Am I being too picky?

Frank Valentic, director of Advantage Property Consulting, offers his expert advice on how to maximise your search for a dream home.

Victoria’s strong property market may have you feeling like it’s becoming more difficult to find your ideal residence. It’s important that you work through your criteria in a way that will make it possible for you to enter the property market – after all, does the “dream home” really exist, or is it something you have to make your own?

Decide on your non-negotiables

These aren’t your nice-to-haves – these are the fundamentals that will really impact your lifestyle and relationships. Some people will want to be social and be close to their friends, others prefer more privacy and space to move. People with children may need a specific number of rooms or a location near particular schools; others might want to be closer to work. Whatever the situation, you need to decide on the kind of lifestyle you want to live and what that looks like realistically based on your budget.

Understand your budget & criteria

Once you really have a grip on your budget and fundamentals, you can start examining suburbs and the type of property you want to live in. We recommend writing down the features you love and also being clear on your price range, location and dwelling or lot size, as well as style of living. This will give you a great indication about how you want to live, emphasise your must-haves, and establish what you may need to compromise on. It will also help with your search online – after all, there’s no point searching for properties that don’t fit within your criteria.

Don’t fear missing out

We all know a friend or family member who secured their dream home in
a once-in-a-lifetime transaction. Are you holding on to the expectation that you will find a similar deal, even though they purchased their home 10 years ago? The market has changed dramatically in the last five years let alone in a decade – with varying circumstances, your expectations may not be viable.

We all want great value for our purchase, so we recommend you take out the emotion when planning your search. This will really help with your property criteria and keep you focused on your outcome and priorities.

Manage your expectations

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Not many people buy one home and live in it forever, so if you’re looking for your forever home even though you haven’t even stepped a foot on the property ladder yet, you may want to revisit your expectations.

When you think about it, there’s no such thing as a forever home. There may be times where you have outgrown your home and need to upsize, and there may be a time where you have to downsize to something more low maintenance. Trying to find a family home on a first-homebuyer budget may just be making your property search more difficult for you.

Take some time to map out your short-term and long-term plan for the future to include career, family and lifestyle. The worst thing you can do is let fantasies impair your judgement when purchasing a large asset.

The whole process is time consuming and can be frustrating. If you
don’t know where to start or need help moving the process along, an experienced buyer’s agent will profile properties and search on your behalf, so you don’t spend your weekends attending dud open for inspections.

Illustration: Adriana Alvarez. Photo: Racorn/Dreamstime.com.