Tips for finding your dream home

FINDING the perfect house to buy or rent that suits the specific wants and needs of everyone who'll live in it is the real challenge.

Communication and compromise are vital.

It seems simple, but if no one is willing to budge on certain details of their dream home, you'll still be searching for a place to live when the rest of us are driving electric cars and having robots do our gardening.

Register with local agents who can give you an instant heads up when a suitable property crosses their desk.

Nelson Alexander real estate agent James Pilliner says receiving a tip-off from a local agent is a huge advantage.

"They can tell you about things that trade off-market, which is probably roughly 10 per cent of the sales. If you're not registered with an agent you never have any clue about that," he says.

And remember that size isn't everything.

Can you live without land? If a huge block is something you or your co-inhabitants are prepared to sacrifice, your options will open right up.

And your bank account will thank you for it.

"If you're talking inner-city real estate, it's land size that you're compromising on," Milliner said.

"Your perfect house might have a 250 metre allotment, but you might end up having to look at something that's 170 to 190 metres in size because it's drastically going to reduce the price."

Other things to think about:

At your next open home be sure to check the floors aren't sloping or bouncy. This could mean the stumps need replacing.

Check to see that there are sufficient power points in each room. Installing new ones can be costly.

Check for damp by feeling the walls and looking for signs of peeling or bubbling paint.

Fixing damp can sometimes run well into the tens of thousands of dollars.

The internal wall plastering can be easily checked for fine hairline cracks. Once these cracks are found in one area you will usually find them in multiple areas.

At your next open home, check to see there's no signs of moisture in the kitchen cabinets. This could mean the house is leaky.

Be sure to check the kitchen taps' water pressure. Just a drizzle could mean plumbing problems

It could pay to check that the fridge you already own will fit in the kitchen.

Have a look at the stovetop. Electricity is known for being more expensive than gas and could affect your running costs.

Check that the bedrooms are a reasonable distance from the bathroom. Long walks in the middle of the night to the toilet can become a pain-point for homeowners.