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Buying Your First Home

June 24th 2014

In the past eighteen months, many first home buyers have missed out on purchasing as already established investors have seized the ideal market conditions to increase their property portfolios. First home buyers can, however, still break into the market by considering the property features that are in high demand by investors.

Essentially both investors and first home buyers seek affordability, although investors are generally looking for a specific type of property and therein is the opportunity for first time buyers. First home buyers should consider areas where prices are comfortably below the median with more modest levels of growth as investors seeking capital gains from renovations look to avoid over-capitalising in these areas. First time buyers should also be looking in areas where rental amounts and vacancies are sustainable.

With interest rates at record lows and banks well placed to provide funding, it’s an ideal time for first home buyers to join the property market.

We have compiled a few tips to help get you started:

Know what your financial position is
The first step is to have a clear picture of your current financial situation. You will need at least a 20% deposit to avoid paying mortgage insurance as well as meeting a number of requirements set by the bank. There are different types of loans to consider as well as property valuation, stamp duty, legal fees, council rates and more.

Familiarise yourself with the market
Get in touch with the latest trends in the property market. As a first home buyer it’s important to learn as much as you can about the economic indicators and projections. Keep an eye on property reports in the paper, on the REIV website and the Fletchers Forum.

Choose your location
As a first time buyer you will primarily be driven by a budget. It’s important to know what you can afford and weigh up what’s important to you. You may only be able to afford a two bedroom apartment in your dream suburb but a three bedroom home with a backyard not far away. Get a clear idea of what you can afford and then develop a list of criteria to use when searching for a home.

Attend open for inspections
When you go to open for inspections, make sure you take time to speak to the real estate agent. They have a wealth of knowledge about the property market and the area you are looking to buy in and can give really useful advice. When you find a property you like, go back and inspect it a couple of times to get a more accurate impression. Take note of any structural issues like sloping floors or cracked walls and listen for noise and traffic levels.

If you are thinking of purchasing your first home or would just like to have a chat about the property market, please get in touch with one of our highly experienced agents today.

Selling your home in winter

May 29th 2014

The response to selling your home in winter might not be as cold as you think.

It’s a common belief amongst property owners that winter is not an ideal time to sell because it’s cold, wet and the home and garden aren’t always looking at their best. Thankfully however, this belief is certainly not shared with prospective buyers.

Traditionally there tends to be fewer properties on the market in winter than the peak seasons of autumn and spring, but the same general level of buyer demand. The past twelve months in particular have seen a staggering influx of buyers in the market who are still keen to find their dream home, regardless of the weather.

These conditions will often lead to positive results for home owners who decide to put their properties on the market in winter. In 2013, the winter auction clearance rate reported by RP Data was 67.9 per cent, higher than the 66.6 per cent rate for the non-winter months. With less supply of houses, demand amongst potential purchasers is intensified, often pushing the sale price above reserve. Furthermore, the length of time that a property is on the market is often considerably less than at peak times of the year.

With the cash rate at a 57 year low and financial conditions accommodative, banks are well-placed to provide funding and qualified buyers are ready to purchase!

If you are considering selling your home or would like to discuss the market this winter, please contact one of our highly experienced agents today.

Handy tips for selling in winter

1. If you have a fireplace, go ahead a light a fire to give your home a cosy feel.

2. Give each room a warm touch. Have a throw draped on the back of a chair and a quilt at the end of the bed.

3. Remember to keep the front doorway clean. With the rainy weather, people can easily track mud inside.

4. Try and make your home look as bright as possible by making the most of your interior lighting.

5. Rake up the remaining autumn leaves and keep your garden looking as nice as possible.

 

Choosing the right suburb to live in

May 7th 2014

One of the great things about Melbourne is the diversity and uniqueness of each suburb. Whether you are renting or buying, it’s worth the time to research the suburb you are considering to ensure it meets your needs and you will fit in well with the community.

We’ve complied a few tips to help you choose the best suburb for your needs.

Do your research

The best advice we can give you is to seek some sound financial advice before you start looking; that way you will know your budget and can start looking in an affordable area. You should know the general area well and be able to easily identify where the nearest ammenitites and police station are located. This kind of information can be found on local council and the Victoria Police website.

Profile your ideal neighborhood

The suburb you choose to live in should reflect your lifestyle. We don’t recommend you fall in love with a dream home if the surrounding area doesn’t meet any of your needs. Create a lifestyle checklist and make sure the property ticks all the boxes before you buy. Consider the following:

 - What kind of lifestyle do you lead? If you have children or are planning on having them then your needs will be different to people without children

 - What type of home would you like to live in? Take a look at the type of homes in the area. Are they mostly apartments or houses with big backyards?

