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Top tips for successful house-hunting


The house hunter’s guide to successful Saturdays

We know looking for your first home can be challenging, but we also know how rewarding the end game is.

We’re not going to pretend it doesn’t take a whole lot of research, time, patience, and persistence. But we are going to arm you with our top tips to make the Saturdays you do spend inspecting those potential dream homes (and all the time in between) a little less overwhelming.

1. Understand the ‘why’

Why do you want to buy this home? Is it an investment? Do you want to renovate? Are you planning on growing your family? Whatever your purpose, understanding the ‘why’ will inform ‘what’ you’re looking for in a home, and will help filter your choices when it comes to those property inspections.

2. Separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves

Sure, we’d all love a surround sound cinema and outdoor spa but let’s face it, these are blue sky nice-to-haves, not things you must have. There will be some non-negotiables you need for your day-to-day comfort, so make a list of these things and go from there.

If you’re an avid cook, maybe a gas stove is on your non-negotiable list. If you work in the CBD, you’ll probably be on the lookout for something close to public transport, whereas if you work from home, natural light and aspect might be high on your list of must-haves.

Other things to consider:

  • Living / outdoor space
  • Close to schools / shops / cafes
  • The local community itself
  • Ease of mobility around the house (prams, stairs)
  • Storage / parking

3. Plan your Saturday with precision

There may be a few homes you’re keen to inspect on any given Saturday, so it’s important to prioritise your top picks first. Then, plan out your day accordingly, remembering to include roughly 20 minutes for inspection times, plus travel and parking time. Don’t give yourself the unnecessary stress of missing the inspection window because you’ve been driving round in circles trying to find a park.

And if you have time to kill? Stop in at a local cafe so you can get a feel for the area.

4. You are a house detective: take notes and talk to the agent

Talking to the agent is essential for showing them you have a genuine interest in buying. They can also provide you with important intel on the house. Ask questions like:

  • Why is the owner selling now? (This could give you a hint on sense of urgency)
  • Are there any major visual flaws? (Keep an eye out for water stains, bubbles in paintwork, damp areas and mould, finishes to the joinery in the kitchen and bathroom)
  • What is the owner expecting for a sale price? (This way you can easily work out whether the home is in your budget).

Be sure to note down any problem areas, but also features you love / don’t love about the house. This will help at the end of the day when you start to compare the properties you saw.

5. Breathe and check your expectations

Set yourself realistic time expectations. It can take up to 12 months (or more) to find the perfect place and, during that time, your definition of perfect might very well change.

If you’re in the market to purchase a home, you will find one! Remember to keep positive and try to adopt the mindset that every inspection is bringing you one step closer to securing your very own property; you never know when the right home is just around the corner.

The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It doesn’t take account of any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice.