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What to consider when buying a property

When it comes to buying property, we’ve all heard the mantra ‘location location location’. But specifically what should you consider when buying a home or investment property?

“Purchasing property is very subjective, as each property is different from the other, and buyers have different requirements and preferences,” says Aaron Maskrey, director of research with real estate group PRDnationwide.

“As such, there are no set criteria for buyers when they purchase property. However, common guidelines exist for investors looking to maximise potential capital growth gains when it is time to resell. Guidelines vary, but there are a number of rules of thumb.”

 

Key considerations for buying property:

  • Not on a main road
  • Corner block preferable
  • North facing
  • Proximity to reliable public transportation
  • Proximity to main arterial roads/highways
  • Do the neighbours face the property?
  • View/aspect
  • Council easements, flood lines, overland flow, fire?
  • Proximity to schools, shops, hospitals

 

With increasingly congested roads and rising fuel costs, being close to public transport is, more than ever, a major requirement for homebuyers. This is borne out by PRDnationwide research which shows that 57% consider public transport is the most important amenity to have nearby when purchasing a property.

“A reliable train, bus or ferry terminal nearby can add thousands to the purchase price and create greater competition for the property,” says Maskrey.

 

The survey also found 16% considered a supermarket was paramount, while 12% felt a cafe or restaurant was most important to have close by. Only 8% of respondents wanted a school in close proximity.

“People are choosing a property based on how it fits into their lifestyle – not just how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has,” Maskrey adds. “Seeking out good amenity is a priority for many house hunters – including first home buyers.

“Buyers crave convenience.”

 

Conversely, the biggest deterrents for home hunters are:

  • Termite damage
  • Cracks in the foundations
  • Asbestos building materials
  • Leaking swimming pools

 

“Significant termite damage may require demolition of a significant part of the home, which would be extremely costly,” says PRDnationwide managing director Tony Brasier.

“Termites are so aggressive they could cause hundreds of thousands of dollars damage to property in only months and a lot of prospective buyers are very wary.”

Even though asbestos is widely recognised as a hazardous material, its removal can be very expensive. Identifying these major building faults is best not left to after the purchase is finalised, Brasier warns.

“Carrying out building and pest inspections is essential,” he says. “Often purchasing a home is a decision made with the heart – but to avoid heartbreak these issues need to be evaluated before rushing in to purchasing.”

 

When house hunting, it’s vital to do your homework and, as Tony Brasier suggests, getting pest and building inspections. And it’s important that you and the professionals don’t forget to inspect:

  • Timber floors for rot, mould, borer and termites / evidence of existing or past pest activity
  • The condition of roofs, guttering, flues, chimneys and flashings (and check eaves for water staining that may reveal roof or gutter issues)
  • All living spaces, bedrooms, bathrooms, showers and laundries for evidence of rising damp or mildew
  • Garages and sheds for water penetration
  • Underfloor areas for ventilation
  • Weatherboards for sagging or rot
  • Exterior walls for straightness, cracks and mortar quality
  • Concrete floors for exposed perimeters, cracks and water penetration
  • Services such as plumbing (water flow), gas service and electrics (particularly switches and power points)
  • Nearby trees for possible structural damage caused by roots

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Lisa Llewellyn

Lisa started her working life as a property and financial journalist, working for media outlets including BRW, Radio 3AW and Australian Investment magazine. She turned her hand to PR and opened a boutique PR consultancy in 2001.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.