Prepare a wish list.

Make a list of the attributes you most desire in a property, including your ‘must have’ features, such as location, number of bedrooms or parking.

Organise your finance in advance.

Loan pre-approval is a big advantage. Approach your lender or have a mortgage broker visit you to find out how much you’ll be able to borrow and what your repayments will be so you know how much you have to spend.

Organise your lawyer or conveyancer.

Make life easier by having a conveyancer or lawyer that you can engage as soon as you take out a contract on a property.

Additional expenses.

While your lender will identify upfront costs such as mortgage insurance and stamp duty, you should also be aware of other expenses which will factor into your ongoing costs. Maintenance costs, land tax, council rates, home insurance and strata fees (if applicable) should all be investigated so that you know just how much to budget for on top of your mortgage repayments.

Sign up to Property Alert services.

Most agencies and all of the major property search sites such as domain.com.au and realestate.com.au have ‘property alert’ facilities. Simply enter your details and your property requirements and you’ll be emailed as soon as a property meeting your criteria is listed. This helps give you a jump on the market and saves considerable time.

Pest and building inspections.

For the few hundred dollars these will set you back, they are absolutely worth it for your peace of mind. They will help ensure you don’t end up with unknown problems which could be costly down the track.

Pre-settlement inspection.

It is advisable that you organise with your agent to do a pre settlement inspection prior to settlement. This is to ensure that everything agreed upon in the contract is exactly as stated.

The 80/20 Rule.

Remember the 80/20 Rule when searching for your ideal property. Most people want to personalise their new home to suit their requirements. If you find a property that fits 80% of your requirements the other 20% can usually be created. Don’t dismiss a property if it is not “exactly” what you want. Discuss the short comings with your agent as they may be able to offer some worthwhile advice and a solution to your concerns.