Why Is Now Might Be the Ideal Time to Buy Property

If you weren’t sure about entering the property market in 2020, there are many compelling reasons to do it right now.

Here are five reasons why the current market is working in favour of home buyers.

  1. Low interest rates

The number ONE reason why people are considering buying right now is the low interest rates.

The beginning of 2020 was difficult for the people and the economy, with severe bushfires and the coronavirus outbreak. However, things are looking up in the housing market, with auction clearance rates rising throughout Australia.

With interest rates at its lowest ever, right now is the perfect time to talk to a mortgage specialist about the home loan options that might be ideal for your current situation.

  1. The cost of buying vs renting

If you’re renting and a first home buyer you’re probably attempting to determine what would cost more between buying and renting.

In some cases, the cost will be very close. In other cases, it might actually be less expensive to buy a house, depending on its location and type.

If you’re thinking about this, it might be time to calculate your rental expenses.

  1. Less travel means bigger savings

With plenty of travel possibilities still in the pipeline in Australia, many could have saved thousands of dollars that they would otherwise have spent on overseas holidays and social expenses. So, what can you do about those savings?

People are still not completely free to spend their money. In some states, you’re prohibited from travelling interstate. You might be saving for a fabulous trip now but are thinking that “it’s a major challenge to do it this year, it might not happen next year, let’s use that money on something else.”

  1. Work from Home Flexibility

More and more people, both employees and employers, are choosing work from home arrangements.

What this means in relation to purchasing a house is that you can choose a location that is further away from your current workplace and often something larger.

Choosing an area further away from the CBD is also likely to offer more bang for your buck in terms of real estate.

  1. Incentive Schemes

The federal government has extended its First Home Loan Deposit Scheme until 2021. The scheme allows first home buyers to buy a home with a deposit as little as 5%. Usually, home buyers would be required to pay a 20% deposit or pay an additional Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) fee.

With this scheme, first home buyers don’t have to save a huge amount for a deposit if they want to enter the market ASAP.

There are other incentive schemes geared towards first home buyers that make buying now more appealing. Most importantly, there are various state-defined First Home Owner Grants and concessions for people who are making their first home buy.

If you are considering upgrading, there are also incentives available. For example, there is the Regional Home Building Boost Grant in Queensland and the BuildBonus Grant in the Northern Territory. Rules vary by state.

Even if the present is the perfect time to buy a home, knowing where to begin is the main problem. To get you started with a little more confidence, there are tools and support available to you.  All you need to do is ask!



5 Important Home Features for Low Maintenance Living

Regular maintenance is required to keep your home in top-notch condition. Often these tasks are too much work for us, taking up valuable time and can be expensive if you employ professionals.

Certainly, retirees and semi-retirees can think of more pleasurable activities and better things to spend their time and money on.

A low-maintenance lifestyle can be achieved by finding a home in which both indoors and outdoors are meticulously set up to be hassle-free. It is a period of your life when you want to take it easy more and work less.

To help you enjoy low-maintenance living, here are five important features in your new home:

  1. Clever use of space

The most effective way to lower maintenance is by downsizing to a smaller house. According to Stockland’s 2020 Property survey, this is a rising trend among buyers.

But note that you don’t need to sacrifice space to downsize. A home with the right layout will feel large, comfortable and liveable, if the important features are laid out in a clever manner.

It’s essential to have a kitchen you can be proud of and where you can socialise with friends and family. Even if you live in a downsized home, your kitchen should still feel comfortable and spacious.

Smart designs take advantage of all available space, while still focused on view lines, the links between living areas and smart storage options.

The smart use of space for new homes involves connecting spaces in such a way to ensure privacy and amenity of the residents and their guests. This is especially true in Newcastle, where integration to the outdoors is essential.

  1. Low maintenance garden

Gardening is a pleasurable activity but not when the front and backyards are large as the pleasure could easily be outweighed by maintenance.

Instead of having a large space, opt for a smaller garden that is well designed and well-incorporated into the house.

Today’s front yards are regarded as the new “social spot” of homes as well as the area where you can showcase your gardening skills. Front yards feature a variety of flowers, plants and landscape designs. Low-maintenance patio backyards, on the other hand, offer a retreat where you can rest and relax.

