Prepare a wish list
Make a list of all the attributes you most desire in a property, including your 'must have' features, such as location, number of bedrooms, bathrooms or parking.
Get your finances ready
Loan pre-approval is a big advantage as it will give you more chance of securing a purchase and is an asset when negotiating with vendors. This is especially important if you are bidding at auction as you'll need to have adequate funds in your cheque account to pay the deposit on the night. Approach your lender or have a mortgage broker visit you, to find out how much you'll be able to spend and what your repayments will be. Please let us know if you don't have a mortgage broker and we'll be able to put you in contact with one.
Organise your lawyer or conveyancer
Make life easier by having a conveyancer or lawyer that you can engage as soon as you take out a contract on a property. If you don't know of one, ask your agent you're dealing with - we can recommend a reliable contact.
Consider additional expenses
Whilst your lender will identify upfront costs such as mortgage insurance and stamp duty, you should also be aware of other expenses which will factor into your ongoing costs. Maintenance, land tax, council rates, home insurance and strata fees (if applicable), should all be investigated so that you know exactly how much to budget for in addition to your mortgage repayments.
Do your research
Invest the time in inspecting as many properties as possible. This will give you a better understanding of the market, put you in a better position to negotiate and help you recognise a bargain or an overpriced property. Sources such as realestate.com provide useful comparable price information.
Get a building inspection
Don't get caught with any nasty surprises after your settlement. While a strata, company title or building and pest inspection will cost several hundred dollars, they may save you thousands in the future, while giving you peace of mind. These searches report on the financial and structural situation of an apartment building, or the pest and structural condition of a house.
Visit the property on the day of settlement to be absolutely positive that the property has been left exactly as you had agreed upon in the contract.