully informed choice and ensure you’ve made a good financial decision.

By doing property research and having a good understanding of the market, you’ll be better equipped to find a property that ticks all the boxes and be able to negotiate a better price for it.

Here’s where to start on your buying journey:

1. What is your property criteria?

Determine the type of property you’re looking for and what you have in mind. Are you interested in a family home, starter home, bachelor pad or investment property? Your needs will determine what you should look for and where you can find it. It will also guide how much money you can expect to spend and the type of financing you might require.

2. What is your financial position?

Understanding exactly what you can and can’t afford will make the purchasing process smoother, faster and save you from a lot of headaches in future. Decide what bond amount can fit into your budget; be honest, realistic and objective as you don’t want to overextend yourself. For help estimating what you’d be likely to spend, try our handy home loan calculator.

Once you know how much money you’re working with, you can start looking at homes that fit your price range. You’ll also have a better idea about how much you’ll need when it comes to applying for a home loan.

Tip: Don’t forget to factor in costs that aren’t included in the property price but are necessary to secure it, such as Deeds Office transfer and registration costs, attorney fees and homeowner’s property insurance.

3. Where would you like to buy?

Consider the areas that are appealing to you and your needs. How far is it from where you work; is it easy to get to; does it have good access to schools, transport and amenities, and does it suit your lifestyle?

4. Start your search

Now that you’ve narrowed down your search criteria and you have your requirements in mind, look for properties on the market in the area(s) you’re interested in. It’s also a good idea to contact real estate agents to see what options are available.

5. Get all the details

To make an informed decision before purchasing a property, use our free online LookSee property guide to access information on property valuations, costs and trends. This allows you to do the following:

  • Estimate the value of the property and what growth you could (reasonably) expect so that you know exactly what the property is worth and that you’re not overpaying.
  • Estimate what the costs of living in the area and owning that property are (i.e. rates, taxes, insurance, levies etc.).
  • Find out about the sales trends, crime statistics, proximity to amenities and demographics.
  • Compare this data for multiple properties so you can see how your property measures up.

6. Take a closer look

Schedule a property inspection to get an expert opinion on the exact condition of the property. Is it safe; is it up to standard, and are there upkeep and maintenance issues or any hidden problems? Buying a property is a significant financial decision, and you want to make sure that you know what you’re in for so that your dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

While the idea of buying a home is usually an exciting prospect, in reality, there is a lot of hard work and tough decision-making involved. By following these tips and ensuring you are making informed decisions, your dream home can become a reality.