There are a lot of things to consider when buying a new home. If you’re a first-time buyer, not only do you not have experience in going over the essentials, you may not even know which questions to ask or what to look for. Once you’ve determined that buying is a better option for you than renting, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind to get you through the process.
Using these tips will hopefully help make that first home purchase as smooth as possible.
Finance: You’ll want to start by doing everything you can to get your finances in order before applying for a mortgage, in order to get the best terms possible. As you go through the qualification process, it’s crucial to be clear on just how much you can afford, and what you’re comfortable paying each month. Keep in mind that you’ll have additional costs beyond the mortgage that you didn’t when renting – particularly maintenance and upkeep, which can add up fast, and higher utility bills. (You may want to speak with local utility companies to get estimates on these costs early on.)
Remember also that just because you’ve been qualified for a certain amount by the bank doesn’t mean you want or need to spend the entire amount. Be clear on the lifestyle expenses you expect to maintain. This is an important discussion for families or housemates to have early in the process.
Know your wants, needs and priorities: While you may already have an idea of what your dream home would look like, some of those things will be deal breakers, and others can be set aside. You’ll want to be especially clear on what features of the house and neighbourhood you’ll need, not just right away but as you continue to live in the house.
Make sure you start your neighbourhood search by reading reviews from locals. You can type in any suburb in Australia and read reviews here.
Use an agent: An agent can walk you through your options, and are often the best resource available for helping you find exactly what you want and need. They can also get you listings you might not be able to find on your own, can help you figure out which listings aren’t worth wasting your time with, and can help you figure out not only what your priorities are but the market value. This way, not only do you not try to find things you can’t afford, you don’t overpay for what you do find. To find a local specialist you can search for a local agent here.
Get an Inspection: Especially as a first-time buyer, you should have a professional inspection done of the house before making an offer. This will help you spot problems you didn’t find on your own.
Negotiate: An agent can also help you go through the negotiating process once you make an offer. You’ll want to get the best deal possible, and you’ll also want to offer something attractive to the seller. Consider other factors besides price, such as the settlement date. It may take some back and forth to find an arrangement that works well for both sides.
Buying your first home may be daunting at first, but being clear on what you’re looking for will help you find a neighbourhood, house and price that work for you.