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How to Use an App to Find your Dream Home

If you’re looking for your dream home, here are six key features of online searching and apps that could help you.

WHEN Sarah and James were searching for their first home they had a checklist of what they wanted. Three bedrooms at least, or the option to renovate and add more later. They were leaning towards getting a house but, depending on prices, would settle for unit or townhome if they found one that ticked most of their boxes.

The couple knew they wanted to be near a train station and, because they were planning to start having a family in a few years, thought it could be a good idea to have at least a childcare and maybe a primary school handy, too.

They’d been keeping a bit of an eye on real estate windows and their local paper but when it came time to start seriously hunting they needed a better strategy.

What really helped was using real estate apps and looking online. They started using Domain, logging in from their computers – either at work or home – tablets and phones. They saved their searches to their free profile, added their own photos and notes for each property and easily planned their inspections, mapping the best route to get to each open house.

They could easily sift through properties, narrow down those most likely to sell within their budget and schedule when they were going to look at the ones that appealed, especially as some inspections were during work hours and many overlapped.

1) Understand the market

Data is king and the more information you have, the better equipped you will be when you are searching for property, negotiating a price or bidding at auction.

Comparing recent sales of similar properties will help to give you a good idea of what you should be paying.

Each property listing on Domain’s website now details recent and past sales activity as well as suburb performance. There’s also data on median prices, auction clearance rates and how many days properties stay on the market in each town and suburb. The information all helps to paint a detailed picture about the state of the market.

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2) Narrow down on areas you want to buy

All property buyers have a list of features they want. Some will be inside the property itself, others will be facilities nearby. On Domain, Sarah and James could easily search areas they liked. On the tablet app, they could even do a finger search – narrowing down to the streets they preferred was as simple as using their fingers to draw a circle.

Then they could choose facilities they wanted – and did not want – to be near, including restaurants, shopping centres and cafes, and have them appear on the map.

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3) Make a strong shortlist

With so many properties on the market, Sarah and James didn’t want to waste their time looking at every single option.

They used Domain’s app to easily find properties that had all the features they wanted and then added notes about each property and shortlisted their favourites.

Photos, videos and floorplans often allowed them to rule properties in or out. And from there, the couple were easily able to zero in on listings with appealing features such as floorboards, an ensuite bathroom and secure parking.

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4) Plan your inspections

The last thing you want to do is waste time inspecting a property you’re lukewarm on, only to find you’ve missed out on seeing “the one”.

Domain’s inspection planner makes getting around properties super easy.

The planner allows users to – in one click – compile a list of inspections, which can be viewed as a map highlighting the days and times of each inspection.

There’s even the option of mapping the best route to get from property to property.

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5) Compare your options

When you’re property hunting you can see so many places that it’s hard to remember what each was like. But Domain takes care of that too, with plenty of space to add private notes and photos online for each property.

There’s also an extensive property inspection checklist with tips and advice and a long list of room-by-room features that home hunters can click on to rate

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6) Know your finances

Wondering if you can afford a certain mortgage and how much the repayments will be? A mortgage calculator at the bottom of each of Domain’s property listings makes it straightforward to calculate loan repayments and lets you model varying deposit sizes, loan periods and interest and comparison rates.

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To take the hassle out of hunting for a property, visit domain.com.au or download the free phone and tablet apps today.


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