  1. Sturdy materials and superior build

The deterioration of a house is commonly the reason for the many maintenance tasks that need to be done around the home. If you’re living in a house with a bit of age, expect that you may come across some problems with wiring, the plumbing or something unforeseen that is caused by general wear and tear.

An industry survey found that the main reason people purchase a new home is assurance in build quality, low probability of major repairs and higher quality features for an affordable price.

Choosing a home constructed using high standards and good quality materials, like steel framers to reduce the risk of a termite attack, are important to the home’s long-term maintenance requirements.

  1. Design for diverse ages

You will need to do a variety of maintenance jobs for your home over time. But choosing to live in a low-maintenance home also requires ensuring your home is right for you at various phases of your life.

You want to avoid moving into a new house only to discover it wouldn’t be able to meet your needs as time passes.

Choose designs that feature larger bathrooms, more spacious hallways, fewer or zero steps and are typically more comfortable and bigger.

  1. Common spaces for entertaining

Parties and other events in which friends and family get together requires time to prepare, take a bit of work, and of course, maintenance! However, it doesn’t mean you have to forego these celebrations just because you are living the low maintenance lifestyle.

One sure way to have a maintenance-free lifestyle is to adopt the common facilities featured in gated communities – which are all maintained by the on-site property manager.

Entertaining can be made easy, thanks to having access to larger kitchens, events places, bars, dining areas, lounge, etc. Compared to the family home, lifestyle communities have more facilities – all maintenance free!

This feature allows you to downsize maintenance, downsize your yard, but elevates your lifestyle.




Should You Buy the Worst House in the Best Street? The Answer is: Yes!

In real estate, the term “renovator’s dream” is taken to mean as a “run down mess”, but those properties, believe it or not, have unrealised potential.

When looking for property, we tend to set our sights on a property in excellent condition that is ready for you to move into. However, there are times when you have to overcome your initial doubts and be a little more imaginative in your property hunt.

Why buy the worst house in the best street?

Property developers suggest looking for opportunities to boost the value of a property instead of being dependent on the market to do all the work for you. The old “worst house in the street” belief is the ideal illustration of a case where this can be applied. Using your own sweat and blood can boost the value of a home, by undertaking either a cosmetic or structural improvement, or maybe even an extension.

If you’re still not convinced, consider this: purchasing a home in an overly-developed neighbourhood is not a very safe investment, as buyers are usually enticed into purchasing newly built homes with offers of incentives, freebies (such as new ovens and brand name white goods) and first home buyers schemes.

The features in overly-developed areas are actually special and can easily be found in any location, which means investing in these high volume developments will not succeed compared to investing in more tightly-held areas.

The projected population growth in the country indicates a low supply of properties in major capital cities and this trend will continue in the foreseeable future.

Purchasing property with a solid foundation, even if in bad condition, in a promising, popular street that is in high demand and insufficient supply will offer higher capital growth than an investment where there are many properties of the same features.

Things to consider when hunting for your “renovator’s dream”

Your goal is to find a solid investment, so look for a home where the things you can change, like the floor plan, built-in appliances, etc., aren’t perfect, but the features you can’t change like the location, block size, etc., are advantageous.

However, it is important to differentiate between a fixer-upper and a money pit. Before you make an irreversible purchase, hire a building inspector to look at the property to ensure it has no hidden flaws that you cannot afford to fix.

Avoid being overly confident with your renovation skills and the value you’re adding to the property. Do your research to make sure there is sufficient pricing gap between the property and the rest of the street to gauge the value you’re aiming to add.

For example, you might want to rethink your decision if you’re purchasing a home below the median price in the street but the cost of your planned upgrades is $80,000.

Property specialists also recommend that you hire a licensed builder to be in charge of any home upgrades you do. The thought of saving money by doing things yourself is nice, but most states require that a builder must supervise projects that reach a minimum dollar value of work.

You can still do the work yourself, but the completed project must be signed off by a builder. This is to certify that the building is safe, is of a suitable standard and fit for purpose. If this is not done, the works may be considered not legal, thus nullifying your insurance or possibly putting lives in danger.

Purchase property that will stand out and endure for a long time. Check historical evidence to see future gains.

