What sorts of features are considered a "must-have" in a property?  It's different for everyone, of course.  But if you're buying a property that you want to hold long-term - especially a property that may become an investment property - or even one that you plan to sell shortly - you must consider buying the sort of property that will a) be easy to sell; and b) be something that tenants will love to live in, to minimise your rental vacancy rate.

So what sorts of features should you look for?  Here's a simple list:

  • Not located on a very busy main road: the tail end (quieter end) of a main road may be fine, and a back-street is also great.
  • Close to transport: within 100-200m of a bus stop, and within a 10-minute walk of a train station - but not so close that the bus stop and train station are right outside your bedroom window.
  • An outdoor living space that flows from an inside living space: a balcony / terrace / garden that flows from the lounge is ideal.
  • A living space that is proportional to the number of bedrooms.
  • A number of bathrooms that is proportional to the number of bedrooms
  • Aspect, aspect, aspect.  North is best. 
  • Buy in an area that is in demand, and has always been in demand.  A good rule of thumb is to buy in areas where there are older properties and current demand.  This suggests an area where there has always been demand, not just now, but also in the past: an area such as this will almost certainly have steady demand into the future.
  • Buy an established property.  While you may be able to depreciate more on a newer property, you may be in for headaches down the track if there are significant building defects.
  • Parking: if the property doesn't have parking, that's ok so long as there's accessible street parking, or you're in an area that is very well served by public transport. 
  • Cafes and shops: we all like to be able to go to the local store to get some milk; walk to a local cafe for a great coffee; pop around the corner for some wine or a great gift for a friend and so on.

So there you have it: some general ideas for choosing a great property.