Tools for the digitally-savvy homebuyers
Looking for a new home is easier now than ever before.
The age of the internet, the smart phone and mobile apps has taken a lot of the grunt work out of buying a new home. It has also made researching a whole lot easier, arming a new generation of homebuyers with unprecedented knowledge and expertise.
There is a website and an app for pretty much everything relating to home buying these days. Check out our list below of some of the best online tools and mobile apps for house hunting.
There are two main real estate websites when it comes to finding homes for sale: domain.com.au and realestate.com.au. Both are excellent websites with apps that allow you to save searches, get notifications for new listings and add inspection times to your calendar. Adding push notifications on your app will also allow you to get vital info as soon as it becomes available, making sure you don’t get left behind in the search for the perfect home.
A variety of lenders offer budget calculators to help you plan your finances and determine your borrowing power when it comes to buying a new home. The loans.com.au home loan calculator allows you to input information on your loan amount, interest rate, loan term, repayment frequency and repayment type to automatically calculate your repayments and interest payable. It also includes features for adding lump sums, offset accounts or additional repayments often forgotten on other home loan calculators.
For household budgeting, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has a great online budget planner to help you work out where your money is going, simplify your budget and manage your money. It is broken down into categories including home and utilities, insurance and financial, groceries, personal and medical, entertainment and eat-out, transport and auto, and children.
It has never been easier to get an idea of the price range for homes in an area you are looking at. Many lenders including loans.com.au offer suburb reports for free. If you want more information on recent sales, you can get it from sites including onthehouse.com.au which will even give you a free estimate for the property you are looking at.
First home buyers
Buying a home is particularly daunting for first home buyers. Luckily, websites such as First Home Buyers Australia are full of up-to-date information about grants in every state, how to save a deposit, buyers advocates and much more.
If you’re looking at buying into a new neighbourhood or an area you’re not very familiar with, apps such as AroundMe let you quickly find out information about your surroundings. AroundMe shows you the distance to bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, ATMs, hospitals and petrol stations to help you determine whether the neigbourhood you’re in is the right one for you.
If you’re struggling to imagine how the house you’re thinking of buying will look after you renovate it, there are apps that can help you visualise the completed project. Dulux Colour allows you to take a picture of a space and try out different paint colours on the walls. The Paint My Place app offers the same tools, letting users experiment with paint colours from various brands.