Carry out due diligence and research the market carefully or do it with the help of a professional real estate agent like myself.



You Can Own Your Own Home Sooner

Just released figures found that first home buyers are trying to enter the property market encouraged by a surge of government incentives.

According to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), the government body in charge of implementing the incentive, one in eight first home buyers in 2020 have dipped into the federal government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS).

The popularity of the scheme among first home buyers, an election promise fulfilled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, rose despite major issues.

Demand for FHLDS in the six months to June 30 continued even though COVID-19 had happened.

First time home buyers from all ages and income groups around Australia filed to qualify for the scheme, and interest was strong from buyers in outer metropolitan and regional areas like Newcastle.

FHLDS was launched on January 1 and was limited at 10,000 qualified buyers. When the limit was reached quickly, it was reset on July 1.

There were a lot of interesting statistics found by the FHLDS Trends and Insights report. These included:

Under the scheme, buyers were able to move forward their purchase by four years on average.

Nearly 70% of buyers bought a stand-alone property, with 25% buying an apartment and 5% a townhouse.

Over 50% of properties purchased in capital cities were located 15-30 km from the CBD, with couples more likely to purchase in outlying suburbs than singles.

Major cities were the preferred location of 62.3% of buyers while the rest bought in regional locations.

The main cohort of key works who availed of the scheme was teachers (37%), followed by nurses (25%).

For houses, the median price was $385,000. In comparison, the median price of apartments was $475,000, as a significant number of units were purchased in capital cities.

The people applying for the scheme were mostly in the 25-34 age group.

The scheme allows buyers to purchase their first property with as little as 5% deposit with the federal government covering the 15% balance normally required by exorbitant insurance.

The strongest demand was seen in Toowoomba in regional Queensland, followed by Campbelltown in south west Sydney, and Cragieburn and Frankston, suburbs in outer Melbourne.

We are still seeing a lot of interest from first home buyers in our office wanting to make a purchase.  They see now as a good opportunity to enter the property market.

Our enquiries are coming from individuals, couples and families who want to achieve their dream of owning their own home.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The report once again stressed the lack of affordability of homes near the CBD in Sydney, with a significant number of the people who purchased in the Harbour City buying at least 30 km from the city centre. In all other big cities, people bought within 30 km of the CBD and we are seeing the same trends here in Newcastle though over a shorter distance.

Make your move now to avoid heartbreak

In the report, it was found that nearly two-thirds of the 10,000 capped areas in the FHLDS were filled up within the first two months. Since the two-month period has ended and the second allocation of places was launched on July 1, first home buyers planning to avail of the scheme in the next six months of 2020 should do so immediately.

NSW buyers made up nearly 23% of the 10,0000 qualified applicants, followed by QLD with 18% and Victoria with 16%.

Values throughout the country have been declining marginally in recent months. However, over the last year, prices have increased particularly in Newcastle and the Lake Macquarie areas where prices have hit the peak of the market ant the end of 2017 through to mid 2018.

We are urging first home buyers to get into the market as soon as they can even if they buy a property as a stepping stone to their next one as they may be priced out of the market as it continues to increase.



First Home Buyers Are Buying Property Using Parental Guarantee

While most of us are staying home and spending less due to Covid-19, saving for a deposit remains one of the biggest challenges for first home buyers.

This is when parental guarantee is being used for this purpose and both children and parents appear to realise the benefits.

What is parental guarantee?

A parental guarantee is when parents offer a property they own as extra security to cover the difference between your current savings and 80% of the value of your future home.

Don’t associate this strategy with affordability, as it is completely a different issue. This is because parental guarantee only tackles a savings or equity deficit. It is not entered into frivolously as it is provided by a mortgage. But it can be discharged once the home has enough equity to be refinanced out or stand on its own.

The following can be provided by a good guarantee structure – as they are not all similar.

