A house hunt can be extremely fun or down right frustrating depending on your target area and budget. It’s easy to get caught up in the process and fall in love with the ‘perfect’ home forgetting to do your due-diligence. Follow these 5 must-do tips to make buying your new home just that much easier!

Scout out the competition

When looking for a new home, it’s all too easy to trawl through hundreds of home listings on popular realestate websites without even getting out of your pyjamas. It’s important to see as much as possible in the flesh to really get an understanding for what’s out there and what the properties that interest you are really worth.

By doing this you begin to understand the local market and limit the possibility of falling for the first home you look through. Become a seasoned realestate hunter, scout out your dream areas and list your ‘must have’s’, desirables and what you could live without. If you find yourself considering a home lacking something on the must-have list, move it to a desirable or scratch it altogether!

Get the home valued

In many cases, a bank will want to conduct a valuation on your property before issuing finance. While this valuation is great, you are often not privy to the outcome and they are usually modest in order to protect their best interests.

If you are looking at a new home and the time to do your research is available, consider contracting a professional property valuer to give you an idea of what the home is really worth. This will arm you with valuable information when approaching an auction situation or even if you’re just looking to negotiate. A professional valuer should be able to provide you with a report and written explanation on how they reached their valuation.

Visit morning, noon & night

Down to making the final decision from your shortlist of perfect candidates? Visit the property at different times of the day to get a better feel for the neighbours, street, suburb, traffic and so on. Visiting once or twice at strategically timed open homes just might not show the true colours of the property. Is the street used as a rat-run in peak times? Does the fried chicken shop one street over blow through the windows at dinner time? Do the neighbours parade around the garden sans pants? These are things you might be able to pickup when collecting recon information by visiting outside of the normal scheduled times, which may help sway your decision.

Inspect it again and again

Unless you’re an experienced builder, chances are you won’t recognise any building or structural issues that may be evident in the home (or not evident). That’s why it is always smart to get the home inspected by a licensed building inspector and pest inspector. They can uncover issues from termites to dodgy electrical and can help you avoid imminent catastrophe.

Better still, bring in an electrician, plumber and a builder individually! It’s always good to have a few tradie mates… Call in a favour or two and have them accompany you to an open home or private inspection. They may not provide you with the full written report, but they will offer you a frank, on the spot assessment which may be more valuable than the standardised report template otherwise on offer.

Your bank may require the official building inspection documentation, but for your own piece of mind, an experienced friend to help you look at the home logically and not get caught up in the romance of the property is invaluable.

What do you need to know? If it’s going to fall down. If it’s got shoddy electrical. If it needs a new roof. If the previous owner has been experimenting with his or her own plumbing and if there is any evidence of pest infestations.

Be on top of the law

Don’t forget about your conveyancer or solicitor. There’s a lot of legal requirements when buying and selling your home and you don’t want to be caught short without proper representation. If you are selling, you may already have a firm you are working with, but coming in as a new home buyer you need to be prepared.

Make sure you get your solicitor to conduct all the recommended searches on the property so you don’t come across any surprises in a few years time. Title searches are a minimum standard, this will let you know of any encumbrances over the property such as mortgages or easements. You may also be able to conduct a few searches yourself through your local council website. The Brisbane City Council makes property information such as development applications, property overlays and flood maps available free through their website.

Other searches which your solicitor may be able to perform for you could help uncover transport corridors, future surrounding developments that could impact the property, air traffic issues and so on. Make sure your solicitor provides you all the information before your building and pest conditions have been satisfied. Further, if you have concerns or are dubious in any way, make these specific searches conditions on the sale contract.