Summer property tips from an expert

Doesn't time fly, seems like only yesterday that we started breaking out hay fever meds and dodging magpies, and now spring is almost over. If the spring property season didn’t deliver you the mansion/house/yurt of your dreams and you’re looking to continue the search in the summertime, keep in mind these tips to snatch up a great deal on a property as the mercury continues to rise.

Buy before Christmas

As the Christmas/New Years hype dies down after December, so does the property market. Mozo property expert Steve Jovcevski warns that if you’re looking at properties after Christmas, you’ll quickly find that there is little to no movement on the property front until around February.

“The real estate industry more or less shuts down in January, so unless you can wait until February or March to buy, the pre-christmas sweet spot is your best bet.”

Be prepared for a fast-moving December market

Due to the looming Christmas deadline, in December both sellers and buyers are more likely to act, creating an accelerated market. Jovcevski  that those who bought in spring before selling their current property first will, “ probably be quite eager to offload before the real estate industry slump in January and February.”

Jovcevski also says that the currently low Sydney and Melbourne markets are a prime time for buyers to make a move, so be aware that there could be some stiff competition.

“Sydney and Melbourne buyers are feeling the pressure to find a great deal while the market is bottoming out.”

Keep an eye out for properties listed since spring

Whether it’s due to a high reserve price or competitive buyers’ market, if a seller hasn’t had success offloading their property in spring, they’re likely to be more open to settle, an opportunity that Jovcevski says is, “prime for buyers.”

“Buying in the summer is like waiting until after easter to buy half price chocolate,” he says.

“If you see a property that’s been on the market for a while, try your hand at negotiating a better price - you might just find yourself a lindt bunny for a cadbury price.”

Don’t make a move without pre-approval

It’s a year-round rule, but one that applies especially in a market where decisions are made quickly. To keep up with the competition, buyers need to be ready to make a move before someone else does, and that means getting pre-approval on your home loan and knowing your buying power ahead of time.

“Buyers are more serious in December, and having pre-approval will help you bid with confidence, knowing exactly what you can and can’t afford,” Jovcevski says.

Consider what the property will be like in winter

With the sun reflecting off the koi pond and perfectly manicured lawn, properties up for grabs in the summertime seem to have the rose coloured glasses effect. But keeping in mind how a home might fare year round is Jovcevski’s key advice when going to open houses in December.

“Everything looks better in the summer, but you have to consider how your property will hold up when it’s raining and the days are shorter,” Jovcevski said.

“In winter where a damp, dark environment can cause serious mould problems, you’re going to regret choosing the apartment with small windows that looked good anyway when the sun was still shining.”

Always look for previous mould damage and aim for a place with good ventilation, and keep in mind that while a pool is great to have in the summer, you’ll have to pay to maintain it in the winter, too.

Haggle a better price

In a time where sellers are keen to get out as soon as possible, Jovcevski says that buyers should strap on their haggling boots and use the situation to their advantage.

“You need to work out just how badly a buyer needs to sell, and finding out whether they’ve already bought another property and are struggling with bridging finance is a great move,” he says.

“The next step is haggling - making low ball offers or asking for discounts wherever possible until you get a price that fits comfortably in your budget.”

Find a competitive home loan deal

No matter what time of the year you’re buying, finding a home loan with a great rate and features is key to keeping your budget in check and stay ahead of repayments, to make your home-buying dreams a reality.

“With banks tightening their lending criteria and Aussies having to stretch their budgets to full capacity, something you’ll need to make sure of when buying this summer is getting a decent home loan rate,” says Jovcevski.

If you’re on the hunt for the home of your dreams this summer, your first move is finding a low rate home loan that’s offering fee-free benefits. Using Mozo’s home loan comparison tool, you can compare from a range of great deals to get you off on the right foot.