  • Restrict the guarantors’ exposure to just this gap and negligible expenses
  • Not obligate the guarantors to refinance or readjust their finances
  • Not obligate the guarantors to provide too much evidence of income. However, guarantors are protected to make sure there is a way for them to end the guarantee without losing their property in case you are unable to continue servicing the loan. Since this is a possible risk for guarantors, it is best to consider other ways like paying it off, or superannuation, or other assets than the family residence.
  • In the worst case scenario, let the guarantors make the payments on the limited guarantee part to end it prior to a discussion of the sale of any of their assets.
  • One guarantee will let first home buyers merge a minor debt – making repayments more affordable in the long run – and free some cash out for home upgrades; only if the guarantors agree.

Those who are buying a home to live in who already own an investment can also avail of this type of investment. However, there isn’t sufficient equity in the home to support the home buy.

To emphasize, these are not designed to put your parent’s home at risk to help you in building your portfolio, but a rational strategy can be used in situations where it’s practical to use a guarantee, and for many borrowers it may not be easy to save and pay rent.

The pros:

  • Hasten your entry into the property market
  • Doesn’t require you to save a deposit (though if you have a deposit saved you can end the guarantee quicker)
  • Access to lower interest rates than if you went in with a small deposit.
  • You can complete upgrades on a low-priced property (which could possibly increase its value)

The cons:

  • Both parents and borrowers are bluntly warned that it’s a mortgage and must be regarded seriously.
  • If you cease making payments, you are putting your own and your parents’ property at risk
  • Establishing it involves certain complexity and time – but not too demanding.
  • Lenders generally require parents to get legal advice, and this is normally done after it is too late for you to cancel the home purchase.

In documents, it will appear to be one loan in most situations, you will be responsible for all repayments and get all the statements. In short, you are wholly responsible.

In addition, the bank will not start the discharge of the second security. This is important to remember and it is recommended that you keep yourself updated on the market.

In most situations, the market will do most of the work in increasing your equity while you keep on making repayments, until such time you can a valuation done on your home, find out your loan has reached 80% of the new value and apply to free the guarantee.

These have no specific time frame but based on experience the time frame is often roughly five years/

With regards to the approval process, get ready to respond to additional questions relating to your income stability due to COVID-19 and any effect it might have had to your financial situation. Borrowers are required to have a good credit history, but on the positive side, where line by line expense analysis is happening for the majority of us we are experiencing lower expenses and this creates a great opportunity to both save and illustrate our capacity to finance our future new home. 

Be Careful About Buying Property Without Seeing It

Thanks to the Internet where you can find all relevant tools, including videos and research data, purchasing property without seeing it is something fairly easy to do.

However, real estate agents are warning people about this, especially if you will live in the home.

On the plus side, purchasing sight unseen considerably helps in minimising any emotion you might feel on seeing the property physically (love at first sight, perhaps?). The Real Estate Institute of Australia said that selling property sight unseen is rising in popularity with foreign buyers eager to snap up property in the country.

The people who purchase property online do so because they believe it’s the trendy thing to do.

Many median priced properties in the blue chip inner city rings continue to sell well these days and so if you reside interstate or simply have no time, it is probably the only way to purchase as there is a lot of demand, with properties selling fast.

Some people will choose this path because they think they have to outsource to professionals and they may not know what they should be looking for anyway. If it’s a planned strategy, then they might have a better chance of making a better decision.

However, it is dangerous for people who have no clue about what they’re doing and are in danger of making an expensive mistake.

Usually, it’s only the positives and not the negatives are shown in videos and photos. You can use Google Maps to check some things, but you need skills for that.

There may be an electricity station nearby, big blocks of units or burnt out cars next to your property. It’s a costly purchase price and being forced to sell and re-purchase following a poor decision is very costly too.

Tips for Buying Property Online

  • Ask a person you know and trust to check the property out personally.
  • Don’t forget to have an independent valuation, building, pest and strata search carried out. The $1-2k cost is all worth it, even if it takes a few tries to succeed.
  • If it’s an investment property, use a rental manager to look at or at least check it online. A property manager associated with the sale agent is not impartial.
  • Think about hiring a buyers agent. They could take 2% out of your budget but you could save 5-10% by dodging a dud or by purchasing a better performing house.
  • Focus on the figures and the research instead of your emotions. The area is often the most essential feature, all cosmetics can be modified.

Purchasing property sight unseen is not too risky, as long as you do your research. Know what you want, and if you’re largely purchasing for the future and purchasing for its prospects, it is not too risky.

