Whether it’s your first home, an investment, or the next step on the property ladder, buying a house is an exciting and stressful time. There are many things to consider before you purchase:
Your budget will determine where you begin your search. Have a look at what your money will get you in a variety of different areas. It’s likely that you’ll find you can get a smaller property in a more desirable area, or a bigger property in a less desirable area. Compromise is usually required unless you have unlimited funds.
Your “Wish List” and “Avoid List”
Write down a list of everything you would like your potential purchase to have. Consider the type of location, number of bedrooms, garaging, section size, fencing, etc.
Our current “Wish List” is:
- Minimum 3 bedrooms
- Double garage or room for double garage
- Fully fenced, or easily able to be fully fenced (for our dog!)
- Hallways and doorways wide enough for husband’s pinball machines
- Driveway practical and not too steep.
It is also helpful to write down what you don’t want. There are a lot of properties for sale and you don’t want to waste your time looking at houses that are definitely not suitable.
Our current “Avoid List” is as follows:
- Monolithic cladding
Everyone has heard of leaky homes now and even if the house is not a leaky home, if it is monolithic, then it has the stigma attached which will affect its resale.
- Close to: railway tracks, power pylons, cell phone towers, main roads, schools, childcare centres, churches
We don’t want noise, traffic, or potential health hazards.
- Crosslease title
We have nothing against crosslease titles for rental properties or first home (we already own one), but want to avoid them for our next home (an upgrade). We also want a larger section than crosslease would indicate (usually crosslease is 1/2 or less share in “x” m2)
The location is more important than the building.. You can alter the building, but you can’t change the location without selling up and moving. Location is so important that most of the value of the property is determined by the location. People pay more for the right school zones, amenities, and attractive streets. If you are prepared to live next to a railway track, under a power pylon, or on a busy road then you can potentially pay less. Just remember, when you come to sell, the same value rules apply!
Construction and Style
Think about what you want your house to look like. Do you want modern or character? Do you want permanent materials, or are you happy to paint periodically?
Learn a bit about building materials so that you can recognise an asbestos roof, or a potential leaky building. Learn how to do a basic building inspection. E.g. check for cracks in foundations, or dampness in bathrooms.
You want to make sure that the house you buy is sound, or at the very least, you know exactly what is wrong with it and how much it will cost to fix!
Why are you buying?
Your reason for buying the house, and your intentions for its future need to be clear before you start looking. How long will you live in this house? Is it to be a rental? Do you need good school zones? Is this a stepping stone that you want to add value to? The types of properties that will be suitable for you depend entirely on your answers to these questions.
Purchasing for Value
Now that you have a clear picture of what you want to purchase, you need to do some serious market research. You need to know as much as you can about the area/s you have chosen for your search. You need to know what the type of property you are looking for is worth in the current market. Once you have a good feel for the values, then you should quickly be able to spot something that is undervalued. It is not easy to find these gems, but if you are fully knowledgeable then you have the best chance at being able to make a quick decision and put in an offer.
You will have to look at a lot of properties before you find the one that ticks all (or most) of your boxes and feels right.
Get out there and find it! Good Luck!