As we enter March, prime real estate season kicks in to gear, agents are back from holidays and people who have spoken about making a move this year start to get serious. But how do you best prepare to search for homes this weekend? What do you need to prepare and how do you make sure you don't miss out on the perfect home? This list will teach you how to be an expert property hunter this weekend.
1. Call your bank manager:
If you are looking at buying, go to an inspection with pre-approval. This can be helpful for multiple reasons. It can mean that if it is the right home, you can be on the forefront and make an offer straight away and also mean that you know how much you can spend. This saves a lot of time and prevents you from looking at homes that are going to be out of your price range. In many ways, this is the most important element of searching, as searching out of the range you can afford is a waste of time, and money that you don't have.
2. Search the suburbs you could see yourself living in:
The first way to get going is to start by identifying the suburbs. If you have never lived in the suburb before, it is a good idea to read a suburb guide and understand what the suburb is all about and if you would enjoy living there. Once you've read the guide add the suburb to your shortlist. Try and give yourself a minimum of two to three suburbs to search for.
3. Search the stock of homes in the suburbs you like- WITH price parameters:
Once you have identified your suburbs, you need to see what is available in the area. Start by looking at all of the properties for rent/sale in the area and see if that part of the market is under or over supplied. Once you have an idea of stock, it should help you gauge how easy or hard it is to get in to that suburb. If there are only few listings in the area, it may show the demand is greater than the supply, and it may be best looking at neighbouring suburbs if you are going to get beaten out by competitors.
4. Call three or four agents. TODAY:
Today is the day to call agents, not on Saturday. Agents have time on a Friday afternoon to deal with your questions and inform you about a property. It can be near impossible getting a hold of an agent if they are auctioning homes and have five inspections to run back to back. Ask your questions today, so you can go to your inspections tomorrow armed with all the knowledge you need.
5. Plan to visit local points of interest after you have searched:
If you are looking at moving to a suburb you don't currently live in, then spending time in the area after looking at a house is a good way to spend the rest of your afternoon. If you are serious about moving, you will be spending a lot of time there, so going to places like the South Melbourne market after searching homes close to the area is a great way to learn if you like it or not.
6. Try and park, and see where the closest public transport is:
It's all good and well looking for a home, but it NEEDS to fit in your lifestyle. If you ride your bike currently to work and this home is located on a freeway, with no bike access then you could be in trouble. Spend time on focusing on things like where you would park your car, and which train stop you'd go to work from and see how realistic it is. Don't fall in love with the home, fall in love with the suburb before you fall in love with the home.
No matter what you do, make sure you have a plan on how you want to tackle the weekends inspections. Spend enough time in the suburb to get a good insight and make sure you visit more than just the home, but the things that will impact on your life.
About the Author:
Todd Schulberg handles all things marketing for Homely.com.au - Living and breathing property, Todd has a keen interest in the movements in the market and how agents can utilise new tools and technology in order to be more connected. Using all things social, Todd suggests different ways that agents can engage and think outside the square with their marketing approach.