The most major risk is you decide without thinking it over carefully and studying the market and recognising what prices are reasonable. However, remember that foreign buyers are very clever and have checked out all the websites, so they are sure what they’re looking for.




What to Expect in Open House Inspections?

An open house is an exciting event whether you are a seller or a buyer. If you are selling, an open house is the chance for you to showcase your property to prospective buyers, and hopefully close a sale. If you’re a buyer, you are searching for a property that you can inspect, with the aim of finding a home that you can call your own.

While it seems like all you have to do is open your house and someone will buy, the fact is you need to have a little preparation if you want to ensure the best deal.

Here are tips to help you prepare before setting an open house inspection – from the perspectives of both the buyer and the seller.

How to prepare for open home inspections as a buyer

When you attend an open inspection, it’s easy to make yourself believe that the first home you inspect will be perfect or if not, you’d just go with your gut feeling. But if you are going to open homes with the aim of purchasing, you have to research the property so you have all the information you need before deciding to make an offer.

Here are three things you should consider when attending open homes:

Research the surroundings – Find out what services are close by. Knowing the neighbourhood and the properties proximity to schools, shops, cafes, parks, beaches, hospitals, sporting fields and complexes along with major shopping centres and even off the lead dog parks can add value to the property you’re looking at.  Not knowing this while your competition does may result in loosing out to another buyer.

Ask questions about the property  – finding out the history of the building can help you make your decision.  As they say, knowledge is power and being informed about any repairs or renovations the property may have been subjected to could either highlight some negatives or help you to discover some positives like not having to spend any more money on the home for the next 10 years.  Finding out if the pipes, roof, electrical systems, plumbing, pool equipment or windows have been replaced recently could mean that you make a higher offer and secure the property. 

Do some research to find out when the home hit the market – If the property has only been open for inspection for a short period of time, it could mean that many buyers are competing and you may need to make an attractive offer to advance in further negotiations.

How to prepare for open home inspections as a seller

What is an open house for sellers? This is your moment to put your property on display. On inspection day, your home needs to stun potential buyers and make them eager about the possibility of living in your home.

You want to give buyers all the reasons to buy and no reason not to. This means you have to get your home ready to sell fast – and for the highest possible price.

If you are preparing for open inspections, here are some things to include in your home inspection checklist:

Use space efficiently – The most important step in preparing your home for open inspection is decluttering. A tidy, uncluttered house appears larger, which creates a major difference when selling your house. Generally, you should remove at least half of your furniture (keep it somewhere else.)

Fix any maintenance issues – People are turned off by properties that look like it has been neglected. Additionally, if buyers think your property needs major repairs, they might request that you shoulder the expense. Repair leaky faucets, cracked tiles or damaged windows, and replace all the old light fixtures and or broken switches. You should also consider applying a fresh coat of paint as it makes your property look new and well-cared for.

Allow natural light – Buyers are turned off by a dark home, so ensure your home is taking advantage of the available natural light. Get rid or pull back superfluous window blinds, drapes or curtains. You can also install warm tone light bulbs and spot lamps to brighten a space.

Open Inspection in the Time of Covid-19

For us property managers and real estate agents, the health and safety of our clients are of utmost importance. In line with this, we have modified and updated our approach to meet the criteria of a safe place as defined by health authorities.

The process of open inspections during Covid-19 now includes:

Property managers and real estate agents are now working from home, and only attend home appraisal appointments, or to meet the clients, and oversee open homes or auctions. Buyers and sellers now have the option to communicate virtually with their agents or property managers over electronic devices for any property services they may need.

  • Most agents are now offering virtual open houses to vendors. These virtual walk-through technologies are secure and help agents generate offers as buyers are required to sign into the virtual open home in the manner that is the same for a physical one.
  • Clients who feel sick, or have gone to any high-risk areas are requested not to attend open homes for 14 days and instead call their agents for any enquiries they many have.
  • Clients will also be asked if they have travelled overseas in the past two weeks if they are going to homes for appraisals, or managing open home inspections.

Home Buyers Tips for Property Settlement

Sure, it can be so much fun searching and going to inspections, but it is doubtful whether you can find a buyer who can say that they like the protracted negotiations and chaotic back-and-forth’s – and mean it!

