Purchasing a house is a major event in anyone’s life and it is only natural to want to find the perfect house for you and your family.
Finding the perfect house to buy will take up a lot of your time, with you searching online on the weekdays and inspecting properties on weekends. It can be both an exciting and a draining experience.
Before you go out to search for a house, you should have these ready to go:
- Your maximum purchase price
- Your criteria: the list of essential and desirable attributes for your property
Stay prepared. Your dream house can come along at any time, but there is no guarantee it will be available for long. If you aren’t ready, you might have to rush to get approved or miss out on the property because someone else already bought it.
Where can I find property for sale?
The first thing you need to do on the websites is enter your search criteria. These would include details regarding your prefered suburbs and price range, and whether it’s a house, land or apartment you’re seeking.
It cannot be stressed enough that you must have very wide search criteria!
Assuming you’re looking for a 3-bedroom home, we would recommend that when you search, you include 2- and 4-bedroom homes as well. Also, look for the suburbs around the ones you prefer. You don’t want to filter out too many properties.
Most people end up buying a house that doesn’t match their initial criteria. We’ve had customers who started looking for a house in the suburbs but ended up buying an apartment close to the city. Most often, people find a property in the cheaper suburbs next to the one where they first looked..
Get notified of new listings
After you’ve entered your search criteria, you want to save the search.
On realestate.com.au, there’s a “Save Search” button with a star next to it and on domain.com.au, there’s a “Property alert” button with a bell next to it. Click these after entering your search and you’ll receive an email alert when properties that match your criteria come onto the market.
There are some great features on these websites; for example, if you put in your workplace location and then look at any property listed on the page, the site will tell you how long it will take you to get to work from there.
4 tips for finding properties others miss
Here are some things to watch for that will help you find properties others might overlook. A hidden gem could turn out to be your dream home.
Properties with no photos
When a property doesn’t have many photos in its online listing, it usually is a sign that it needs to be renovated. Most people refrain from inspecting these properties, but if they require just cosmetic renovations, such as new carpet and paint, they’re not too hard to do.
A new kitchen or bathroom would require some effort, but wouldn’t be as difficult as structural renovations. It is recommended that you go to inspect a property that has no photos or at least call the agent to find out more.
Sometimes a property will have a feature that turns off a lot of buyers, such as being on a main road. Instead of assuming the property will have issues, it is good to inspect these properties and talk to the agent about the problem.
Often, the agent has already figured out a way to solve the issue; for example, a property near the highway might have double glazing and insulation, which blocks out most of the noise.
Most real-estate agents are professional and act for the seller. But there are those few who never return calls or emails.
Don’t hate them for being bad agents. From a buyer’s point of view, the less professional they are, the better. If they’re not returning your calls, they’re probably not returning calls from other buyers either. In some cases, they’ll be open with you about the seller’s reason for selling or even their minimum price or what offer is likely to be accepted. This will make things a lot easier for you.
When a property gets listed, a lot of people inspect it and make offers to buy it. It might also go on auction. This activity lasts for around six weeks on average. If the property doesn’t sell during this time, it gets far less attention than it initially did.
In a stable or falling property market, it’s great to look at these properties, as they may be a bargain. If the property has been on the market for a really long time or it’s a rising market, it is likely the owner has unrealistic price expectations; it’s a waste of time.
Please be aware that in the country or in small towns it can take a long time to sell any property. So, you must not analyse these the same way you do houses in the big cities or suburbs.
A real-estate agent can help a buyer
Nobody knows the suburbs better than an agent who has been selling homes there for decades. If you’re talking to them with a specific property in mind, there’s a risk that they’re selectively giving you information to influence your decision.
To avoid this, when you inspect a property and it isn’t one for you, tell them you’re not interested in that property but ask them questions about the suburb, which areas they like, which streets to avoid and if there are any properties they think you should see.
Finding properties not listed online
Make a list of all the agents who are active in the areas you like. Then send them a personal email and let them know what you want. Also, ask them if they have any off-market properties.
What exactly is an off-market property? It’s one that is on sale but hasn’t been advertised. Often, the owner doesn’t want to spend money on advertising, or they’ve spoken to an agent but haven’t formally started selling their property. Off-market sales are quite common in some parts of Australia and make up about a quarter of properties sold.
Typically, you should send the agents these criteria:
- The suburb/area
- The type of property – house, townhouse, unit etc.
- The number of bedrooms
- Any other particular features you want
It is best not to disclose your price range because it can damage negotiations. Try to dodge the agent’s questions about how much you’re looking to spend or give a very vague range.
Benefits of using a buyer’s agent
In some countries, it’s common to use a buyer’s agent to help you find and negotiate to buy a property. In Australia, they’re commonly used for:
- Prestige properties
- Investors who are time poor or inexperienced
- People who are overseas, such as foreign investors or Australian expats
Buyer’s agents know the market extremely well; they know the agents, spot problems with properties and are expert negotiators. They are exceptionally skilled at finding off-market properties.
Their rates vary. Some have a fixed fee and some charge 1%-3% of the purchase price to find, inspect and negotiate on a property. This might sound like a huge amount for fees, but if they get you a better price, they are basically paying for themselves. Some buyer’s agents can charge their fee in monthly instalments as well.
Their services vary, too, so you could choose the much cheaper route of finding the property yourself and then get the buyer’s agent to negotiate or bid at auction for you.
Open house Saturday
If you’re serious about looking for your dream home, you need to keep your Saturdays free for house hunting. Most sellers have an open house on Saturday, meaning you can go and check the properties in person. If you can’t make it to an open home, you can ask the agent if you can inspect the property another time.
What you want to do now is go and see as many properties as you can!
In brief, follow these points to find your perfect house in 2022:
- Make sure you are pre-approved for a loan before you start looking
- Have wide search criteria when looking for properties online
- Get notifications when properties matching your criteria are listed
- Inspect properties that don’t have many photos or have obvious problems
- Send your criteria to local agents and ask if they have any off-market properties
- Consider using a buyer’s agent
- Keep your Saturdays free and inspect as many properties as you can.
Call us on 1300 889 743 or fill in the free online enquiry form on our website and we will assist you in finding your dream home with ease.
Our upcoming Home Buyers Institute’s course will help you understand more about home buying. Look out for the launch on our website!