Prepare a wish list
Make a list of the attributes you most desire in a property, including your ‘must have’ features, such as location, number of bedrooms or parking.
Organise your finance in advance
Loan pre-approval is a big advantage. Approach your lender or have a mortgage broker visit you to find out how much you’ll be able to borrow and what your repayments will be so you know how much you have to spend. Having your finances organised gives you more chance of securing a purchase and is an asset when negotiating with vendors. If you’re bidding at auction, make sure you have adequate funds in your cheque account to pay the deposit.
Organise your lawyer or conveyancer
Make life easier by having a conveyancer or lawyer that you can engage as soon as you take out a contract on a property. If you don’t know of one, ask a real estate agent you’re dealing with – they can generally recommend a reliable contact.
While your lender will identify upfront costs such as mortgage insurance and stamp duty, you should also be aware of other expenses which will factor into your ongoing costs. Maintenance costs, land tax, council rates, home insurance and strata fees (if applicable) should all be investigated so that you know just how much to budget for on top of your mortgage repayments.
Do your research
Invest the time in inspecting as many properties as possible. This will give you a better understanding of the market, put you in a better position to negotiate, and help you recognise a bargain or an overpriced property. Sources such as The Sydney Morning Herald Home Price Guide also provide useful comparable price information.
Sign up to Property Alert services
Most agencies and all of the major property search sites such as domain.com.au and realestate.com.au have ‘property alert’ facilities. Simply enter your details and your property requirements and you’ll be emailed as soon as a property meeting your criteria is listed. This helps give you a jump on the market and saves considerable time.
Visit the property on the day of settlement to be sure there are no surprises. Be absolutely positive that the property was left exactly as you had agreed upon in the contract.