Its My Home : 2017
23 IT’S MY HOME IT’S MY HOME B uying a property is a large financial investment and, if you’re planning to occupy it, a place where you will spend lots of time. As such, choosing the right property is a big decision which should not be taken lightly. It’s important to strike the right balance between making a sound financial decision and purchasing a home that fulfills your individual lifestyle needs. Making a successful property investment involves more than just compiling a list of dream features and investing in the first property you see. A good investment involves a carefully thought out strategy and considered property search. How to choose a PROPERTY 22 THE PROPERTY SEARCHING PROCESS It might seem like common sense, but engaging in a well-informed property searching process is key to securing a profitable long-term investment. While it can be enticing to jump into the first property you view, investing time into researching and viewing a range of potential investments can give you a better idea of what represents good value. It can also render better financial returns later on down the line and save you from settling for a less than perfect investment. ➤ STRATEGISE The first step towards making a successful investment is setting a clear goal of what you would like to achieve through your purchase. For example, are you investing for rental growth or capital gain? If you are investing for rental growth, you might consider purchasing in properties in outer city suburbs, where prices are more affordable and the rental yield is higher. By contrast, if you are investing for capital gain, you might invest in inner-city properties, which are more likely to hold their value over the long- term. Once you have settled on your goal, you should identify the key aspects your property should have. Is a house or a unit in more demand in this particular area? How many bedrooms do most people want and is parking essential? Having a clearly defined goal will help give you more focus and knowledge in what to work towards. ➤MAPITOUT Before attending any open homes, draw up a plan of all the properties you want to see on a given day. This will help ensure the most efficient use of your time and save you from spending half your day in the car. For instance, if you have ten properties to see between 9am and 1pm, that leaves around 15-20 minutes per property. The more properties you see, the less time you have to spend in each one and so you don’t want to waste time looking at properties which are not suitable for you. When you do see a property that hits the mark, you then need to look at it from all angles to double check you haven’t missed anything important that could detract from its value. ➤ RESEARCH It’s worthwhile to consider reviewing current market research about the area you’re looking to invest in, since this can help you assess the future vitality of your investment. While you can pay for market research, the real estate websites and your local council can usually provide area demographic statistics and information on potential developments. Of course, as a website can’t give you a true feel of the area, it’s essential to spend lots of time walking around any prospective neighbourhoods you are considering to determine their suitability. ➤ AGENT RELATIONSHIPS When looking for any property, it’s well worth spending some time talking to agents in the area. Even if you decide not to invest in their particular property, agents are great business contacts who can alert you to new properties before they hit the market. Talking with the real estate agent at an open home can also be a great opportunity to find out extra information about the property. Find out where the current owners are going, their reason for selling and any other information you can gather. For instance, the vendor might have purchased another property and be more open to a faster sale at a more affordable price. Alternatively, they might not have purchased another property and prefer a longer settlement period or the ability to rent the property themselves for a while until they do find something. ➤ COMPARE LIKE WITH LIKE When searching for a property, many buyers have a particular suburb in mind and don’t like to deviate from this area. While it’s great to have a clear picture of your ideal suburb, it’s best to keep your options open and compare a couple of different ones. You might be able to afford a two bed in one suburb but a three bed in another. Keep track of all the properties you view using a checklist. In this edition of It’s My Home, Genworth has created a very comprehensive checklist (on page 20) that will allow you to note down key aspects - the number of bedrooms, garage, price range, size, aspect etc. This will help you make a well-considered purchase decision as it can be very confusing when you’ve seen 50 or 100 of them as they all blend into one. ➤➤ Pictures:Shutterstock.