Purchasing your first home is a significant event, so it’s only natural to want to find the perfect house.
But finding the ideal home can take a lot of time and energy, so we have some house hunting tips to ensure that you find the right property with as little stress as possible.
If you are looking to buy a property in 2022, you should know that the market is currently slated towards sellers.
Unfortunately, that means you’re unlikely to come across any true bargains or experience an uncompetitive purchase as there are so many buyers like you that are hunting for the perfect property.
But that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.
Here are some outside-the-box tips for first-home buyers in 2022.
Get prepared before your start house hunting
Before you head out into the property market, you’ll need to be prepared to jump on your dream home as quickly as possible.
That means you will need to have ready:
- Your home loan pre-approval;
- Your deposit funds;
- Your maximum purchase price; and
- Your list of essential home features.
If you aren’t prepared, you might have to rush to get a loan approved, or miss out on a property because someone else buys it first, or end up panic buying a property that isn’t right for your needs.
Don’t overlook properties with no photos
House hunters naturally skip over listings with very few or no photos without a second thought, but to get an edge on the property market, you should make these your priority.
When a property doesn’t have many photos in its online listing, it usually needs renovation or repair. Call the listing agent to ask for more details.
If you’re willing to buy a fixer-upper to get into the property market, this is good news for you as the property will sell at a lower price while allowing you to make it your own.
But even if you didn’t want to buy a renovation property, it may only need a coat of paint and some carpeting – cosmetic fixes that are very easy to do.
Look for obvious problems
Some properties have features that turn the bulk of buyers off, such as being on a main road.
But the savvy first home buyer sees solutions rather than problems, so be proactive and talk to the agent about the issues; likely, they will have come up with a solution already.
In the case of a main road or freeway, some double glazing and insulation can just about fix the problem, leaving you with an enviable first home.
Avoid unprofessional agents
While most agents are professional and act in the seller’s best interests (which means getting back to prospective buyers quickly), some are unreliable.
But don’t punish a good property for the agent’s unprofessionalism – look at it as something going in your favour.
Most buyers will get frustrated and move on, so a buyer who sticks around has the advantage.
Also, if they are unprofessional about customer care, they may be unprofessional in other areas as well.
They might be willing to let you know the buyer’s minimum price or tell you an offer that is likely to be accepted, making things a lot easier for you.
Don’t forget to look at old listings
A property more than six weeks old gets very little attention as compared to new listings.
These properties are likely owned by vendors desperate to sell and will probably be willing to lower their sale expectations.
Take the time to scroll to the bottom of the listings and see what’s available.
Finding unlisted properties
Unlisted properties are those available for sale but with no advertising behind them.
This may be because the vendor is unwilling to spend on marketing or haven’t yet formally started the sale process.
You could easily contact local real estate agents and let them know what you are looking for, asking specifically about unlisted properties.
Off-market sales are quite common in parts of Australia and make up about a quarter of properties sold – it pays to ask.
…Other things to remember
Get notified of new listings
Whichever online search you are using to find property will likely have a ‘property alert’ button.
You can get instant notifications sent to your phone so that as soon as properties that meet your criteria are listed, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Open house Saturday
What you want to do now is go and see as many properties as you can!
You’re a house hunter now and will need to keep your Saturdays free for house hunting.
Most sellers have an open house on Saturday, meaning you can go and check the properties in person.
Get your contracts checked as soon as possible
Contracts and Section 32s are available as soon as a property is listed, so have them checked over by a property conveyancer as soon as possible.
That way, you’ll be prepared to make a serious offer knowing precisely what the terms of sale are.
Conduct a building inspection
When you fall in love with a home, have a building inspector complete an inspection of the house as soon as you can get it organised.
By getting one done early, you won’t be holding up a potential sale waiting to see if the property is right for you.
You can also make an offer reflecting the condition of the property, deducting the cost of any repairs that need to be made.
Quick checklist for 2022 first-home buyers
Follow these points to find your perfect house in 2022:
- Make sure you are pre-approved for a loan before you start looking;
- Have a broad range of search criteria;
- Get notifications sent to your phone when properties are listed;
- Inspect properties that don’t have photos;
- Speak to local real estate agents about buying off-market properties; and
- Keep your Saturdays free and inspect as many properties as you can.
House hunting for first-time buyers is an exciting and challenging time and should be conducted with as much organisation and structure as possible.
Jim’s Group can provide a range of services to help first home buyers get into their dream home in 2022 – from building inspections to financing.