Property settlement is the long-awaited culmination of a property transaction, when the home you have long wanted to own becomes legally yours. And the good news is that the hard work is done for you.

Below are six tips to help you along the property settlement process:

1. Know about property settlement
What is a property settlement? It is a legal process that shifts the owners of a property from one owner to another. It is the day you pay the rest of the sale price and is typically handled by your legal and financial representatives.  The vendor decides the settlement date in the contract of sale, which is typically arranged between 28 and 42 days after the parties exchange contracts but this can be negotiated to a mutually agreed date.

2. Organise your final inspection
The property must be in the same condition as when it was sold and handed over to you. Inspect the home at some point during the settlement period to check if the seller is on target to fulfil this obligation.  I recommend the late afternoon of the date prior to settlement but be aware that pre-settlement inspection differs from state to state.  You should verify if all the items included in the contract are present and in the right condition.

3. Arrange for building and contents insurance
Your bank will normally advise that you get building and contents insurance starting from the date the contract is signed by the seller. This is to protect the seller’s interest, as well as yours, in the property.  A great contact is Trevor Gibson at Newsure Insurance. Contact me to as for his direct mobile number.

4. Verify measurements
You will receive a plan of the land from your solicitor or conveyancer. You can use it to verify if the measurements and boundaries are what are stated in the Certificate of Title. Advise them if they check out and notify them of discrepancies, if there is any.  Make sure you furnish the documents and other information right away when requested, as delays can be expensive.

5. Allocate expenses
During the property settlement, both yours and the seller’s representatives must agree on the portion of rates and other fees that each of you must pay.  The vendors must pay the fees up to and including the settlement day, and you have to pay from the day following the settlement.  The correct amount you must pay will be specified in what is called as a settlement adjustment statement. It will also include the amount of land transfer duty (or stamp duty) you must pay on the sale. Depending on the state where the property sits, you will have between 28 days and three months after settlement to pay the stamp duty. However, you have to remember that you can’t get the title to your property until this duty is paid.

6. Know what transpires on settlement day
The people leading on settlement day are your lender and settlement agent (either your solicitor or conveyancer), so you are not required to be present.  Not so long ago all parties would meet to sign and exchange the final papers of the sale, with each of them in charge of a certain set of tasks.  These days most settlements are done electronically.

The job of your lender is to register a mortgage against the title of your new home and provide the funds to buy the new home, while it is the task of your solicitor or conveyancer to ensure that any rights of third parties have been taken off or discharged, that the present mortgage on the seller’s title has been released, that all clauses on the sales contract have been satisfied, and that the transfer of home and mortgage is registered with the appropriate titles agency.

When everything is done, the amount paid at settlement will be debited from your loan account by your lender. Then, you must pay the land transfer duty.  After this is done, you can now get the keys and move into your dream home.



What Things Should First-Home Buyers Watch for Right Now?

It is no surprise that many first-home buyers keeping up-to-date with the latest real estate news are experiencing a fear of missing out. Interest rates are at a record low, controls on public auctions have been relaxed, and the prices of some homes have been reduced.

These conditions may benefit first-home buyers, however, the number of homes for sales in April declined 11.9% year-on-year because of the COVID-19 lockdowns and subsequent economic instability.

With fewer choices of homes for sale, first-home buyers need to make sure they are financially ready to purchase, are able to make a quick decision but without making the wrong decision.

Keep in mind what’s important to you and don’t approach the process of purchasing a property like trying to snag a bargain item from the sales rack. The best bit of advise is to be ready and make that quick decision before your competition or you will end up being the bridesmaid over and over again and you will miss out!  

Location is crucial
Picking a location is rather personal, but there are several major signs that buyers should watch for. These include convenience, proximity to work, transport, and lifestyle choices like parks and cafes are essential. Though they may not be the priority of first-home buyers, another thing to consider is local schools.

Remember that a dreary house can be upgraded, but its location cannot be moved
First-home buyers should take care not to get wooed by beautifully presented or re-modeled properties that might be in bad locations especially if they have a limited budget. If a home is located on a busy main road, you can’t move it. As beautiful as the refurbished kitchen or bathroom it will always be rated as a C-grade property and will affect the resale value.

