Buying your first home is a momentous and exciting time. It’s life-changing. The thrill of knowing you’re making a choice that will impact your future. The new house you buy could be the place where you see your children take their first steps, be the backdrop to your most precious memories, it could even be the place where you fall in love with your soulmate – the possibilities are endless. In spite of the excitement, moving house is also stressful so check out our guide for first home buyers to help make that stressful time just that little bit easier.
Figure Out Your Finances
As an Australian you won’t be surprised to learn that houses are obscenely expensive and politicians are in doubt that young people will ever be able to afford them, especially if we keep buying all that avocado toast!
The fact of the matter is that real estate is expensive and you’re not going to have enough saved for an entire house but a good goal is to try and save enough money to pay for the deposit outright. A good rule of thumb is that deposit prices tend to sit somewhere around 20% of the total purchase price, however, the number will vary from house to house. It’s a good idea to research similar houses in the area, look into what they sold for and base your savings goal on that.
You’ll also have to borrow from a financial institution. How much you can borrow will depend on a number of factors from your income, credit reports and existing financial commitments. You should speak to your bank about which plan is best suited to your specific financial situation and current needs. You can figure out how much you can borrow and how much you’re able to repay by clicking here and checking out this mortgage calculator.
Design Your Dream Home
When you’re house hunting it can be hard to get away from your idea of your ‘dream home.’ It haunts you as you go through open houses, the idea that you’ve been conjuring up in your head since you were very young and you moved your Barbie into her very first dream home. As hard as it may seem, when it comes time to purchase a home it’s important to push all preconceived notions about what you’re looking for from your mind.
A good way to find a middle ground between your dreams and reality is to make lists and big decisions before you even attend your first open house. The most important thing to consider is why you are moving in the first place. Do you need more space as you consider growing your family? Are you making the move into your own space after years of share-house living? Are you a foodie that will live anywhere as long as there’s an amazing local restaurant nearby? Are you an avid surfer who needs to be walking distance from the beach so you can get a morning surf everyday? Do you commute and want to be closer to a good public transport line? By asking yourself these questions you’ll be able to figure out which suburb gives you everything you need and then you can start looking properly.
Once you’ve narrowed down your location you should start making a list with three columns titled: must-have, would be nice to have and deal breakers. Separating the things you can’t live from the things you can’t live without will help you to be practical and organised so that you’ll know the right house when you find it.
Do Your Research
When you go to check out open houses it’s easy to fall in love at first sight. To walk into a home and immediately get swept up in the idea of what your life could be like in that home, picturing your friends sitting around the dining table, your kids running around in the backyard but, before you get too swept up in the fantasy, it’s important to come back down to earth and check the bones of a property. Look for any plumbing issues, rising damp or foundational cracks that could end up causing problems for you and becoming a money pit in the long run.
Before you can officially call your new house a home you’ll need to negotiate to buy it. Our tips include negotiating in a way that keeps you clear-headed and unemotional, have someone with you who can help you stick to your budget and make sure you have a good support system for if things don’t turn out your way. If you have a friend who is a solicitor, conveyancer or an experienced property investor then bring them to the auction to help you review the contract before signing.
The settlement process – unfortunately but not altogether unsurprisingly – involves forking over more cash. The settlement period begins the day the property is transferred into your name and then, over the following 30 days, you’ll have to pay stamp duty and organise your insurance. For more information on the settlement process, you can check out this government resource which will tell you everything you need to know about buying your first home.
Have A Plan For Day One
Moving day can be overwhelming as all get out so, before you move, you should make a plan for the first day and night in your new home. First things first, you should make sure that your utilities will be turned on from the very first day so you’ll be able to charge your phones, have a fridge set up and have a nice long shower. The thing that makes a house a home is the fact that it’s filled with people who love you, have friends over to help you unpack and invite them to stay for dinner, or what passes for dinner the first night in a new home, Chinese food straight from the container sat on the floor. Honestly, it’s one of our favourite meals of all time.