Affordability, availability and suitability. Whether this is your first tentative step on to the property ladder or you are an old hand looking for the perfect home for your retirement, achieving the right balance between these 3 principles will set you on your way to being a happy home owner.
Your first port of call. Knowing what you can afford means less time wasted on looking at properties that could be out of your reach. Remember: there is no point buying the house of your dreams if it's going to turn into a financial nightmare. Be prepared! Better yet, try out some bond calculators on your own or get pre-qualified for a home loan from a registered bond originator.
Making use of bond calculators can help you answer questions like:
Now that you know what you can afford (remembering any costs for improving the property) it’s time to take to the streets and see what kinds of properties are available, and where. Make a list of your needs, that is, the features that your home must have to fit your lifestyle. Be as rational, rather than emotional, as possible when making this list. Your Harcourts agent can then help hugely by advising you on what is on the market and what to expect in what areas. It's likely that you will have to compromise on some of your likes and dislikes so be prepared to be flexible.
Location, location, location! You can improve the property but you can't move it. Remember however, to think to the future of the area, not just what its current state is. You estate agent may even be able to help you find out of there are any new development plans of possibilities in the area – are they attractive or not?
You’ve found somewhere you like the look of and it's in your price range - do you go for it? Think laterally now - what does your future hold? If it's family, then can you expand the house? Are there schools close by? If it's retirement, are your family and friends nearby? Is there a hospital or clinic near-by? Ask the neighbors about crime in the area, noise levels, traffic congestion. Don't compromise on things that are important to you. If they annoy you now, they will only annoy you more later!
Lastly: Be patient and shop around. You may get lucky and fall in love with the first property you see, but you'll make a better decision if you look at a number of them instead.