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Whether you are looking for a new home or an investment property, with 25 years of local market experience, Starr Partners are perfectly placed to help.

Buying real estate can be an exciting experience, but it can also sometimes be daunting. It’s likely that it’s the most expensive purchase you will ever make, so given the stakes, it pays to do your research and understand what’s involved in the buying process before making a leap into the property market.

Before embarking on your home search, we first recommend getting an idea of what you can afford to borrow.

Evaluate your spending & saving habits and check with your mortgage broker to gain a general idea of your borrowing capacity and current mortgage costs. Mortgage Brokers can source loans from most leading banks and up to 50 or more other lending institutions. Loans can be compared against one another allowing you to select the plan that best suits your needs and budget. Starr Partners can introduce you to a number of such brokers if you require assistance. It is possible for a broker to come to your home, show you a range of possibilities and assist you in achieving a result within a much shorter time than normal; often hours rather than days. In most instances, the loan costs are the same and in some instances may be cheaper.

If you are committed to finding your dream home, it often takes time. You can spend weeks browsing property portals, driving around neighbourhoods, talking to agents, attending open homes and going to auctions. This groundwork provides invaluable insight and will help broaden your knowledge of the market.

Thankfully, a lot of the statistical or demographical information you require is now readily available online via companies such as CoreLogic. They will provide invaluable insights into historical sales data and the supply and demand of an area. Many government websites will also provide information on useful things such as infrastructure projects, building regulations, planning applications and school catchment areas. These indicators can help give you an idea on a how a specific neighbourhood is changing. They might also help you identify a market that is about to rise.

And remember, most of our staff also live in the same suburb as in which they work. No one knows the area better than a local!

This is a difficult question which most buyers ask. The answer is both easy and difficult and has many variances depending on your personal needs, finances, likes and dislikes. Urgency may be an issue, time might be pressing, or, if you are simply wanting to upgrade, you may have months or even years to wait and watch. Your answer to timing will largely be determined by your circumstances. Most people buy a residential property because they need a place to live and have already weighed the advantages of owning versus renting, with ownership ending up clearly the preferred option.

The best time to buy is when your needs inspire action; when you need a home. This is because that whilst property cycles do fluctuate, the fluctuations tend to even out over time. All too often, whilst one waits for times to change, mortgage rates are altered and prices rise. This is why we say that worrying about timing your purchase is generally not worth the trouble. Buying when prices are at rock bottom and getting out when they peak is extraordinarily difficult to do. Many people who start waiting for prices to fall are still waiting, whilst others are on the move.

Deciding what type of property to buy will depend on several factors such as your budget, lifestyle, personal taste and whether you’re buying as an owner-occupier or as an investment property. Sadly, you can’t necessarily have it all. Sometimes you might need to make a few compromises on your dream home. It could be a good idea to make a list of nice-to-have versus must-have. We’re all different so be honest with yourself. What’s more important to you — weekdays or weekends? Location or size? Is being able to walk to the train station more important than an extra en-suite? Is being near a school more important than a big backyard? Unless you’ve just won the lottery, be prepared to make a few trade-offs.

Even a couple of streets further away from local amenities can make a surprising difference to the asking price.

And if you’re planning on starting a family, you’ll need to think about whether local childcare, playgrounds and parks are going to become more important than being able to stroll down the road for your morning latte.

Properties for sale are typically listed as either private treaty or for auction. There are some important differences between the two.

Private Treaty

A property being sold by private treaty or sale will have an asking price, or an offers-over price. There is no official end date to the sales campaign, so buying a home this way will usually give you time to view the property several times, get building and pest reports done, arrange your finance and make a carefully considered offer if you’re interested. Once your offer is accepted, you should try to exchange the contract of sale and pay the deposit (usually around 10%) as soon as possible as, until this is done, the seller could change their mind or accept a higher offer. Once the contract of sale has been exchanged and the deposit paid, typically, a cooling-off period (usually five days) applies during which time you can still withdraw from the sale. If this occurs you’ll receive your deposit back.

The exchanged contract of sale will list the settlement date, which is the date you’ll need to pay the remainder of the purchase price on and when you’ll get the keys to the property.


A property being sold at auction won’t have a fixed purchase price but the real estate agent should be able to give you a guide price or price range. The auction will be set for a specific date, meaning there’s a limit to how much time you have to view the property, and you’ll also need to have your building and pest inspections and, in the case of an apartment, strata report, done before the auction date. In addition, you’ll need to have your finance approved and have had your solicitor or conveyancer look over the contract of sale before the auction.

At an auction, the property will be sold to the highest bidder, providing the price has met the reserve set by the seller, which is the lowest purchase price they are willing to accept. If the highest bid doesn’t meet the seller’s reserve price, the property will be passed in, which means the seller is opting not to sell the property for the highest bid that was achieved at auction. The highest bidder usually has first rights to negotiate a purchase with the seller after the auction.

It’s important to set a limit on how much you’re willing to pay for a property at auction to avoid getting caught up in the competitive process and paying more than you can afford. This is especially important as there is no cooling-off period – if you’re buying a property at auction, you’ll be required to pay a deposit – usually 10% - and exchange signed contracts of sale on the spot. At this point both parties are legally bound by the agreement. The exchanged contract of sale will list the settlement date, which is the date you’ll need to pay the remainder of the purchase price on and when you’ll get the keys to the property.