Coffs Coast Advocate

Finding the perfect house

SELLING up and moving on can be an exciting time - maybe the family has left the nest and it's time to downsize to something more compact and luxurious, or maybe your family is still growing and there's a need for a larger living space.

Whatever the reason, entering the real estate market can be a dream, or your worst nightmare, depending on how well prepared you are.

Once, it was all about trawling through the Saturday papers and seeing a lot of duds before you found anything half way decent.

The internet has made all that a lot easier. Browsing for property is a pastime many of us undertake just for fun, but for dedicated buyers, scanning the property sites is vital.

It's one of the most efficient ways to get your property noticed and certainly one of the most popular ways to initially view property.

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) says buying a home is not only one of the largest purchases you're likely to make, it can also be one of the best long-term investments - so it's important you get it right.

This means doing your homework and making sure that the property you are buying is the right one in terms of price, location, value, size and lifestyle.

Dan Molloy, managing director of REIQ, the REIA's Queensland chapter, says people should look at the characteristics of areas that have performed well in the past. These areas usually share commonalities such as population growth, being close to facilities and infrastructure, as well as being supported by local industry.

“The other key factor in new home buying is location. When it comes to buying a home, location is always a pivotal issue but it can mean different things to different people,” Dan says.

“From most buyers' viewpoint, the really important features for the location of their home are that the neighbourhood is safe, close to schools, medical services and shops, and also close to their workplace or to reliable public transport.”

Generally, the biggest drama about moving house is finding the right property in your budget.

Sticking to budget is vital.

Talk to your bank manager and find out exactly how much your repayments will be, and look at the options of variable interest rates as opposed to the higher, but more manageable, fixed rates.

REIA says that when considering how much to pay for their new home, buyers should consider the following:

  • Calculate what deposit and what repayments you can afford.
  • Remember deposit requirements will vary. But as a rule of thumb, at least 10% of the selling price will be required.
  • In general, lenders usually base the amount they will loan you on the rule that monthly repayments do not exceed a quarter of gross (pre-tax) income.
According to Leanne Wilson, of Suncorp Wealth Management, the decision to move house should be determined not just on immediate financial issues, but on a range of emotional attachments and also on the hidden costs you might not have factored in.

“When looking to downsize, you should consider the cost of buying and selling a property,” she says.

“Some of the costs you need to think about include stamp duty, legal fees, real estate commission and moving costs.

“You also need to think about whether you sell first or buy first.

“Both have their pros and cons.

“You should also think about whether or not you want to stay in the same area,” Leanne said.

“You should think about proximity to friends and family; sometimes moving to the beach or the country sounds great at the time, but if your family and friends live miles away it can make it difficult to socialise.

“This is sometimes a mistake retirees make.”

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