What to buy
Your new home doesn’t have to be a house, in fact in many cities around Australia living in smaller properties – apartments, townhouses or studios – is becoming popular because they can be more affordable, newer and better located than some more traditional homes. Before choosing the type of home you want to buy, consider your lifestyle and budget then ask yourself these questions:
- Does the area and community suit my lifestyle?
- Does it have easy access to facilities such as schools, transport, workplace, shops, parks and recreational facilities?
- Does it have the outlook I want – water, trees, a city view or a sunny garden?
If the answer to these questions is yes then consider proceeding with legal and structural checks of the property. If not, tell the agent what it is you dislike about the property so they can steer you towards more suitable homes next time.
When to buy
Like most other markets, the property market has its ups and downs. If you know when and why property prices are on the move you will have a better idea of when is the best time to buy your home.
The ideal time to buy is:
- Just as interest rates begin to fall. Prices are likely to rise soon after as more buyers enter the market and take advantage of lower interest rates
- When home prices are low i.e. in a ‘depressed’ market
- When inflation is high or rising as prices are likely to increase faster
Look for properties that have been ‘passed in’ at auction. This means that bidding did not reach the vendor’s minimum (reserve) price for the property. You may be able to negotiate down on price and avoid an auction bidding war.
Where to buy
Ask any real estate agent what most buyers are looking for in a home and the answer you will hear is: ‘location, location, location’. The best way to find a home in your ideal location is to draw up a list of facilities and features that meet your needs.
- Are property prices rising or falling in the area?
- Hint: Check property price trends in the area with the Real Estate Institute of Australia.
- Are there negative factors such as jails, factories, sewerage works, proposed major construction, new road developments?
- Hint: Call the local council for more information and recent sale prices of homes in the same street.
- Is the area noisy?
- Hint: Investigate flight paths, railways, busy streets and intersections, fire or ambulance stations, bars and sportsgrounds in the vicinity. Visit the property at different times of day and night and ask neighbours if they are bothered by noise in the area.
- Caveat emptor – ‘let the buyer beware’