Looking for a New Home: Where to Start?


Buying a new home is not a decision to take lightly. In fact, it will most probably be the biggest purchase you will make in your life, so you want to be as prepared as you can be. But with so many houses on the market, where do you even begin?

Talk to the Experts

Before you are even ready to purchase you can start to speak to real estate agents to see what properties they have on their books. Be as specific as possible about what you are looking for as this will help save time for both you and them. The reason it is good to speak to real estate agents rather than just relying on the listings is that sometimes properties are sold before even being advertised.

Finances First

Before looking at any properties make sure you get financial advice first. Crunch the numbers and work out exactly what you can afford upfront. There is no point looking at houses that end up being out of your league as you will just end up broken hearted and disappointed in the houses that are for sale within your budget.

Speak to your bank manager or a mortgage broker to see what kind of financial backing you will be offered and don’t look at any places that are selling far above that price. You may be able to negotiate a house that is close to the budget, but don’t assume this is guaranteed as a lot of offers are turned away by sellers.

Where to Next?

Next, decide on an area or a suburb. Have a think about whether you are willing to compromise on this suburb and look elsewhere – you may end up finding the perfect home in an area you hadn’t considered before.

Once you know where you are planning on buying you can start to research the prices of houses that have sold in that area recently. Your real estate agent will be able to help you with this.

Knowing recent sale prices will prepare you for negotiations and will tell you realistically if this area is within your budget and what you should be paying for homes there.

Careful What You Wish For

Next, draw up a wish list of the features you would like in a home. How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathrooms would you ideally like? Be as specific as you want but be prepared to compromise on some of the features, as it would be rare to find a home that checks every single box.

The reason for doing your wish list is to work out what features are really important to you and what you are willing to compromise on. By prioritising the list you will be able to see straight away what features are vital in your new home.

Keep Your Dreams Handy

It is also helpful to have this list handy while you are looking at the new home listings, as you can cross anything off the inspection list that doesn’t meet the important requirements. There is no point spending your Saturday looking at a house if it doesn’t have enough bedrooms to fit your family.

When you do go to the open house inspections, remember to take your time. You can’t make a decision within 5 minutes so look around for a while and imagine your family living there. Once you have found ‘the one’, speak to your real estate agents to the area about putting in an offer.