Owning your own home is definitely the dream of every Australian couple but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Follow the basic steps that we have laid out below and you will end up with the right home for you. So where to start?
1. WHAT ADVICE SHOULD YOU SEEK TO GET STARTED?
There are three people whose advice you should not overlook when buying a home.
a) Someone that can give you strong financial advice like a reputable Mortgage Broker who can advise you on the best place to get a loan to suit your needs
b) A top-rate conveyancer who will help you through the contractual obligations involved in buying your dream home and help protect you from pitfalls
c) A Real Estate Agent who does more than just work to sell the house for the vendor but wants to see both the buyer and the seller walk away happy with the transaction.
2. HOW BIG IS YOUR DREAM?
First up you need to decide what sort of home you want versus what sort of home you need. Is it just for the two of you or do you have children…or are you planning to start a family reasonably soon and how much “growth space” will you need? Do you prefer a house, a flat or unit style accommodation? If your children are old, enough where do they go to school? Where do you work and how will you get there every day? What sort of lifestyle do you want and where would you feel most comfortable living?Once you have considered all of this, and probably several more things we haven’t mentioned, you should now have an idea of the sort of place you are looking for.
Now you start checking the online real estate companies and reading the local real estate guides and you will very quickly come to understand that the price of your dream home will vary greatly depending, basically, on three things…
3. IS YOUR INCOME AS BIG AS YOUR DREAM?
Establishing how much you can afford to pay is a difficult task but you need to find this out before you go shopping and this is the time to visit the Mortgage Broker or Bank Manager to see what they will lend you. Once you know how much you can afford to spend you can start looking with confidence and be in a position to buy the moment you find the right place.
4. START WINDOW SHOPPING
Now that you know roughly what you can afford and have a clear idea of which suburbs or areas are right for your needs and lifestyle, you can start house hunting. This is where the knowledge of a good Real Estate Agent is invaluable.
You need to be aware that the Real Estate Agent is there to represent the vendor. That said, a good Agent understands that buying a home can be a WIN/WIN situation for both parties if handled the right way. At ONEAGENCY we pride ourselves on working for a result that gives the vendor a good return for the sale of their home and still gives the buyer value for money.
5. MAKING AN OFFER
This is a process of negotiation and there are many things that can affect the final price. Here are a few things to think about:
Before making an offer, investigate prices in the area.
- Are they going up or down?
- Is the price that the vendor is asking in line with current prices in the area? If it is below there may be a reason. If it is above the vendor may be asking too much.
- How long has the property been on the market? The price that the vendor is asking may have been the right one 6 months ago but prices may have changed a lot over that period.
- Make sure that the vendor knows that the whole deal will be reliant upon an inspection of the property.
- If the price range on the home is set at say “between $250,000.00 and $280,000.00” please don’t offer $180,000.00. If prices in the area have dropped tell the Agent what you have discovered and let them go back to the vendor. Otherwise you run the risk of alienating the vendor and making further negotiation difficult. Always be guided by the Agent but, as we said earlier, remember that the Agent is primarily representing the vendor.
- When negotiating, always remember that you don’t get what you don’t ask for, so don’t be frightened to ask the question. How hard you push for what you are asking is the next step. As a guideline in this area try working with the BATNA theory.
If you want to know more about it, just follow this link:
The Batna Theory Explained.
6. CONTRACTS, AGREEMENTS AND JARGON
So you have found a place that fits the bill and you have been given an agreement to sign to get things started. How much of the agreement do you understand let alone all the ramifications of signing it?
You need professional advice and there are two ways to get it. Go to a solicitor or a conveyancer. In Australia there is little difference between the two when it comes to getting the right advice for buying a home although you may find that the conveyancer is quite a bit cheaper.
There are a lot of pitfalls in this area and you MUST get them all pointed out to you so you do not get caught out. For example if you have signed the contract but have not yet taken possession, who is responsible for insurance cover if the house burns to the ground?
7. GET AN INSPECTION WITH A WRITTEN REPORT
Your mortgage broker will probably be of great assistance here, in fact they may even insist on this being done. After all, you are buying the house but they want to be certain that the house has no problems, either structurally or legally, before they give you the money. Otherwise if you default they may also suffer from those difficulties in trying to recover their money.
8. CLOSING THE DEAL
As the close draws near you will need to make sure that you have everything you need to complete the transaction. With the assistance of those three important people we noted in item one you should have all the correct documentation ready to be signed, payment to the right person for the house should be in place and you should not have any questions left to answer. If you still have concerns as the close draws near, make sure you check with the appropriate people to get those questions answered…do not leave it until the last minute. That includes if there are any additional costs to pay over and above the cost of the purchase.
“Closing” is a formal meeting will take place in in the office of one of the interested parties, for example the solicitor or conveyancer
9. THE BIG PICTURE
During the entire process, one of the most difficult things to do is to keep your eye on “the Big Picture”. You are buying a new home, somewhere to build your future. Always make plans to cover the long term so you can weather the ups and downs that will come your way. Some of us can still remember when housing interest rates rose to 17% instead of around 5% like they are now. Never stretch yourself so far that you have not got a little room to stretch further if the need arises.
Thanks for taking the time to read through these tips and we hope that they will be of benefit to you, especially if this is your first venture into the housing market…and don’t forget…at ONEAGENCY we are here to help you and that help is only a phone call away.
If the phone is not handy, feel free to simple click this link and send us an email. We will get back to you extremely quickly.