What to do when life gives you lockdowns.
We all know the old saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" and, even during lockdown, it can be applied to your property search no matter what phase you're in.
One of my favourite mantras is "control the controllable" and there's a lot you can still do in lockdown.
Whether you're just starting out or deep in search mode, here's my tips for making the most of this time at home.
1) Save your pennies
If you're really going to be stretching for your borrowing limit, you'll need to reign in your spending for a good three months as this is the history most banks will be delving through.
One silver lining of lockdowns is the opportunity to save more.
You're not going to restaurants, on holidays or updating the work wardrobe, so avoid the trap of finding new spending habits and sock away that cash to line your savings account.
2) Engage a mortgage broker
The best way to get the best loan for your circumstances is to engage a mortgage broker.
They know which lenders to target based on their lending criteria.
Banks move the goal posts regularly (it does brokers heads in!) and to keep on top of the best deals on offer you really need to have a great broker looking out for you.
3) Refine your criteria
I can't stress enough how important this step is for ensure a targeted search and faster path to securing your property.
Listing out - yes, literally, on paper or in a spreadsheet - what are your "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves" will make it so much easy to zoom in on suitable properties (and rule out others) and get real estate agents alerting you to upcoming listings.
If you're buying with someone else, you need to have this debate before the search or it can very quickly become an emotional battleground.
When must-haves aren't present, the property is automatically ruled out before any nice-to-haves can have any sway.
When you do this well, properties can be objectively considered.
4) Know the market
Get right into the recent sales data for your target area and segment to see what properties that match your buying criteria have sold for.
If there are any curious or undisclosed results, call the selling agent and find out more.
Having an intimate knowledge of what properties are selling for is the only way of knowing what your money will buy and will save you from falling in love with a property you'll never afford.
5) Keep connected
There are vendors out there who must sell and won't have the luxury of delaying or extending their sales campaigns.
Don't go dark on your local real estate agent; check in regularly so they know you're still in the market and ready to buy the right property.
6) Spectate online
Just like you might go to a few auctions in person, you should do the same to auctions hosted online.
This will help you become familiar with the technology and format so that if you're having to participate in one down the track, it won't be so overwhelming and potentially intimidating.
Sadly, snap lockdowns might be with us for a while yet, so there's no point ignoring the possibility.
Choose instead to control the controllable and prepare for that contingency.
Good luck out there!
If you'd like to discuss your property search and find out how you can get into an investment-grade property faster, book a free 30 minute consultation with Narelle via this link.