Five things to consider when buying your ideal property
The real estate market never ceases to be a hot topic. For many, the Australian dream is alive and well, and buying a home is top of the priority list.
Getting onto the property ladder can, however, be overwhelming. It was this daunting process that Newcastle buyer’s agents, Matt Chamberlain and Darcy Brown were all too familiar with. They saw an opportunity to use their skills to help buyers alleviate confusion and stress, and launched Chamberlain Brown Property Acquisitions in August 2022.
“There’s a lot to consider when buying a property. Our role is to simplify the process so the buyer can lean on our industry knowledge to make informed purchasing decisions,” Darcy said.
Transparency is what Matt and Darcy pride themselves on, sharing with clients all they can to get the best outcome.
“As a buyer you can spend a lot of time researching, yet there will always be information you won’t be privy to, which is where Darcy and I come in,” Matt said.
To help prospective buyers navigate the property market, Matt and Darcy shared their top five things buyers should consider when purchasing a home.
1. Street Appeal
When you first get out of your car for an open home, your first impressions of the house can be dependent on street appeal.
“It includes things like the width of the street, whether it’s tree-lined, and the maturity of the trees. Are homeowners in the street house proud? Do they have landscaped gardens and picket fences? Are there period features on the façade? What are the visual aesthetics of the next door neighbours?
“A good example of homes with street appeal is Kitchener Parade in Mayfield. Darcy and I consider this to be one of Newcastle’s best streets to buy in. The large trees have created a natural canopy which isn’t something you can recreate quickly, and in this case, it adds value to the street,” Matt said.
2. Home Layout
“Once you’re inside a home, the focus should be on layout. The modern open-plan style kitchen, living and dining design are always in more demand, particularly those that open to an alfresco area, as most people subconsciously consider the alfresco as additional living space,” Matt said.
Because open-plan layouts are more desirable for buyers, it’s likely you’ll face more competition – and a higher price point – for properties with this design.
But, older homes that aren’t open plan can be renovated to suit your ideal layout, so you don’t have to necessarily write these homes off.
“If you have the vision to turn an older style home into an open plan property after you’ve purchased it, this could be smarter. But there’s also a lot of work in that, so weighing up the costs and effort involved is important,” Matt said.
3. Orientation and Natural Light
Can’t put your finger on why you like (or don’t like) a house so much? Matt explains that chances are, it’s because of the amount of natural light the property receives.
“A house with a north-facing rear is an immediate tick. Having a north-facing rear – that’s not shaded by neighbours’ trees or structures – naturally increases the amount of light entering the home.
“If you’re looking at two properties that are exactly the same – one on the north side of the street, and the other on the south side – the property on the north side would generally be worth more.
“Having abundant natural light makes a space more welcoming and enjoyable to spend time in. Your mind takes you to sitting on the back deck in the morning in winter having a coffee before work, or entertaining friends in the alfresco space, or enjoying the pool because it’s been in the sun all day.”
“It’s difficult to determine risks when you’re scrolling through web listings, however flood, fire, sociodemographic, and structural risks are all really important factors to consider, regardless of the property’s age or location,” Matt said.
Matt and Darcy suggest weighing up the risks against your purchasing criteria to decide whether they’re worth it. If a property is located in a flood or fire zone, for example, would that change your decision to buy? What if there were structural issues, like a leaking roof? It can be a good idea to chat to a professional, like a builder, to work out how much a risk is going to cost you.
5. The Agent
When you’re a prospective home buyer, it pays to be aware of how real estate agents operate on behalf of sellers. This is where Matt and Darcy come in.
“Real estate agents have one job – to achieve the highest price for their seller. Yet each agent approaches that job in a slightly different way.
“Some agents prefer to guide the property lower to engage more buyers (and hope that competition pushes the price higher), while others prefer to be accurate and transparent. The challenge is knowing how the real estate agent operates when you’re ready to make your first offer.
Because we’ve worked with almost every real estate agent in Newcastle, we rely on that experience to inform our decisions when negotiating on behalf of a client, to ensure they aren’t being misled,” Matt said.