Experts recommend choosing a home that is near public transport but not located directly on a train line.

Find out if any traffic congestion or flight paths runs close to your house of choice to prevent any disappointment because of noise pollution down the road.

Focus on layout and structure
After taking into account the location, buyers should focus on searching for a home with a floor plan that fits their present lifestyle, thus preventing the need for major costly renovations.

The cost of any renovation that is needed for a home should always be considered in the budget from the beginning. While a house might be beautiful or cute to you, what you need to look for are things that cannot be changed. It will cost a lot to move the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, so to be sure the floor plan fits your needs.

First-home buyers can benefit from properties with good bones that you can update or add some value in the future – like a period home, a period terrace or a tiny flat in a small complex, so there’ll be that element of uniqueness.

If you’re planning to buy a unit, a point to consider is optimal orientation to promote natural light and airflow. The ideal orientation is north or north-east, which is something you cannot change.

Think long-term
For buyers who are thinking of beginning or growing their family while residing in their first home, buying a home with room to expand can prevent upsizing too quickly.

Preferably your first home, if you can pay for it, should have some space to expand. A tiny yard would be ideal. If a third bedroom or a second bathroom is within your budget, it might suspend you growing out of the home.

Buyers should look for features like a bathtub in a house if they are going to have young children or an expanding family, because something as basic as a bathtub could be a deal-breaker.

Establish relationship with selling agents
With the number of properties listed for sale currently down, local agents possess a vast amount of knowledge on future properties for sale.

Currently, the supply is low and there are not many properties for sale, so talking to an agent will give you information on what properties are coming up and point you to other listings that best suit you.

Place yourself on the radar of mediators in your area to put you in the best position when new properties for sale become available.

Now go out talk to some agents, get your finances in order and find your new home!

Buying a home during COVID-19

There’s no doubt it’s an unusual time during this global coronavirus pandemic. But, fortunately, we can find some positives in buying property!

Almost everyone suspected that buying a property while in isolation would be almost impossible however, at the end of the day, we all need a place to live. So while some buyers probably wouldn’t have chosen to be looking at purchasing their next home during an unprecedented lockdown, it might not actually be as bad as you might think.

If you’re thinking of buying now, here are some tips how best to approach the situation.

1. Assess your own situation

While the outbreak is one matter, the economic aftershock of the pandemic is another and conditions can change rapidly, both positively and negatively, so you’ll need to take it day by day.

If you find yourself working in an industry that is currently affected or will possibly be affected, then you need to assess the likelihood of continued employment.  If you feel comfortable, or as comfortable as you can be, then now could be a great time to find that dream home.

2.  When it comes to your money,  plan for the worst

It’s impossible to know what the future holds but you can plan for the unexpected by making sure you can access a financial buffer if you need it.  The more money set aside the better, but this isn’t always possible – especially for those working in industries affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns, such as travel and hospitality.

If you’re thinking of taking out a new loan, you should do your best to make sure you’ll be able to service it especially if someone else in the household loses their income.

On a positive note, companies will need to rehire once the pandemic eases and the economy comes back.

The other unusual thing to consider is, the record-low interest rates.

Owning your own home is still the great Australian desire, and as we are seeing at inspections, many owner-occupier buyers are pushing hard to secure their home in the face of the global pandemic.

3. Seek out the best advice

If you have any doubt about anchoring yourself to a long-term relationship with the bank then search for knowledgable experts.

The adjective we’re hearing around this current situation is “unprecedented”, so it’s highly likely you’re going to get a wishy-washy answer. But the more informed you can be, the better decision you’ll make.

I also recommend you only focus on accurate and timely sources as situations in the property market are changing almost daily and what was relevant 4 months ago is not now.

4. Remember, property is for the long term

An important thing to remember is that property is a long term purchase. Experts agree that owning the family home is a great way to ensure long-term financial security, and while markets can dip in the short term, property values will generally increase over the long term.

To be in the best position to buy be pre-approved, confident and informed and don’t be afraid to make an offer.

“Be greedy when others are fearful, and be fearful when others are greedy.”
Warren Buffet