realADVICE: How to buy a great home this summer

PUBLISHED 3 OCT 2018   

Summer is generally a great time to buy a new home and this year is no exception, as there are plenty of properties to choose from, serious sellers are willing to negotiate and the banks are keen to approve new home loans.

However, you stand to get even more out of the summer housing market if you follow these tips:

  • Pick a good area. Take the time to research areas that are not only safe and secure but would suit your lifestyle and offer the kind of amenities that are important to you. It’s tempting to focus on price, but the most inexpensive home is going to be a bad buy if you have a family and there are no schools in the area, for example, or if you like going out with friends but end up living far away from them, or if it would mean facing a very long commute in traffic to work every day.
  • Get pre-qualified for a home loan. Ask a reputable bond originator like BetterBond to help you obtain home loan pre-qualification before you start your home search. You will then know what your buying power is and be able to concentrate on properties that are within your budget. Any offer to purchase you make will also be better received because the seller can see that you are a serious buyer who will be able to obtain a loan and close the deal. 
  • Consider a fixer-upper. A tried-and-tested way of buying into a more upmarket area than your budget might suggest is to seek out an older property there that is in need of upgrading and modernisation. However, you need to be sure that the changes required are only cosmetic and not structural and even then, home renovation and all the mess and disruption involved is not for everyone. If you would rather have a home that is move-in ready, you should focus your search on newly-renovated or even brand new homes. These may be somewhat smaller or more expensive, but you won’t be spending money on home improvements.      
  • Look out for listings that say “price reduced”. Some property websites will also show you how long a home has been on the market and whether the price has been dropped more than once. This will tell you that the owners are really serious about selling and probably willing to negotiate an even more favourable deal, especially if they have a deadline on moving themselves.
  • Make your best offer. Even though the market favours buyers at the moment, sellers can still be offended by a really low offer and refuse to negotiate with you, especially if they have done the same market research as you and their property is actually well-priced. You will then have no chance of buying the home you like best after weeks of looking. A much better strategy is to make a serious offer that is reasonably close to the asking price and then bring other factors to the table that make it even more appealing to the seller – such as bond pre-qualification, a sizable cash deposit and flexibility on the occupation date.

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