Apps to help you find the perfect property
When you're looking for the perfect property, a little information can go a long way. You want to be sure you're making the best, informed decisions with more confidence, and that you're across the insights that might just give you the edge over competing buyers.
But with so many websites, apps and tools out there, where should you start? We've rounded up some of the best calculators, sourced some useful apps, and asked the Editor of Domain, Antony Lawes what he recommends.
Help with all the number-crunching
Before you start looking for the perfect property, it's essential you know exactly how much you can spend.
To find out how much you can borrow, use this simple home loan calculator. It will also project how quickly you can pay down the loan principal based on different variables. Make sure you feel comfortable with the loan repayments based on your monthly spending patterns – if you're not sure what they are, a budget calculator can help.
You'll need a healthy home deposit – preferably at least 20 per cent to avoid paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance. This savings plan calculator will show you how quickly a regular payment into a high interest account can add up.
Don't forget to factor in the extra costs of buying a home – such as stamp duty, inspection reports, conveyancing and any urgent repairs you may need to make before moving in. This stamp duty calculator makes it easier to work out how much you'll be up for in your state.
Once you're comfortable with all these details, it's worth getting pre-approval for your loan. In a competitive market, you want to be confident you can make the right move, fast.
Knowledge is power
Now you have all your finances in order, the fun of the search can begin. First, narrow down where you can afford to buy – this Australian suburbs median price guide will help, whether it's your first home or an investment property.
Once you start looking at houses, you will want to know its 'true' value.
"One of the most important things for buyers is to get an independent price estimate," says Domain Editor Antony Lawes. "Asking an agent for their price guide can be useful at the beginning, but you also need a solid price analysis of the home you're interested in."
Domain has a nationwide home price guide tool, a valuable source of independent data on property prices.
Domain has just launched its nationwide home price guide tool, a valuable source of independent data on property prices. Type in any address, anywhere in Australia, and it will tell you what the home last sold for, what its estimated price range is now, what it could potentially rent for and what the rental yield would be.
The data is drawn from Domain's APM PriceFinder, Valuer General information and auction results.
"This can help you decide if it's worth spending money on a building inspection, and give you more confidence if you want to bid at auction or negotiate a private treaty sale," says Lawes.
He says another useful tool for families within this site is the School Zones Guide. "Plug in the address of a property and it will tell you the local schools and catchment area. This is often a big motivator for moving." The suburb profile view also provides some valuable data.
Lawes also advises keeping an eye on clearance rates, whether you're buying or selling.
"We find they are quite an accurate way of gauging how the market is tracking. 80 per cent is considered a 'boom time' figure, 70 to 80 per cent is still strong. If clearance rates are high, it tends to correlate with price rises because there is fierce competition."
He also says estate agents are a good starting point for market insights. "The good ones understand the local area and will want to keep you informed. But you should also refer to more independent sources to back up your findings."
Real estate agents, property listing websites and major banks all use CoreLogic's comprehensive property database – and that independent data is also now available to home buyers through Property Value. While some tools are only available by subscription, you can use its data to get a snapshot of the suburb profile, and make comparisons of suburbs, properties and even residential investment strategies – with pros and cons for each option.
It's just another useful tool to help you make a more informed decision when you're looking for your next property.
More house-hunting apps
- Around me – work out what's nearby in the neighbourhood including cafes, cinemas and banks
- RealAs – claims to predict property prices within 5% accuracy.
It's certainly never been easier to gather all the information you need on your property search. Save time, stay one step ahead and make more confident decisions – the answers are all at your fingertips.
We're here to help
Our experienced team of home loan specialists are available to help you make the right home loan decision for your situation. Call us on 13 62 27.