australian property market how to buy expert tips for christmas
Expert tips on getting your dream home before Christmas. Image: The Property Tribune.
  • Spring is typically the busiest period for Australia's property market.
  • Sometimes, making an offer before the auction happens is possible and bears dividends.
  • Avoid bringing emotion into the buying process.

Now that the real estate spring selling season is in ‘full bloom‘, you may have seen more stock hit the Australian property market; you are likely to see more auction campaigns and plenty of ‘open home’ signs around your neighbourhood.

Springtime is when home buyers hit the market in droves, and the properties that are listed for sale are likely to sell like hotcakes so that families can get into that dream home by Christmas.

What happens to the real estate markets in spring?

  • This warmer weather brings out more buyers into open homes, which also means more competition,
  • Sellers prefer to list their homes in spring months because the properties can be shown in their best light, as spring is when the gardens and lawns look their best, there are more daylight hours, and buyers are in a hurry to buy a property before the year is out,
  • More stock will come onto the market as sellers are ready with the mindset of ‘sell before Christmas’,
  • More buyers will emerge onto the market, both locally and through the increased international migration. Although there will also be more stock, the stock is likely to sell faster as the typical ‘days on market’ are shorter in the warmer months. Investors will need to be quick on a good deal, and home buyers will need to put an offer on fast to secure a premium property, and
  • More auction campaigns are held in spring months because it is nicer weather to be outside enjoying the sunshine and spring auctions have a lot more excitement as locals who are walking by often stop to watch all the action. Sellers hope that this excitement will help to push the prices up.

How to secure your dream property

  1. Heading to auction? There’s no harm in asking if the seller will accept an offer beforehand,
  2. Understand why the vendor is selling,
  3. Be prepared, and
  4. Employ a buyer’s agent.

Buying before an auction

If the property you like is for sale under an auction campaign, there is no harm in asking whether the vendor will accept an offer before the auction.

If you can afford it, sometimes it is worth paying a little bit more to secure the property before the auction rather than risk missing out and losing the property at an excitable auction.

There is no way to determine beforehand what a property will sell for at auction, but if you are putting in an offer beforehand, you need to make your offer look favourable for the vendor. After all, if this is your dream home it will be held for the long-term gain and the additional offer may actually work out to not be too much more on your repayments.

If you decide to wait to buy at the auction, it is important that you control and set the pace of the auction, bid confidently, or employ a professional bidder (a buyer’s agent).

Understand the seller’s motivations and be flexible

To give the best offer that looks favourable to the vendor it is important to understand their motivations for selling. Once you understand what their motivations are and what they need, you can be flexible with their requests to make your offer more appealing.

All vendors will have personal preferences and requests, particularly if they are selling a family home they have lived in for many years.

If you can be flexible with the settlement period, a shorter or longer settlement to suit the vendor may put you on top, or if they are requesting to take their antique window coverings with them- maybe this is something you can let them do!

Be prepared

Having all your ducks in a row is important before you put an offer on your dream home.

To be prepared, make sure you have your finance pre-approval, a solicitor/conveyancer lined up, your purchasing entity sorted (whether the property will be purchased in your name(s), a company name, trust, etc.), and a building and pest inspector in the area ready to go.

Your mortgage broker or lender should have all the documents they need, and you should have a clear plan on what you can afford to spend on a property.

You don’t want to be fumbling around trying to organise everything as you may miss out due to being unorganised.

Employing a buyer’s agent

If you really want to stand out amongst the other buyers, then employing a professional buyer’s agent shows that you are serious about purchasing, the purchase and negotiations can be made anonymous until the exchange/execution of contracts, and you won’t be fooled by real estate sales tactics.

The daily role of a buyer’s agent is to source, negotiate, and purchase property so having someone experienced on your team can really assist you in securing that dream home without wasting a lot of time, stress, and money.

What to avoid when trying to buy your dream home

  1. Don’t get emotional – you could end up paying too much,
  2. Don’t give the game away – keep your cards close to your chest,
  3. Don’t negotiate on fine print before the offer is accepted.

Avoid being emotional

Getting very emotional about the property will never work in your favour. There is a risk you may end up paying too much for a property as the real estate agent can likely see how nervous you are becoming about missing out on the property.

If you are interested in purchasing the property, it is important to let the agent know but you need to take a step back and think about your actions; look before you add the agent onto your speed dial!

If you are interested and have notified the agent, ask them if they have any current offers on the table and tell them that you will put a formal offer on the property soon, that way they likely won’t sell the property from under you and when they follow up, it is easy to tell them if you have changed your mind on the property.

Do not give away your ‘cards’ to the agent

If you have found your dream home, it may be hard to contain your excitement from the agent, and this often leads to buyers accidentally saying a little too much to the agent!

Telling the agent too much about your personal circumstances, finances, budget, how much you love the property, and how long you’ve been looking for, will only come back to ‘bite you’ during negotiations, as the agent can use these facts against you to gain the highest sales price for their vendor.

Keep in mind the real estate agent is working for the seller, not you, so keep all your cards close to your chest.

Negotiating on fine print before the offer is accepted

If there are certain things you require in the fine print of the contract, it is important that you first have the purchase price agreed and then the fine print can be negotiated between solicitors before the contracts are exchanged/executed.

Fussing over the small details may lead to you missing out on the purchase altogether when in the bigger picture, sometimes, these small details may not really matter.

However, in saying this, there may be some specific conditions on the purchase you may want to add when you make a formal offer such as settlement days, finance approvals, and building and pest inspections.

It is important to distinguish the items that will become a condition of the offer to purchase and what are the small print details of the contract.

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