Searching for and securing a property can prove to be a very time consuming and stressful experience, as well as a potentially costly one.

In this regard, the old adage “fail to plan and you plan to fail” is particularly applicable to the property search and buying process.

Fundamental to any successful property search, is the development of relevant search criteria, along with a realistic budget. Not only will this help you to focus your search and reduce the time/stress involved in securing a property, but it will also increase the likelihood of finding the right property for your needs.

Dedicating some additional time up-front to consider the primary purpose and key goals of your property purchase, will assist you with developing and refining relevant search criteria. Further, taking some time to undertake some research into the target areas that you would like to buy into, will help ensure that your budget is realistic or whether further revision/refinement of your search criteria, budget or target areas is required.

Property Search Criteria
Search criteria comprises of the specific requirements of your property search including;

  • Type of property (i.e. house, semi, terrace, apartment)
  • Size of property (i.e. land size, number of bedrooms, bathrooms)
  • Style of property (i.e. Contemporary, Federation)
  • Property features (i.e. pool, parking, lift, gym, concierge)
  • Aspect (i.e. orientation, outlook, views)
  • Layout (i.e. single level, indoor/outdoor flow)
  • Condition of property (i.e. recently renovated, un-renovated)
  • Location

Search criteria will likely be influenced by a range of factors, including;

  • the purpose, objectives and (investment) goals of your purchase;
  • your individual life-style/personal preferences;
  • your individual life-cycle/career stage;
  • the price of (and demand for) properties in the Market you are buying into;
  • how much you are able to spend on a property

Unless you have a limitless budget, it is unlikely that you will be able to find a property that totally meets all your search criteria within your specified budget. In this regard, it is worthwhile considering the relative importance of each of your specific search criteria up-front. At the least, this could just mean separating out the must haves, from the nice to haves, in order to focus your search and help ensure that you don’t lose out on a property.

Considering the Purpose & Objectives of Your Purchase
In refining and rating the relative importance of your search criteria, it is important to consider what the primary purpose and key objectives of your property purchase are.

The primary purpose of a property purchase typically entails whether the property is for you to live in (now or in the future), or whether it is meant purely as an investment.
The key objectives of your purchase may be financially based (i.e. high rental yield or capital growth investment strategies) and/or non-financially based (i.e. related to the satisfaction of other personal lifestyle/life stage related needs and wants
The purpose and objectives of your purchase may require the satisfaction of either short or long term aims, which, in turn, may influence the type of search criteria you select and the relative importance you place on each of them.

Understanding Your Market
Researching the current market for comparable properties in your target areas will help you to determine if you need to either revise your search criteria, or whether you need to consider extending your target area.

This research will ultimately save you time in the long- run, by avoiding wasting time searching for properties that you will not have the budget to secure. It should also improve your chances of not paying too much for a property.

In the case of buying into markets where supply constraints are high it is important to note that average prices for properties may increase markedly over a relatively short period of time. If you are trying to secure a property in a high demand area, it is therefore suggested that you regularly monitor property prices in your target area/s.

Help is at Hand
Based on their up-to-date knowledge of the property market and their understanding of the diverse range of individual buyer search requirements/strategies, a professional Buyers Agent will be able assist you in the development of relevant search criteria and a realistic budget in which to focus your search and ultimately help secure the right property for your needs.


Written by
Matt Drinan
Buyers Associate

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