1. Do your research
Start online on the major property portals, look at various types of properties within a 5km-10km radius of your desired locale. Keep an open mind!
2. Educate yourself
Think home loans, finance approval, the area you want to buy and its community including school zones, public transport, services, recreation and travel times.
3. Surround yourself with trusted professionals
Real estate agents, finance brokers, legal representatives, auctioneers. Speak to your family and friends, be sure to use a recommended mortgage broker to obtain finance pre-approval before you start house shopping and speak to as many estate agents as you can, via email, phone and by attending open homes.
4. Inspect properties
Look at as many properties as possible both online, virtually and in person.
5. Learn how to speak “real estate”
Familiarise yourself with terms relating to property and legal documentation associated. Ask to review the Section 32 (Vendor Statement) of any property you are seriously considering. If you want to make an offer or bid at auction, ensure your conveyancer has also reviewed the relevant documents.
(Hot tip: a licensed conveyancer does the same job as a solicitor and will charge a fraction of the price!)
If you are shopping in the apartment/unit/townhouse market, understand what an Owners Corporation is, ask what the OC fees are annually, and request to read the most recent Annual General Meeting Minutes. This information is generally located in the Section 32, or readily available from the Owners Corporation. Assure yourself you are buying in to a quality building with a healthy maintenance fund.
6. Budget for hidden costs
Make no mistake, there will always be pesky hidden costs that come up in any property transaction.
These can include stamp duty, conveyancer (legal) fees, building and pest reports, mortgage lender insurance, renovations or refurbishment, general maintenance, moving, removalist fees, storage hire, home and contents insurance and new furniture.
7. Ask a lot of questions
To everyone. Agents, brokers, conveyancers, lenders, family, friends, auctioneers. There are no silly questions. Selling agents are there to guide you through the buying process and any agent should make you feel confident and comfortable, ensuring you are making an informed decision when buying a home.
8. Train your imagination
Teach yourself to look past a property’s presentation seller’s personal effects and decor. Imagine the property stripped bare presenting vacant, clean and fresh before crossing a poorly presented property off your list. Under the rubble there may be a diamond waiting to shine. Other buyers may not be as open-minded and you’ll have less competition (meaning a stronger position for any negotiation).
9. Speak to your friends and family
People you love and trust can be a wealth of information by sharing their experiences and make trusted recommendations.
10. Attend auctions
If you are bidding at auction, attend as many auctions as possible prior to so you are familiar with the process. Read the Auction Rules. Understand how an auction works. Speak with the agent or auctioneer prior to the auction to clarify any uncertainty you may have so you are well placed to bid with confidence.
11. Trust yourself
Research the market, know your desired outcome, have trusted professionals to advise you, take a risk and stretch yourself. Make that last bid or offer, and always put your best foot forward.