5 tips to help you find your next home
How to choose and move into the right property when it's time to find a new home.
Moving home often signals a new phase in life. You might be considering a move interstate or overseas for work, or to pursue love. Maybe you’re moving to be closer to family – or up-sizing so you can start your own family. Perhaps you just want a sea change and to settle somewhere with greener grass.
There is a range of emotions you might be feeling about your upcoming move. You could be excited, nervous or feeling quite stressed depending on the reason for your move. But regardless of your circumstances, you can make the whole process smoother and more enjoyable by getting organised and doing some planning in the months leading up to your move.
1. Map the area
The first thing you’ll want to do when finding somewhere new to live is to figure out which suburbs you’ll be happy in. Look on a map and figure out which neighbourhoods and areas will suit your day to day needs for transport to and from work as well as local amenities and facilities like grocery shops, schools, gyms and so on. Make sure you’re looking in areas that best suit your lifestyle.
If your potential new neighbourhood is in an area that you can easily visit, it might be a good idea to do a drive or walk around the suburb to check out whether it feels right for you.
2. Draw up a budget
It sounds obvious to say that you’ll need to make sure you can afford the bills and rent or mortgage payments (depending on whether you’re renting or buying) on a new place. But this can be an important exercise to have gone through before you start looking at property ads and start falling in love with houses or apartments that are just ever so slightly out of your ideal budget range. An extra few dollars per month might not sound like a lot when you look at it at first, but those monthly payments add up over time and could have a considerable impact on your overall financial position.
Think about how much you want to be paying per month for accommodation and other household bills, and what the absolute maximum amount you can stretch to is; and then try to stick to that budget no matter how great a property looks in the advertisement.
3. Get the right tools
Most real estate agents tend to advertise online and via real estate websites and apps these days. Flicking through a newspaper might still be a satisfying way to browse properties for sale on a Sunday morning. But for many people, downloading a popular listing app like realestate.com.au or Domain is a great starting point.
These apps typically allow users to set up automated searches that take variables like location, size and price into account. They can also help with creating shortlists of your favourite properties and managing inspection time schedules and sales enquiries or tenancy applications.
4. Reach out for help
While real estate websites and apps can be a great way to find properties and search for a new home that ticks all the right boxes for you, don’t underestimate the power of chatting to a real estate agent directly to ask for help with your search.
Think about dropping into the office of your local estate agent or giving them a phone call or polite email to let them know a bit about yourself and what you’re looking for in your next property. Remember that they do spend their entire workdays liaising with property owners and tenants so they usually have a pretty good idea of all of the properties that their agency has on the market at any given time and might be willing to give you a heads up when they have something coming up that might be a good fit for you.
5. Be prepared
Once you’ve found your ideal new home, there’ll be a fair amount of administrative work that you’ll need to do to get your lease agreement or sale contracts completed. These will typically include things like credit checks, details of your current employment, proof of identity and so on.
Make the whole process just that little bit easier for yourself, and curate all the documents you need for your rental application or mortgage appointment as soon as you can, so you don’t have to rush to find things under a tight deadline.
Make sure to scan or take clear photos of everything you need so it’s easy to share your paperwork with the broker or real estate agent easily and quickly when you need to. And if you need official copies of any documents, or need them witnessed and signed by a Justice of the Peace or another official representative, make sure you’ve got it all sorted before you need it because these things can typically be time-consuming – especially when you need to fit them into your busy day-to-day schedule.
With a bit of forward-thinking and planning you’ll find your next dream home in no time, and you’ll be ready to start the process of packing and moving to start fresh in a new location.