- What is the school zoning and are there good schools in the area? Even if you don’t have children, desirable school zoning can have an impact on property prices

- Consider the commute. Is public transport, proximity of major roads and parking adequate?

- Are the nearby ammenities adequate? You should consider the shopping centres, doctors’ clinics and sporting facilities and parks in close proximity

- If you’re sociable, you may like to be surrounded by good cafes and restaurants

- It’s worth thinking about what you don’t want in your neighborhood as well. If you aren’t a fan of late-night noise then stay away from areas with universities or nightclubs nearby.

Think strategically

Before you buy, it’s important to establish your long-term goals. Consider how long you are planning to reside in the house. If it is only short-term, look at suburbs that are likely to yeild a considerable return when you sell. These surbs will generally have a steady appreciation in median house prices over a prelonged period of time. The Real Estate Institive of Victoria releases updated median house prices each quarter.

If you are planning to live in the area long-term, look at suburbs that will meet your predicable future needs. For example, a growing family will need nearby primary and secondary schools as well as sporting facilities and public transport.

Take a look at median house prices

When you research the market, you might be surprised by the suburbs that are performing well. In the last 12 months the eastern suburbs of Melbourne have experienced a considerable appreciation in house values.

In the end, the most important thing is that the property and suburb you choose meet most of your needs and will make you feel at home; if you can visit the area to get a feel for it all the better, and reinforce your decision with sound financial advice.

For more information on how to choose the right suburb to live in check out:

Fletchers Suburb Guide

How to tell a suburb is right- REA

 

 

Tips for Moving House

February 17th 2014

Top Tips for Moving Home

Five handy hints for a stress free relocation…

Whether you’ve bought a new home or are renting though, the process of moving can be a stressful, laborious task, and unfortunately there is no magic wand that can just miraculously take care of everything for you. But it is possible to reduce the amount of stress and bother that moving house can cause. With these helpful moving tips from Fletchers, you can enjoy a smooth and hassle-free relocation. 

1) Plan and prepare early
Remember in school when you’d have six weeks to get an important assignment completed, but you’d leave it to the last minute and feel completely stressed out because of it? Well multiply that feeling by 100 and that’s exactly what you’ll feel if you start planning your move and packing up your house too late in the game. Start planning as early as possible, perhaps 4-6 weeks before your move, and give yourself enough time to get everything done right.

2) Checklists are invaluable!
Use a checklist to plan your move – it’ll make life a lot easier. You’ll be able to keep track of everything you’ve done, everything you still need to do, and you’ll feel a small sense of achievement with every job you cross off the list. Divide the tasks you need to complete into several groups, so you’re completing some 4-6 weeks ahead of moving day, then the next group perhaps 1-3 weeks before, then another set of tasks days before the move and the final group on moving day and the days that follow.

Taking this systematic approach to your move will ensure nothing is left behind and everything is accounted for. Leading Melbourne removalists Fragile Removals feature a comprehensive moving checklist on their website.

3) Protect your possessions from damage
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. If you’re packing up fragile items or valuable possessions for your move, make sure to wrap each one up separately. Use as much bubble wrap packaging as you think is necessary. If you’re putting anything in boxes or cartons, be sure to line them with blankets or packing paper. This will help to absorb the shock experienced while travelling on the roads. Ensure all sides of your boxes are secured with as much heavy duty packing tape as you believe to be needed. And probably the most obvious tip of all, make sure any boxes containing fragile items are clearly labelled FRAGILE.

4) Furniture & appliances
Furniture and electrical appliances are typically one of the most cumbersome and awkward parts of the relocation process, but there are some tips to make life a little easier.

- Make sure you securely shut any doors on wardrobes or cupboards with tape, rope or strong ribbon. Lock the doors as well if possible.
- Remove any shelving or drawers from cupboards and any bedroom units.
- Lighten the weight of your wardrobe or dresser by taking the clothing out.
- Dry and clean out any fridges, freezers, dishwashers and any other electrical appliances before packing them up.

5) Final tips
Be sure to have any mail redirected to your new address with Australia Post. Once you’ve moved into your new place, find out the basic day to day things like rubbish collection day and the on-street parking situation (i.e. whether you need a parking permit, or whether no permit is required) among other things. And have a contingency plan in place for bad weather. You’ll be surprised just how the weather can affect your plans. 

These tips barely scratch the surface when it comes to moving house, but they will help make the entire process that much easier. For more detailed relocation hints, get in touch with Fragile Removals & Fletchers today.