Buying your first property can be a daunting task – from getting your finances in order to researching, attending open for inspections and negotiating, to settling into your new home – there is lots to consider and organise.
To boost your confidence through your home buying journey, we have pulled together what first home buyers wish they knew before purchasing their first property.
Wrap your head around property finance from the get-go
Often, first home buyers learn about property finance on the run – and are hit with the hard truth of how expensive buying a property can be during the process. From stamp duty and loan fees, to inspection reports and moving costs, there is a lot you have to be across.
“With so many financial elements to buying a property, it is essential that first home buyers not only know what they are in for, but know where they can save money during the process with Government schemes and grants available,” says Peter Hanscomb, CEO of Belle Property and Hockingstuart.
Alongside the First Home Owners Grant, First Home Super Saver Scheme, and the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, the recent introduction of the national HomeBuilders Scheme and NSW’s nation-first temporary scrapping of stamp duty for eligible first home buyers, means there’s ample opportunity to save.
“The pausing of stamp duty in NSW is a major advantage for first home buyers. Under the changes the threshold above which stamp duty will be charged on new homes will increase from the current $650,000 to $800,000, with the concession reducing on higher values before phasing out at $1 million,” says Peter.
“Basically, it means there are even more incentives for first home buyers to take advantage of, so it’s important to make sure you’re across all the schemes and grants you can access.”
It pays to shop around for a mortgage lender
Before your property search even begins, you need to know how much the banks are willing to lend you, and with the changing market conditions, it’s important to know where you stand financially from the get-go. But, be sure to shop around.
“Do your research, speak to the banks directly and mortgage brokers, look at the all the fees, read the fine print and compare your different options,” says Peter.
“House hunting can take more time than expected, so if three months have passed since you were pre-approved, check in with your lender to make sure nothing has changed in how much you can borrow and always be on the lookout for better deals.”
Be honest with how much your day-to-day lifestyle is costing you
Knowing how much your lifestyle is costing you is an essential piece of the puzzle. It will help you determine how high you’re willing to let your mortgage repayments be. Unless you track your day to day spending, it can be difficult to gauge how much you’re really spending.
“Flag what are necessities (rent, food, bills) and what are extras (subscriptions, a new outfit) as there may be extra expenses that can be forgone to help with budgeting,” says Peter.
You will change your mind, and that’s ok
Every first home buyer has a checklist for what they’re looking for in a property, and what that checklist looks like at the beginning of the property search can look different towards the end of your property search.
The more open for inspections you visit, the more you’ll realise what’s within your budget and what you’re willing to compromise on.
"Know your non-negotiables, keeping in mind your current and future lifestyle needs. This will save you a lot of time looking at properties that don’t tick these boxes,” adds Peter.
You probably won’t land the first property you put a bid or offer on
When it comes to putting your first offer on a property it’s nearly impossible not to be emotionally invested – it’s exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.
“Unfortunately, your first offer may not go your way, and you can be left disappointed. Try not to let it dishearten you; brush it off and keep an open mind about other properties as there is always new stock coming onto the market,” says Peter.
Building and pest inspections, they’re essential, and they always find problems
When buying a home, building and pest inspections are critical as they offer invaluable insight into the condition of the property by reporting on any structural, drainage, plumbing, termite, or roof issues.
“What you need to remember is, every building and pest inspection will find problems. See the minor issues as leverage for when it comes time to negotiate and focus on the significant issues as they can be costly and time-consuming to fix,” says Peter.
Everything is open to negotiation
Negotiation is one of the most invaluable skills when it comes to buying and selling real estate. From the final sale price to the settlement period, there are many things up for negotiation.
“Don’t be afraid to ask the questions about what is and isn’t included, why the owners are selling, how long the property has been on the market and so forth. Find out as much as you can and use that information to your advantage,” says Peter.
Buying a home takes a lot longer than you think
There is no set time period for how long it can take to buy a home. You can secure a home within a matter of months or it can take up to a year or more.
“Every first home buyers’ journey is different, so know what your needs and budget are and take the time to find the right property. Just ensure you are ready to act when the right home does come along,” says Peter