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Buying my first home

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There are many things to consider when purchasing your first home, below is a guide to help you navigate your way through the exciting (but sometimes daunting) process of purchasing your first home.

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  Know what you want

Make a list of what you want in your home:

  • Your preferred areas
  • Essential features
  • Your wish list of non-essential features

Knowing what you want will help you avoid buying a property that does not meet your needs.

  Budget before you buy

Carefully review your financial situation and standard of living when deciding how much you can afford to borrow and repay.

Take into account:

  • Your circumstances and financial commitments
  • Any future plans; for example, starting a family could mean a drop in income
  • Obtain a Pre-Approval / Conditional Approval to know your borrowing capacity and to be ready for quick movements in the property market
  • Other possible changes, such as interest rate rises or unemployment.

Consider the costs of buying a property, including:

  • Legal and conveyancing fees
  • Loan establishment fees
  • Government charges such as land transfer duty, GST and fire services property levy
  • Building and pest inspection fees
  • Moving costs

Also consider ongoing costs of property ownership, including:

  • Insurance (building and contents)
  • Property rates
  • Utility bills

Don’t overlook any concessions you may be eligible for, such as:

  • First home owner grants
  • Land transfer duty reduction
  • Grants for building in new growth areas

When getting a home loan:

  • You do not have to take the full amount offered by the lender. Instead, work out the amount you need and feel comfortable borrowing
  • Use our online calculators to see how the amount borrowed, the loan period and the frequency of repayments affect the time you will need to pay off the debt
  • Ask questions about fees and charges
  • Study the fine print on contracts, brochures and printed material
  • Be wary of financial advice or referrals from mortgage brokers

It is illegal for estate agents to give financial advice.

  Get informed about the property market

Learn as much as possible about every aspect of the property buying and selling process, and the products and services offered by estate agents, legal practitioners, conveyancers and lenders. Knowledge is power.

Research the market value of property in your preferred areas by searching online, attending auctions and speaking with agents.

  Location, location, location

Most people can’t afford to live in their ideal location or house when they buy their first home.

If you're trying to get a foot in the market look at widening your property search. A house on the outskirts of town rather than a central location can offer good value for money and be a great first step into the market.

If you really want to live in a particular area you may have to start small and work your way up. Consider an apartment or a smaller house that you can add to over time.

Properties that are dated or in need of renovation can be a cheaper option for home buyers. Look for a home that is structurally sound and then clean it to your standard. Add a lick of paint here and there to improve the look and renovate as your budget allows.

Take your time and consider things like proximity to schools, transport and amenities for resale value.

  Do not rush into buying property

Never rush or be pressured into making hasty decisions. This is one of the biggest investments of your life, make sure you are committing to the right property for you.

  Before you buy

Before you buy, arrange for building and pest inspections, and have the contract checked by a solicitor/conveyancer before you sign. Make sure the person inspecting your future home is qualified to do so, such as a licensed builder, architect or surveyor.

We suggest you always sit down with one of our lending specialists prior to purchasing your first home. We understand how daunting the process can be and want to provide you with all the information you need to know to make an informed decision when purchasing your first home.

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