We understand that whether you are buying your family home, looking for real estate investments or buying a property sight unseen as an interstate or international buyer it can be difficult to know where to start. We have discovered some tools of the trade that help us in the first stage of a property purchase: Finding the right area.
Before you can do anything else, you want to know where you should be looking to help narrow down your search and keep things manageable. Here we share the tools we use to help identify the right area for you.
If you’re a parent, the term school catchments is not new. Even if you aren’t a parent, you might have heard the term but have not been sure what it means exactly. A school catchment indicates the areas where students must live to attend a state school. Children can only enrol in the schools in their area based on their residential address. The schools hold the right amount of spots for students within their school catchment to accommodate the expected number of students living within those boundaries.
So what do school catchments have to do with real estate? Since parents consider the schools their children can attend critical to their home buying or renting decisions, homes near the highest-ranked schools tend to be higher priced. This premium also applies to rentals, so whether you are buying your own home, or an investment property to rent, property values are dictated by the school catchments where they are zoned. Therefore, we start our searches using a school catchment location tool to help us find the right area based on our clients’ needs.
How it Works
The tool includes a map indicating the school catchments in Brisbane based on the most current school year. Because school catchments might vary, you can select the calendar year of enrolment and the year level of study. For parents interested in their children attending a specific school, they can enter that school name to find out what zone it falls under. Likewise, investors can look into the highest-ranking schools and search their locations. You can also do a reverse search using a specific listing address you might be interested in, to see what school catchments service the home.
Why We Use It
Top ranking school areas can increase home prices by as much as 35%. While this isn’t a possibility for all of our clients, we look for the best possible school rankings and their catchments to help zero in on the best areas their budgets allow. Since the national overview shows Brisbane school zones rank in the top 10 list, we want our clients to benefit from this important factor as much as possible.
School Rankings and Results
That brings us naturally to our second tool: School Rankings and Results. As mentioned above, understanding the top-ranked schools is important as it allows you to use those schools to find the best catchments, which in turn reveals the right areas for you. You can use this tool to check a school’s rankings and results to determine if the schools in your area are desirable or not. This is of course important for parents, but it is also an important tool when gaining insight into the housing prices in an area.
How it Works
The Better Education search tool provides school results including rankings or ratings in hand with convenient lists of best performing schools. You simply click the state, choose the school level, and the type of ranking (VCE, HSC, OP, WACE, SACE, NTCET, TCE, ATAR, etc.), and then the list will appear.
Why We Use It
For the same reasons we use the school catchments tool, this tool also allows us to specify schools within catchments of interest to our clients. We can determine whether these schools will provide what our clients need for their children, and also help recommend nearby schools that have better results to help them narrow down their search.
Not everyone looks for a home in the exact area where they work. As a result, travel times play an important role in determining how convenient an area is not only for work but for important points of interest to a client. This can vary, but the need remains the same: pinpointing travel times for locations important to a client’s lifestyle. The Journey Planner is very handy for working out travel time and options for our clients. We can narrow down the areas that suit their acceptable commute times for the most important destinations in their lives.
How it Works
The tool is very simple to use allowing you to enter a street address, landmark, stop name or stop ID in the ‘start’ and ‘end’ boxes along with the time and day you intend to travel. You can fine-tune the timing to find the best time to leave the home, and also determine the earliest and latest times for travel services. A combination of transportation options is available including bus, train, ferry and tram services and it even takes walking times into consideration to and from those modes of transportation. Since you might not have an exact address at the time of your search, you can just choose the location in general or even a nearby landmark. This provides you with a rough idea.
Why We Use It
Most people looking for a place in the suburbs have an acceptable commute in mind. As well, local transportation is an important amenity, therefore the conveniences of nearby stops for public transportation is important as well. This applies to both buyers looking for a home, and investors looking for investment properties, as conveniences such as travel times can directly impact prices in and demand for an area. Another great feature of the tool is it helps you find the earliest and latest travel times for public transportation routes. If you have to be to work at a certain time in the morning, work a lot of overtime, like to venture into the city to attend events that run late, or work shifts, these times are vital to ensure your new area suits your lifestyle.
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