Choosing a Property

Things to consider

Buying a property requires a considerable amount of research, time, commitment and planning. The process outlined below suggests simple steps to consider before you start your property search.

How Much Can You Afford?

First, determine how much you can afford and the area in which you wish to buy. Do not set your heart on something you can’t afford. Establish how much you can borrow and afford to repay to get a realistic idea of what you can buy. Researching recent sales and the price of properties on the market should give a good indication of property values and an understanding of the market.

Identify What you Want

Select the location
Choosing the right location is vital not just because it might add value to a property but because you (or your tenants) will have to live there too.

Look for up and coming areas and consider the edge of popular areas. The so-called ripple effect is the most common reason prices rise in an area. If you can’t afford the street or suburb you desire, consider neighbouring areas, especially if you want a bigger house. Also be aware of any future development plans which could affect the property’s value or your quality of life. It is important to consider proximity to transport, schools, shopping centres, recreation and local facilities and other amenities important to you.

Type of property
A house is likely to be the most expensive type of property but for good reason. You are distanced from your neighbours and will generally have a garden. Semi-detached houses, terraces and townhouses usually have an outdoor area and a degree of privacy but they are likely to be noisier than a house due to their proximity to neighbours. Apartments are generally smaller and more likely to be noisier than houses but they tend to be more affordable and easier to maintain. Put together a shortlist of things that are important to you.

Checklist

Whether buying a property as an investment or to occupy, extreme care is needed to ensure your purchasing experience is stress free and risks are minimised.

- Why do you want the property. If you intend to live in it, does it suit your needs?

- Freestanding home, a terrace, townhouse or a unit? Or do you want to build?

- How many bedrooms and bathrooms?

- Do you want a new or established home? Do you want to renovate?

- If it's been renovated recently, check with the local council or shire to ensure planning or building permits were approved.

- If you have young children or elderly people living with you, you might want to avoid stairs and prefer a level block. Do you intend to install a pool in the future? Is the garden too big or too small? Will you need more bedrooms in future? Is the location close to schools etc.

- If you are buying a villa, apartment or townhouse you might be sharing a common wall with your neighbours. It is advisable to check noise levels if possible.

- Consider trying to meet your neighbours. They might not share the same values as you.

- If parking is important make sure the property has its own allocated space. Even if you don’t need a car space this feature will add value in the resale of the property.

- If you're buying an investment property, consider the needs of potential tenants. It's a good idea to speak to an agent to find out the types of properties that get the highest returns.