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3 property research mistakes you need to avoid

By Cindy Cash

Research is the backbone of any effective purchase of real estate in Australia. Or anywhere for that matter. Without it, you’re essentially buying yourself a lotto ticket, with your fingers, toes and any other available limbs crossed, hoping that you’ve made the right decision.

The property market can be profitable provided you put your eggs in the right basket, but if you make a slip-up, you could end up with egg on your face.

For instance, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission uses the example of Gold Coast units. Property developers were encouraging people to invest in them, as they had shown solid growth for seven years straight. The prices then fell by almost 18 per cent between February 2008 and March 2013. That’s a lot of smashed eggs!

The market for homes for sale in the Gold Coast has since rebounded positively, but nevertheless, this case highlights the need to do your proper research. Here are a few mistakes you need to avoid when looking at property for sale.

Asking the wrong questions

Buying your first home is a very exciting time, and as such, it’s quite common for people to rush into a deal without doing the right research. Especially in the current conditions, as CoreLogic found that homes in our capital cities have been selling in near-record times – as little as 16 days in select suburbs.

If you’ve found a home that you’ve taken a fancy to, before you make any commitments, we recommend seeking the answer to a number of questions, including:

  • What is the median price for the suburb?
  • How much have recently sold homes in the area gone for?
  • What are the recent auction results?
  • Are there any developments in the pipeline that could impact the property, like new roads, amenities or schools?
  • What are the neighbours like?
  • Has the home had any unauthorised extensions or renovations (these could become your responsibility in the future)?

Regardless of how good the property looks on the face of things, it’s impossible to understand the full picture until you start digging deep into the details. As an added benefit, doing your due diligence can equip you with added bargaining power when it comes to negotiations.

Doing too much research

Now, we appear to be contradicting ourselves, don’t we? Essentially, it’s all about finding the balance between the two. Not enough research and you could live to regret your purchase, too much and you will be disabled by a commonly used term in the property industry, ‘analysis paralysis’.

This is where the sheer amount of information swirling around your ahead results in a profound paranoia that you can’t possibly make the right decision, as you are only focused on the risks rather than comparing them with the benefits.

To avoid the home of your dreams being snapped up right under your nose, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia suggests creating a checklist of all the features you want, while adhering to a concise research plan.

This has the potential to narrow your search through homes for sale, while helping you act with confidence, as you’ll know it’s the one if it ticks all the boxes.

Using untrustworthy sources

Market reports, blogs from experts in the industry, and interest rate announcements, among other things, can all be instantly accessed via the internet.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were almost 12.7 million separate internet subscriptions in our country at the end of December 2014. This accentuates the increasingly digital world we live in. While it is an exciting time, it pays to be wary of false sources as they are prevalent in cyber space.

With this in mind, it is critical that you verify the source of your information is authentic. An easy way of making sure the knowledge in front of your eyes is in fact legitimate is just to compare it with other authoritative sources.

While finding your ideal property for sale via the internet can be easy, nothing beats hitting the road and viewing it for yourself!

Peter Chidgey, Ray White Windsor | Kurrajong | North Richmond

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