With Spring always a popular season for house hunters, many would-be home buyers are already turning their minds to buying a property, hoping to capitalise on the current prime buying market conditions.
David Nitschke, Principal, First National Real Estate Pope Nitschke offers this advice for researching a property to make sure you get the most house for your dollar.
“Whether a person is purchasing for investment purposes, to upgrade, downsize or to buy their first home, they need to make sure the property is the right one to suit their purposes,” Mr Nitschke says.
“A home purchase is one of the biggest financial decisions a person will likely make in their life, and getting it right is crucial.
“While affordability continues to improve, and interest rates remain low, the worst thing a home buyer can do is rush their decision, or come under pressure because of an imminent turn in the market.
“They need to take their time and do their research so they can reap the rewards.”
According to Mr Nitschke the top five things to watch out for when researching a property are:
• houses that have been sold multiple times over a short period. This could signal a problem with the home or immediate location and new owners are looking to offload it soon after they take possession.
• any easements that could affect what you would like to do with the property. Tears often result when a much desired and longed for pool, or extension is unable to be built because there is an easement in the way. Check the plans carefully or seek appropriate legal advice.
• overhead wires or storm water drains and easements that could affect the value of the property and prove restrictive or prohibitive.
• zoning and regulations. Homes that are in areas susceptible to ‘forces of nature’ such as floods, or fires, can add costs to a property, especially insurance, and may impact on any future plans.
• geography of the property’s location. The high side of the street is often more valuable, there’s sometimes a better side of the highway/railway and proximity to transport. Check if it is under a flight path and remember that in some locations, flight paths vary to share noise at different times of day.
• rat runs. Is the property located beside or on a road that is normally quiet, but becomes choked around peak hours with cars avoiding traffic snarls in other nearby locations? This may affect the property’s value or its livability.
Mr Nitschke says some of the fundamentals can often be overlooked in a home buyer’s enthusiasm and eagerness to purchase.
“People can get very excited when they find a home they fall in love with and it is important to remain level-headed,” Mr Nitschke said.
“Local amenities, services and facilities are also important to research. This includes things like the property’s proximity to schools and shops, or health and welfare centres and hospitals as well as recreational facilities such as gyms or parks and gardens.
“The impact of these on the owner as occupier or for later resale will all differ on desirability levels depending on the purpose of the property by the owner.”
Mr Nitschke says there are plenty of readily available places for a home buyer to gather information, especially with today’s consumer penchant for all things technological.
“The web is an excellent source of information from looking at prices for nearby properties to researching articles on the area for many years past,” Mr Nitschke said. “The local council will also provide a wealth of information, especially on planning, zoning and regulation matters.
“But one of the most underutilised, yet valuable sources will be word of mouth. Talking to neighbours is a good place to start, but local real estate agents are the best.
“First National agents live, work and play in their local communities and, given they may even end up being a neighbour of yours, have a vested interest in providing you with accurate, timely and relevant information.
“First National Real Estate’s promise is to put you first, and that is something we take very seriously. We exert a great deal of time and effort in keeping our clients up to date in the most appropriate and convenient manner. Sometimes that is face to face, and sometimes it is through technology such as the web, Twitter, SMS, email and facebook.