5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME
Getting your toes onto the property ladder is a big achievement these days. It‘s a lot of hard work along the way, but the end result is well worth the effort! Whether you’re just thinking about buying your first house, or actively hitting up the open homes every weekend, we’ve pulled together some handy tips that’ll help you out when purchasing your first property.
1. RESEARCH THE AREA
One of the first things you’ll want to do is research the area around your potential new home. For day-to-day living, you’ll want to check out local amenities like supermarkets, shops and school zones. Before you move in, try visiting the property at different times of the day and week to check out the neighbourhood; Is it noisy? What’s the parking situation? What are the traffic and travel times like? Here’s a hack – use Google Maps to key in your new address to your work at 7am on a weekday to check out your commute time in peak hour traffic.
2. BEGIN PREPPING WELL AHEAD OF TIME
You’re going to want to ensure that you have the right ownership set-up and sorted to protect your hard-earned assets. That’s why preparation is key. Start having conversations with banks, financial advisers, lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers and so on at least a few months before you intend to put an offer on a house. Don’t be afraid to meet with more than one; it’s important to shop around for options so you can make an informed decision.
When asking around, you’ll want to make sure that the advice you are receiving aligns across the board. Lawyers and accountants may offer different advice based on their roles, but there’s usually ways to mix and match the advice you’re receiving in a way that works best for you and your situation. Also bear in mind that some places are quite good at sniffing out newbies, so don’t be hasty in choosing who to partner with!
3. EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE PROCESS
Buying a house is a funny thing, you generally don’t know what you’re getting into until you’re in the thick of it. That’s why it’s important to dip your toes into the scene and educate yourself before diving in. Of course, you’re going to want to talk to lots of qualified professionals; lawyers, banks, building inspectors, but there are also heaps of free and inexpensive ways to research the process yourself as well.
One way of doing this is to attend a few auctions to get a boots-on-the-ground feel for the process; observe the buyers, the real estate agents, the structure of the event. This way, you can get in a few rounds of practice before you take the plunge yourself. There are also many property and finance seminars and publications that can help aspiring homeowners – knowledge is power, and learning how to navigate the market from industry experts could prove key to your success.
4. FIGURE OUT WHAT KIND OF PROPERTY YOU WANT
Each person’s home is their castle, and we all have different tastes and needs – some of us want a lawn or a plot to grow a garden, and some prefer high-rise living with managed shared space. Take some time to think about what kind of home would best suit your lifestyle, think about where you have lived before and what you did and didn’t like. Once you have a good idea of that, we recommend reading up on the new Bright-line and Interest Deductability rules, which can help you decide whether you want to pursue an existing home, an apartment or maybe even a new build.
5. UNDERSTAND YOUR MORTGAGE STRUCTURE & REPAYMENTS BEFORE PURCHASING
Many of us, when buying our first home, are faced with the daunting prospect of taking on a mortgage. Naturally, our minds tend to travel to one thought: bills, bills, bills. Making sure that you are familiar with your potential mortgage structure and repayments can take away some of these natural anxieties.
By talking to qualified professionals, you can work out the best ways to tackle your repayments with minimal headache. Whether it’s getting flatmates to help reduce interest payments or by paying your mortgage weekly instead of monthly, there’s a range of options available out there.
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The information provided in this article is of a general nature and not intended to be a substitute for personalised, professional advice. Mercury recommends that you always seek appropriate advice from a qualified professional to suit your individual circumstances. Links to external, non-Mercury websites are provided as a reference only, and do not imply a partnership or endorsement of their content.