It is 100% worth taking the time to research the area that you are looking at. This will ensure that your new home will be your dream home and for some people it may even be your forever home. So, let’s talk through all the things you should be looking out for before signing on the dotted line. Check out the neighbours - if you’re brave, strike up a conversation with the neighbour to see what they are like, remember you will be living next to them for a long time and there is nothing worse than a difficult neighbour. If they seem nice, ask them what it is about the area they like, getting insider knowledge from a local is always beneficial. Look in to the level of crime in the area. Is there a lot of construction going on in the street? Are there properties with planning permits being advertised? If so go onto the local council website and have look at the plans being advertised to ensure there aren’t any apartment blocks going up next door, or across from you. Check the zoning of the area to see if high rise apartments are allowed, or if there are any plans for major roads in the future, as these could be deal breakers. Drive around the streets to make sure that it’s a neighbourhood that you would feel comfortable buying and living in. Another tip, always do drive by’s at different times of the day/night and weekday/weekends, so you will gain a greater understanding of what it would be like to live there.
Make sure you have your finance in place before you start seriously looking, or looking at all. There is nothing worse than searching online for hours, going to several open for inspections every weekend, finding the perfect property and then going to the bank and realising that your borrowing capacity isn’t what you thought. Remember just because you have the deposit, doesn’t mean you can loan what you need, so make an appointment and sort out your finance before you start looking. This will give you peace of mind as well as making sure that you don’t have your heart set on a house you think is your dream home, which you later realise you can’t afford. If you’re also considering whether you should or shouldn’t sell your current home before purchasing a new one, NAB has some helpful info here.
3. Do you have a growing family?
Do you already have children, or are you planning on having more children? If kids are in the picture there are even more factors to consider when choosing where you want to buy your new house – what are your thoughts on inner city versus the suburbs for raising your family? If you are a city dweller through and through what are your thoughts on compromising on a backyard for closeness to the city? It’s also a good time to check out the local schools, think about your new work commute and consider things like public transport and if you’re anything like me, taste testing the local coffee is a must!
4. What do you really need?
What do you need in a new home? Make a list of what is non-negotiable and what you can live without. How many bedrooms do you actually need? How important is ample storage to you? If the kitchen isn’t perfect do you have the budget to renovate it once you move in? Write everything down and it will make your life so much easier when deciding whether each home is a real contender for purchase.