Ready to buy? Undertaking thorough research before you sign on the dotted line is vitally important.
Luckily, there’s plenty you can do online – here’s five ideas to keep you moving towards owning your dream home while you’re spending more time indoors.
1. Checking out a community
There is nothing like driving through your potential new community to get a feel for what it would be like to live there. But while we are being encouraged to stay at home, you can discover so much about a community online. Many communities have Facebook and/or Instagram pages. Do a quick search using the community’s name and see what pops up. Community pages will help you get a feeling for the general vibe of a location, along with community initiatives and showcasing local businesses such as cafes, shops and community groups.
Local council websites can also provide you with plenty of information on a community and the surrounding area. Here you’ll discover the types of recreational facilities and amenities that are currently on offer and plans and vision for the future – like community centres, libraries and swimming pools. It’s important to know that a community has (or is planning to have) the facilities to support and enhance your hobbies and lifestyle!
2. Choosing a builder
If you’ve decided to build your new home, you’ll need to choose a builder to work with. Heading online is a great first step in this process. Search for builders in your region and check out their websites and social media pages. We recommend taking time to read the ‘about us’ page to get a feeling for a builder’s history and values. You’ll also discover the style and type of homes they build from their website, and be able to read reviews and testimonials that can attest to the quality of the homes.
Like what you see online and want to have a chat to a builder? No problems. With communication software such a Facetime, Zoom and Skype, you can meet potential builders remotely. Arm yourself with a list of questions, check your microphone and webcam settings on your computer and you’re ready to go!
3. Deciding on your ideal layout
Many builders offer virtual display home tours allowing you to remotely wander through their homes. This is a great way of exploring possible designs and layouts from the comfort of your couch. The quality and detail of photography is so impressive – it’s as good as being there in person!
Take online tours through plenty of different homes to see what layout works best. Think about the way you live your life – your ideal layout should support your day-to-day activities. Where are your high foot traffic areas in the morning, what is the indoor/outdoor flow like? Are there plenty of windows for natural light? Where will you spend most of your time?
4. Interior (and exterior!) design inspiration
There’s no end of design inspiration to be found online. Pinterest is a great place to start – set up an ideas board and start searching for looks you love. From paint colours, kitchen and bathroom styles to landscaping and exterior finishing – the options are endless. If you’re building, a Pinterest board can be shared with your builder, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
There are also plenty of online tools that allow you to virtually play around with different looks by uploading images and changing colours, styles, fixtures, fittings and layouts. Have a bit of fun and create your dream look!
5. Price/value comparisons
Understanding the property market that you’re buying in will help ensure you’re paying the right price for your new home/block of land. To do this you’ll want to form a picture of the value of properties in the community you’re looking at. Check out realestate.com.au and domain.com.au – here you’ll be able to search by your preferred areas to get an idea of the home and land options, values and whether they fall within your budget.
If you’re researching your very first home, you won’t want to miss our First Home Buyer Toolkit. It’s packed with expert advice, videos and helpful downloadable guides and checklists - all the tools you need to navigate your first home buying journey. We’ve also included plenty more tips for researching online, so you can get closer to your first home from the comfort of your couch.
Visit peet.com.au/first-home-buyer for more details and to download the Toolkit.