Saturday, February 05, 2005

Buying and selling a house on the Internet

There is no question that the Internet has revolutionized the way we do business. More and more people all over the world are using the Internet to shop for all kinds of products and services. In fact, a large percentage of households now use the internet on a daily basis and the number is increasing every day.

It should come as no surprise that the World Wide Web is also becoming an effective way to market real estate. Potential buyers can shop from the comfort of their own homes at any time of the day. In fact, the Internet makes it possible to shop for homes while still living in a different state or country.

More and more real estate agencies are listing properties on their websites complete with property descriptions and colour photographs. This is a big step up from the traditional black and white photographs with minimal text traditionally found in local newspapers. Some real estate websites even allow you to take a virtual tour of a property including turning the camera view 360 degrees for a complete look at the property. This can be a wonderful time saving tool for home buyers to weed out properties and narrow down those which they want to tour in person.

The following are some of the ways that buyers and sellers can use the Internet to make the process more efficient.

Using the Internet during the Home Buying Process

1. Many mortgage companies and lenders allow buyers to complete prescreening mortgage applications online. This can speed up the mortgage pre approval process.

2. Buyers can view a large number of homes a very short period of time from the comfort of their living room. They can read descriptions and few colour photographs. On some of the more sophisticated sites buyers can even go on a 360° tour of a property.

3. Buyers can also use the Internet to do research on the areas where they're considering moving to.

4. Buyers and investors can shop for homes in other cities across the nation before making the trip in person.

Using the Internet to Sell Your Home

1. The Internet allows sellers the opportunity to market their home to potential buyers on a much grander scale than was previously possible.

2. The Internet also allows sellers the opportunity to easily do research on various real estate agencies.

3. For sellers interested in selling their home on their own there are web sites specifically to assist in the process. Sellers can even list their properties for sale on these particular web sites.

The Internet should not be the only tool that you use for buying or selling her home. It should be used to supplement your other efforts.

Information on Australian Home Loans

Rent or Buy a House?

Should you rent or buy your home? That is the question. More often that not you have probably heard the same answer – that it is always more advantageous to buy your home and that by renting you are throwing your money away. Is this always true? It really depends on a variety of considerations.

Sometimes renting can be cheaper on a month to month basis than buying when you consider the expenses associated with owning a home. These expenses include but are not limited to property taxes, property and liability insurance and maintenance. As a homeowner you will be responsible for all of these expenses. If the hot water heater stops working you will have to buy a new one. If you are renting then a faulty water heater simply means a telephone call to the landlord to handle repairs. On the other hand, when you are buying you are building equity. You will eventually own the property and it may also increase in value depending on the housing market and rates of appreciation.

In order to precisely compare the costs of buying versus renting you would theoretically have to be comparing renting versus buying the exact same house. Since this is not really possible it is necessary to consider other factors in addition to the actual financial cost issues. To compare the actual costs between the two options requires a comparison of factors such as relative cash flow (rent compared to monthly ownership expenses), length of term, and rate of appreciation. Without going into great detail this simply boils down to this. If you plan to stay in the home for an extended period of time the housing market does well and homes are appreciating then you are probably better off financially to buy as opposed to renting.

But there are other considerations when making the decision to buy or rent your home. This decision is not always simply about money. What are you looking for in a home? Consider your lifestyle and what is going to better suit your needs. A busy professional or graduate student working a full time job and taking classes at night may not have the time or desire to worry about home maintenance issues. For the person whose job requires frequent moves buying a home may not be the best option.

Very few things are black and white and the decision to rent or buy a home is no exception. Write down the pros and cons of each alternative relative to your life circumstances and take a minute to think about what is important to you. Whatever you decide – whether to rent or buy – will be the right decision for you.

Australian Home Loan Information

Australian First Homeowners Grant

The First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) was established to assist first home buyers in Australia by helping to offset the effects of the goods and services tax (GST). The First Home Owners Grant applies from July 1, 2000 and each State and territory throughout Australia is responsible for administering the grants within their respective jurisdictions. Eligible applicants are entitled to a one-off payment of $7,000 to help with the purchase or construction of their first home.

Eligible home buyers must be Australian citizens or permanent residents who are buying their first home in Australia. Neither of the applicants may have previously owned a home before either jointly or separately or with some other person prior to July1, 2000. Neither of the applicants may have previously owned a home either jointly or separately or with some other person after July1, 2000. Also, neither applicant may have claimed this grant previously.

In order to qualify the home must be a fixed dwelling that meets local planning standards. This can include new or existing dwellings such as a house, unit, flat or apartment. In addition, the eligible home must be occupied by the applicants as their principal place of residence within 12 months of completion of the construction or purchase. It should be noted that the grant assistance will not be means tested and joint applicants are restricted to a single application and only one payment of $7,000. The grant is also not taxed and is not restricted by the purchase price of the property. Joint applicants are restricted to a single application for a single property and one payment of $7000 will be made.

First time home buyers can apply for the First Home Owners Grant through an approved financial institution or directly to the Revenue Office within each State or Territory. To determine if you are eligible you may complete an eligibility checklist at http://www.firsthome.gov.au. In Victoria Application forms are available from the SRO and certain approved agents. For more information please visit http://www.sro.vic.gov.au

Information on Australian Home Loans