It’s no surprise, that roughly nine out of ten prospective buyers use the Internet to help them find their dream home. However, we know that the number of listings on various local property portals can be an overwhelming and daunting place – especially for newcomers to the property market.
But fear not! Here are five steps to maximise your online property search to help you find your dream home…
- Know what you can afford and search within your budget
Before you start with your online property search, you need to know what you can realistically afford. Most online property portals have affordability calculators in place which can be used to determine an estimated home loan amount that you would qualify for. Another best way to determine affordability, is to get pre-approved by getting a pre-qualification certificate from your bank or a bond originator – this certificate is free, comes with no obligations and will not only help you know exactly what you can afford, but can also speed up the buying process for when you do find the right property.
Once you know what your budget is and what bond you qualify for, it will be easier to narrow down your online search according to price-range. This will help filter out properties that are irrelevant to your search. Always ensure you search within your budget, leaving some room to negotiate – in the event of multiple offers or the seller not will to negotiate. This way you will still be able to put in an offer that can secure the property without adding additional financial strain to your pocket.
Not sure what you can afford or simply want to give yourself the best chance of securing your dream home when you find it ? Click here for more details.
- Determine your ideal home
Next to knowing what you can afford, it’s also important to know what you want. Make a list of the must-haves, deal-breakers and non-negotiables that you’re looking for in a property – such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, how important off-street parking is, do you prefer a new property or are you looking for a fixer upper, do you want a garden, should it be free-standing or can it be sectional title, and so on?
Once you have determined the must-haves, you can narrow down your online search even more.
- Find the right neighbourhood
Once you know what you can afford and what your preferred property should look like, it’s time to find the perfect location. It’s important to note that not every neighbourhood is the same – various neighbourhoods cater for different lifestyles and, thus, different buyers. If you’re starting a family, for example, you might want to find a quieter suburb where good schools are located; if you’re still building your career and have no dependents, you might want to live closer to central business district areas. Adding these filters to your search can help weed out those properties that will be a waste of time.
Once you’ve found the ideal property, do another quick inspection of the map to where exactly the property is located in the neighbourhood. Ask yourself a few questions about the location of the property such as: Is it easily accessible from your work or the kids’ school, is it close to amenities like shops, can you easily reach it from major highways etc. All these factors can play a role in potential appreciation in value over time as well as you or your families happiness level.
- Set up alerts
Realistically, you’re not going to find your ideal property in your ideal neighbourhood on your first search. The great thing about online searches, is that you will be able to save your filters and set up email alerts or app-notifications when properties that fit your profile are listed – this way you can ensure you’re the first to know when the a potential property becomes available.
- Get in touch with your agent
Online property portals will have enticing video tours and beautiful imagery with descriptions that help give a buyer an idea of what the property looks like inside and out. There is still only so much that a photo or video can convey. However viewing a property that you've found online will give you a better feel of the home and the neighbourhood and can help clear up any uncertainties you might have. Get in touch with your agent to find out more about the property you love and perhaps consider scheduling a viewing at a later stage once the lockdown period has been lifted.