Entering the housing market and purchasing for the first time can be daunting. When you are up against experienced buyers, dealing with grumpy bank staff and over-excited real estate agents, it is hard to stay grounded and make the best decision for you and your money.
And that is why Aussie Saver has compiled this list of 15 tips to help house hunters get through the house hunting jungle!
  1. If you want to buy in a CBD location buy find it out of your price-range, consider a suburban hub that is centred around shops and cafes and entertainment areas.  Consider schools, public transport and hospitals nearby.  Even if you don’t need these services, they all affect resale.
  2. Take into account the overall street appeal of the area.
  3. Consider the rates – these are an ongoing expense you will have to pay, and are much higher in some suburbs than others.
  4. What maintenance will the property need?  High maintenance costs can be expected from homes with pools and large backyards or gardens.  Is it worth it (considering your income?)
  5. If you are in the market for a unit or apartment, you must consider the body corporate fees.  Ask to view the previous minutes to ensure there are no ongoing maintenance problems, and what is in the sinking fund (the long-term maintenance fund for repairs).  A coat of paint on a large apartment building is a hefty expense, so is the upkeep of gardens, pools and underground parking garage!
  6. As difficult as it is, try and keep your emotions in check and focus on making the best financial choice for you.
  7. Try not to get caught up in auctions, where emotions run high and you are more likely to bid over your budget.  Stick to private sales.
  8. Do your research on the area and be realistic. Objectivity is the key.
  9. Be willing to reassess and be flexible.  Yes, everyone wants to live in a up-and-coming suburb, but buying in a less expensive area a bit further out of the city is not the end of the world, and is a foot in the property market, and better than paying dead money in rent.
  10. Consider pooling resources with friends or family to buy together.  Always draw up a contract and not just go on trust.
  11. Maintaining a mortgage takes commitment, so don’t rush into a home purchase based on emotion. Always get your building inspections and try to think and negotiate with a level head .
  12. Consider resale value – look for parking spaces, proximity to public transport, whether the property has an outdoor area, the number of toilets, bathrooms.
  13. Rental returns in the area are a very good indication.
  14. Consider if you can afford both the mortgage, rates and also are there any expected movement in interest rates?  If it is too tight, this may not be the property for you.
  15. Get professional help.  Talk to an experienced mortgage broker, trusted solicitor and any trusted contacts you have in the property business.