Knowing what you want in a property before you start can save you a lot of time. If you set yourself a clear criteria, you will find searching for a property much easier as you will be able to eliminate properties immediately that do not suit your needs. Some important questions to ask yourself when setting your criteria include:

  • What can you afford: calculate the deposit and repayments you can afford. Deposit requirements will vary, but as a rule of thumb, at least ten per cent of the selling price will be required. In general, lenders usually base the amount they will loan you on the rule that monthly repayments do not exceed a quarter of gross (pre-tax) income.
  • What are your location priorities: identify the areas or communities that suit your lifestyle and the people living with you (shortlist two or three suburbs). Assess your need for transport, schools, sports facilities, easy shopping, etc. It is also important to research which suburbs are becoming more fashionable because of new developments, or have easy access to facilities and work centres.
  • What type of a house will suit your needs: decide if you are looking for a flat, apartment, townhouse or house. The floor plan is a major consideration, so you need to decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms are required, if you need formal and informal living areas, the size of the kitchen, if you require a high or low maintenance garden, the size of the garage or carport and if you require a study.
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