Flowers are blooming, hayfever has returned and many real estate agents are listing properties at fever pitch.

There is no doubt that Spring is the season many vendors preparing for all year; see Selling your home in South Australia? Good home staging starts in your garden in Autumn.

So how can home buyers avoid the heady mixture of warmer temperatures and a burst of new home listings?

It seems the best advice boils down to smelling lots of flowers to make sure you pluck the right one.

Getting the lie of the land

Everybody in the real estate sector agrees that you are foolish to consider buying property without looking at the sale prices of similar properties in your target suburb.

Just going by the asking price is not enough because vendors can almost ask anything they like; what matters is the final selling price and this can quite often differ greatly to the original asking price.

Notice how I mentioned ‘target suburb’? Your job is going to be a lot easier if you can narrow down a selected suburb or two.

You can choose a target suburb by first listing all the important factors like proximity to schools, shops and transport, beach, hills, city, etc, and using these factors to rank and compare different locations.

A narrow focus will help you become an expert quicker, especially if you invest time visiting open inspections and listening to conversations.

Secure your gold

It will be an enormous boost to your confidence, bargaining power and options, if you take the time to get pre-approved finance.

Most lenders offer conditional pre-approval.

This takes your assets and capacity to pay into account and gives you an upper limit you can borrow.

When you find the property you like, the lender can then do the final checks and approve your loan.

Of course, your loan might still be refused but it is much less likely, and the loan application is faster, if you’ve received a pre-approval.

Choose your team

Depending on the type of property you choose, you might be in a very competitive situation and need to act quickly.

Having a few trusted advisors around you can give you the edge.

Firstly, of course, establishing a relationship with your conveyancer before house hunting will mean you have someone to turn to quickly to guide you when it’s time to enter into a contract.

A stable lender is also important to give you confidence that you will have funding available.

And a trusted financial advisor and/or Accountant can be a great asset, to help you choose wisely and understand the type of investment you are making; family home, lifestyle, income, etc.

Think before your Spring into action

Some final thoughts to ponder as you consider your options and begin your work of narrowing down the field.

  • Low interest rates now are great, but loans are typically over 25-30 years, so be sure you will be able to cope when rates likely rise again
  • Connect with a local agent (or three) in your target suburb(s) so they can let you know of properties before listing
  • Discuss with your conveyancer, the dos and don’ts of conditions you should or should not put on a contract
  • Visit a property more than once
  • Consider a Building or Pest Inspection during cooling off
  • Get any verbal conditions or promises captured in writing
  • Remember, the agent is working for the vendor, to achieve the highest price possible