Whether you are buying your first home or purchasing your next property, here are some tips to get you started.
  • Talk to the local real estate agents about the capital growth history of the area and the potential rental income of the property. 
  • If you're buying a unit, the managing agent will have a complete history of the unit and the apartment block. A small fee will apply for strata searches, but it's worth it. 
  • It's a good idea to buy in an area that suits your needs and lifestyle, e.g. close to schools, shops, transport, parks and beaches. 

The Real Estate Institute of Australia has plenty of information on finding a local real estate agent, market reports, property listing sites and more.

Buyer's agents give professional advice on what property to buy or lease. They weigh up the investment risk and negotiate the best price. A fee applies for this service and is generally around 2% of the purchase price.
Get your building and pest inspections done. Shop around for quotes, as it can save you a lot of money. Inspections are important to help you identify any potential problems with the property and potentially re-negotiate the selling price. 

The Queensland Department of Fair Trading advises on fair and ethical practices for buying, selling and renovating your home.

Your solicitor should read the Contract of Sale. Be sure you're completely happy with what's included in the sale, such as internal and external fittings. Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with the purchase.
Naturally, sellers want the highest price for their property and buyers want to pay the least amount. The seller expects you to make a lower offer, but not so low that it's out of the question. Generally, people are prepared to meet somewhere in the middle
Before putting in an offer, ask as many questions of the real estate agent as possible and get important answers in writing. 

Here are our top questions to ask: 

  1. How long has it been on the market?
  2. Can I see electrical and gas installation checks/reports? 
  3. How long is the lease (if it has one)? 
  4. Why are the vendors moving? 
  5. What renovations have been done? 
  6. Has the home been rewired? 
  7. If it's a flat, how much are the service charges and gross rent? 
  8. How long has the vendor lived there?
  9. What's included in the sale? Curtains? White goods? 
  10. What are the council rates and charges?
If you're not planning to stay in the property for your entire life, consider its resale potential. If it's been on the market for a while, look at the reasons it hasn't sold yet – the street could be off-putting, the place might be on top of a takeaway shop, perhaps there's no parking.
Always get home insurance quotes before entering into a contract to ensure suitable cover is available. This could flag any issues, for example if the property is in a flood-risk area.