Buying a property is exciting but also exhausting

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I personally experienced the various pain-points of house hunting when trying to buy my first home - it was a long journey started in Sydney in 2015 and eventually ended in 2018 when I bought in Melbourne.

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When I first started looking in Sydney, I couldn't find a suitable property in suburbs that I was familiar with: they were either too expensive or didn't meet my criteria. For example, being a young guy one key criteria was being close to the CBD for the great social life.  

I tried to broaden the areas I looked at by Googling or asking people for suggestions. This proved difficult as I could only get bits and pieces of information that were filtered through the lens of what they wanted, such as a nice quiet neighbourhood in the outer suburbs. As “housing affordability crisis” started to become a catch phrase in the media, I gave up my search in disappointment.

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In 2017, I moved to Melbourne for my masters degree. This new city gave me hope to restart the pursuit after sensing that the housing market was more affordable. I started researching suburbs within 10 km of the city centre. I quickly discovered there are 100 suburbs within 10km of Melbourne CBD, with my goal to pick the top 5 suburbs that would fit not only my budget but support my lifestyle I had my work cut out for me. 

So here we go again. Like most property hunter, I started browsing listings on realestate.com.au:

  1. Enter price range, property configuration and suburbs 
  2. Open the listing in a new tab; browse through photos; check the agent’s price guide (why doesn’t Sydney have these?); study its location, school zone and surrounding amenities 
  3. Save the listing if interested, otherwise close the tab 
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It was a draining process and I couldn't thoroughly go through the listings of all 100 suburbs. Eventually I started to focus on suburbs that I had researched on, even though they may not had been the best. 

Once the targeted suburbs were locked in, I applied the same brute-force property selection process every week for new listings and started going to house inspection after work or on weekends. All up I easily went to more than 100 inspections.

"Sorry, you have been out bid."

After attending a few auctions, I grew the confidence to put in offer on properties that I liked. But to my surprise, the final sold price of those properties shot up far above the listed price and my budget! After seeing several of my dream properties being snatched by aggressive bidders, I started doubting my research and had to go back to square one and reset my expectation. After a gruelling 10-month journey, I found my current home.

Every problem is a opportunity in disguise ~ John Adam

After sharing my property buying experience with friends, I realised many went through or are currently going through the same tiring journey. I had the revelation that most of us have accepted that buying a property is supposed to hard and draining because there isn't a cost-effective solution easily accessed by consumers. Then I started pondering "what if there was a tool that takes my budget and criteria, performs the analysis and then shows me suburbs and real estate listings matching what I want?" That "what-if" question was the genesis of Proppy.com.au.