1. Know their budget
For most buyers, their budget dictates which areas they can afford to live or invest in. “The best way to determine their budget is to meet with a mortgage broker or lender and obtain a preapproval,” says Lisa Parker, buyers advocate from Parker Investment Properties.
“Knowing their budget is a must before they begin their search.”
2. Narrow down their options
With their budget locked down, they’re in a position to choose from a short-listed number of suburbs where they can purchase their desired property within their price range.
Parker suggests they save themselves some time by ringing agents in the area. “Ask what they can buy in their suburb within that price range, and if they can’t buy what they are looking for, ask which suburbs nearby will offer the type of property they want in their budget,” she advises.
3. Map the suburb
Most suburbs have preferred pockets. To best understand the suburb they’re exploring, take a map down to the local estate agent’s office and ask them to map out with a highlighter the different ‘pockets’ in order of popularity.
In time, the suburb as a whole will gain in value and the less sought after pockets will become more popular, as the preferred pockets rise rapidly in price – but if they can get into a better pocket up front, they should enjoy faster capital growth.
4. Explore neighbouring suburbs
Neighbouring suburbs offer great options for homebuyers and investors. For example, if buyers go to their favoured suburb and find that they can’t get the type of property they want in their budget, they could move to either side of that suburb until they find one that suits their budget and offers the qualities and features they’re seeking.
5. Follow the infrastructure
“Infrastructure drives property prices, which is why experienced investors follow infrastructure trends,” Parker says. She suggests that they look at where the government is upgrading infrastructure, as it is a sure sign of an up-and-coming ‘hotspot’.
6. Isolate lifestyle attractions
Areas that offer lifestyle attractions are favoured by buyers and renters when compared with other suburbs that offer fewer amenities. “Walking tracks, large family parks and bushland, creeks, beaches and small community villages all offer unique points of difference,” Parker says.
7. Water and city views rule
Enjoying water or CBD views is a major plus for any suburb.
8. Hang where the locals hang
“When investigating a new area, ask the agent why people like living here,” Parker advises. “Then pop down to the suburb’s most popular spots, whether that’s a local family-friendly picnic area or coffee spot, and observe the type of atmosphere and people who are there.”
9. Transport is important
Regardless of whether they live in the inner city or outer areas, transport is important. “The more transport options available in a suburb, the more valuable the suburb will become over time,” Parker says. “Easy access to major roads and freeways is a major plus for outer suburbs, because the easier it is to travel to the CBD or other major employment hubs, the better the suburb will be for most buyers.”
10. Don’t listen to the naysayers
“There are many suburbs across every state that locals will caution against buying in. But sometimes having a fresh set of eyes without knowing about a suburb’s ‘stigma’ can work in their favour, because they’re looking at the suburb based on the fundamental merits that make a suburb valuable,” Parker explains.
“Stigmas will always be forgotten in time – and they will be pleased they bought into the suburb while it was still cheap.”
For investor clients, finding the right location is critical to ensure strong capital growth. As a broker, you may not be able to advise clients on specific locations or properties, but here are some general tips that could give your clients a jump-start on where to begin looking.