Articles - Finance

First Home Buyers Checklist

4th September 2019
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As a first home buyer, you are about to make the most significant financial investment of your life.

Before you delve into the turbulent world of real estate, you must have a comprehensive understanding of what exactly it is you will be undertaking. This checklist is your starting point.

Research

As with all things in life, how informed you are will determine how successful your property search will be. Consider what aspects of a home you consider “must-haves”, then begin your search with your list in mind. Location, number of bedrooms, parking, and property type should all be on your list of things to consider. While recent selling prices and overall market trends should be examined.

To ensure you play your best hand, we advise attending open homes and conversing with local real estate agents to understand the local market.

Finances

Before setting your sights on that lavish two-storey home, calculate the home loan you can afford. There are numerous online calculators available, but an appointment with your bank or mortgage broker promises a more accurate financial estimate.

You will need to factor in your monthly or fortnightly repayments, best discussed with your lender directly to avoid any unpleasant surprises. No one likes unexpected payments, so be sure to budget, not just for your home loan, but daily necessities, like groceries and utility bills. Also, make sure you have factored in any upfront payments.

While most of us are well prepared for the house deposit. Many forget the additional cost of stamp duty, legal or conveyancing fees, building inspection costs, lenders mortgage insurance, and moving expenses. 

Underneath what may feel like crushing financial burden is the potential of a first home owner’s grant. The Australian government provides financial assistance to those seeking to buy their first home, under certain conditions. These conditions vary from state to state, so ensure you do your research beforehand or discuss your options with your bank or mortgage broker.

Sales Processes

As the housing market has become increasingly competitive, auctions and private sales are a daunting reality first home buyers must face. It is wise to attend a few auctions to understand how the process works before bidding yourself.

Research auction tactics, but be sure to stick to your budget. Private sales are another ball game, often involving negotiation with the seller directly. Ensure your knowledge of the local market is up-to-date to protect yourself from paying more than the property’s value. 

The Move

After making a successful offer and finalising the paperwork, it is time to make a move. Ensure you arrange your utilities by switching off or moving your energy provider, home phone, and internet. Once you have received the keys, we advise changing the locks, particularly in old rental houses.

If you plan to hire help for the move, ensure you look for one that is a member of the Australian Furniture Removers Association. Ensuring your interests as a consumer are protected. 

As easy as it is to get lost in the excitement of being in your first home, do not forget to review your mortgage regularly. Consider the prospect of increased repayments to reduce the length of your mortgage, or switching banks to your financial advantage.

Finding the balance between enjoying your home and minimising debt is an art form at best. But with some patient research and a willingness to adapt, the Australian dream is very much attainable.