School holidays and sunny weather make summer a heated time to buy property.
Across the country there was an unusually low number of listings over winter and this could continue in to summer.
With a number of other factors, like expat buyers returning to Australia, and foreign buyers re-entering the market – we could be in for a busy next few months.
Increased competition and higher prices to contend with are just a few of the factors that make the Silly Season even sillier when it comes to property.
But don’t lose heart, with two months to go before summer hits, now is the perfect time to put a strategy in place to ensure you get the property of your dreams.
Here are some tips to help you prepare.
1. Decide what you can & can’t live without
Like all things, when most people first start looking for their perfect home there is a strict list of ‘must-haves’.
But once most people have been to a few open homes and had their hopes dashed at an auction they soon begin to realise that (unless you’re Bill Gates) sometimes compromise is key.
Write down a ‘wish list’ of all the things you would like your ideal property to have. Once this is done, go back and do the ‘reality check’.
Ask the difficult questions like, if two bathrooms or living close to the CBD is really necessary.
This will provide a more realistic idea of what you can and can’t sacrifice.
2. Be suburb-smart
We all have that picture-perfect idea of where we’d like to live but, unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.
Rising house prices and high demand for property has pushed buyers, in many Australian capital cities, further and further from city centres.
But this isn’t all bad news. There are still some suburbs where you can bag a bargain without compromising too much.
In Sydney the most affordable suburb for apartments is Carramar, 30 kilometres west of the CBD, with a medium price of $329,000.
In Melbourne the most affordable suburb to buy a home is Melton West, at a staggering low median price of $331,000.
However, before you start looking, it’s a good idea to write down everything you need from a location.
For example, if you have children access to good schools, day care centres or recreational parks might be important.
3. Be in the know & ready to go
In some cases, a good real estate agent will let you know when a property shows up in their listing.
However, a smarter way to stay in the loop with open homes, new property listings and auctions is to set up mobile and calendar alerts with various real estate sites such as realstate.com.au or domain.com.au.
Most of these sites allow you to save a property and set reminders to ensure you don’t miss out.
To cover off all bases, a good plan of attack is to do both. That way, you’ll always be in the know.
4. Have an auction strategy
Auctions can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time buying a property. To avoid stress on the day and to increase your chances of success, have a strategy in place.
If you know you want to buy the property before you attend the auction, consider putting in a pre-auction bid.
As bidding wars can happen very quickly, make sure you know your top price and don’t go beyond it.
For tips on what to do and what not to do at auction, read our tips here.
If you’re not looking to buy with a partner, it might be a good idea to consider teaming up with someone else to increase your chances of securing a property.
According to Domain.com.au, if you’re single on an average income and are looking to purchase a home it is unlikely you’ll be able to so in most of Australia’s capital cities.
If you’re planning on teaming up with another person, make sure you speak to an independent solicitor ahead of time.
Alternatively, rentvesting (renting where you want to live and buying where it’s more affordable) could also be an option to consider.
6. Get pre-approved and make sure you understand the fine print.
Pre-approval can be both your best friend, and your worst enemy. So, you should be careful to ensure that as well as being pre-approved, that you understand the fine print.
Many property buyers come unstuck when they buy a house only to find that the pre-approval they received was laden with terms and conditions that make it now void.
To learn more about what to look out for when seeking pre-approval, read our helpful guide here.