10 online resources that every novice buyer should use

10 online resources that every novice buyer should use

Whenever anyone needs to know information, it’s likely they head to the internet first.

For novice investors or first home buyers, it can be daunting to come in with little knowledge and needing to start afresh with your research.

We’re always suggesting searching the web and educating yourself first. But where to start?

Property Observer has compiled 10 websites for new buyers to consider:

  1. FHOG ONLINE

    This is a simple website that is incredible useful for Australian first home buyers. Providing a simple drop down box listing each state and territory, clicking one of these will take you to your location’s relevant government branch in charge of first home owner’s grant. For instance, in Victoria this is the State Revenue Office.

    Each of the websites you are navigated to includes information on grants, how to apply and the concessions that may be available around stamp duty and other costs.

  2. REALESTATEVIEW

    If you’re looking for your first home, you’re no doubt familiar with the “buy” section of many different listing websites. The oft-neglected “sold” section as just as important – there, you can get a more realistic idea of how much your dollar can buy (rather than going by the sometimes optimistic price guides attached to homes on the market).

    There are more than a few listing websites out there, including realestate.com.au, Homely and other state-specific sites.

  3. MONEY SMART

    Run by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Money Smart is a really simple to use site that covers everything to do with your financial health. With informative articles on what to do if you’re struggling with your mortgage, how to invest in shares, and even how to choose travel insurance – it’s basically your handbook to staying financially savvy.

    Their property section isn’t anything to sniff at either. There’s a whole load of information about buying a home and what to expect, as well as investing in property, and you’ll hear from voices you’re likely familiar with already such as Barefoot Investor Scott Pape.

    There’s also tips on spotting a scam, and guides on getting through major life events, such as having a baby.

  4. .ID (THE POPULATION EXPERTS)

    Providing information to many local government bodies across Australia, .id (which stands, appropriately, for Informed Decisions) is a one stop shop for demographic information about the suburb you’re considering, from migration statistics, to who actually lives there, and even economic profiles for each individual area.

    With beautifully presented maps, the latest Census data and forecasts of how the populations are changing, if you want to know about an area, and the areas that will grow, then this is where you should be looking.

  5. MORTGAGE REPAYMENT CALCULATORS

    If you think you’re ready to buy a house just because you’ve saved up a deposit, think again. Once you’ve committed to purchasing a home, you’ll have to make mortgage repayments.

    To get an idea of how much you can expect to pay, most lenders offer calculators where you can input your deposit size, income, household size and monthly expenditure.

  6. DATA PROVIDERS

    To help you in your search, there are multiple data houses that offer free market information, including suburb medians (to give you an indication of what a house in a certain suburb will cost), vacancy rates (to tell you whether the area’s in demand with tenants) and how much previous owners have paid for particular homes.

    Big data providers include the Australian Bureau of Statistics, SQM Research, RP Data and Residex.

  7. REGULATORY BODIES

    State departments of Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs exist to provide you with information about products, businesses, providers and service-people.

    If you’re contracting a builder, using an agent or engaging any third party in the search for your home, it’s not a bad idea to search for their name on a Fair Trading website or the ASIC website. If they’ve done something dodgy enough to warrant a warning to consumers from a regulatory body, you’ll know to steer clear.

  8. PROPERTY CALCULATOR

    Do you want to know rental yields, cash flow, return on investment and a number of other figures quickly, easily and in one place? Property Calculator is the tool for you. It’s simple, a basic layout, and does what it says on the box without any complicated embellishments.

  9. HOUZZ

    If you love design or The Block, or perhaps you’re just looking for some interior inspiration for your new pad, Houzz is the place for you.

    With design ideas from top creative thinkers, articles, and all the lust-worthy property pictures you can imagine, it also offers you the ability to keep things in albums, much like Pinterest.

    You can keep different room styles and storage plans for later reference in your “Ideabooks” as well as ask for advice. It’s all a bit beautiful.

  10. REALAS

    The newly launched app realAs promises to predict the ultimate selling price of homes currently on the market.

    While the young venture still needs some time to prove itself, making 64% of its predictions within 5% of the end sale price isn’t a bad start.

    If the online valuation tool is as accurate as it claims to be, it could end up saving you a lot of time and help you get a better idea of how far you can stretch your budget.

This article was first published on www.propertyobserver.com.au

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