28 June 2017 6 tools to make house hunting easier It doesn’t seem like long ago that home buyers would tuck the weekend paper under their arm and head out to inspect the dozens of properties they had circled. How times have changed… The internet has transformed the way property is bought and sold, and the next generation of technology is set to give home buyers even greater access to information, resources and cool tools to help them make more informed purchasing decisions. Here are 6 online tools that can make house hunting easier: Property market and sales data services As they say, knowledge is power! As a Buyer’s Advocate, we always look for an edge that will give us an advantage over other buyers; some information or analysis that will aid our assessment, purchase strategy or auction day game plan. Data services like Australian Property Monitors (APM) and Core Logic RP Data give you access to historical market analysis and allow you to make more informed decisions about future growth, based on solid information. You can visit these websites to look at current and historical data or you can purchase more detailed reports if required. For example, you can compare the historical sale prices for a specific property you are considering and compare them against suburban averages and potential rental value estimations. These online services also allow you to obtain suburb population profiles to give a true sense of the area’s market growth potential, land values and differences across property construction types such as brick or timber. Check out APM and Core Logic RP Data. Real estate agent communications As a buyer, it is important to build a relationship with your local real estate agents, as they are regularly introducing new properties to the market. Make sure you sign up to their regular email newsletters or weekly property updates as this will keep you informed with new listings and any Expected Selling Range (ESR) indications. Real estate search portals Part of finding your dream home involves searching as thoroughly and regularly as possible. In order to stay on top of new listings, save your search criteria on real estate websites and request regular email alerts. But remember; set your search criteria so that you are comparing similar properties. Mortgage calculators Crunching numbers is no fun and can be challenging for some. There are a lot of big numbers involved and you will want to know how long the mortgage will last, what will the repayments will be, how much deposit will be required? So why try to calculate it the hard way? There are calculators, such as the RAMS home loan calculators, built specifically to make understanding your home loan easier. Property apps With smartphones and tablets, apps make it easy to search and store information on the go. Most mobile apps allow you to search for properties by geographical location, price range, property type and they can send push button notifications directly to your phone to keep you ahead of the game. Check out apps from Domain and Realestate.com.au. Other property websites For investors in particular, Walk Score is a great property purchasing tool as it allows you to compare different property locations and rank them on their ‘walk score’ – the number of amenities within easy walking distance. Found a place to buy, but don’t like the colour? What would it look like with a colour makeover? Paint My Place allows you to take a photo of the area to be repainted and see how it will look as a different colour. You can then share with friends, your painter or designer for a second opinion. RAMS Financial Group Pty Limited does not endorse or assume any responsibility for the advice, content or services provided by any third party referred to in the material.