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Our top tips for buying your first home

By Courtenay Morrison

Are you planning to buy your first home? It can be stressful learning everything you need to know to make the right decision. Read on for some tips that will help you navigate the process.

1. Know how to secure a loan

Lenders will place certain requirements on you before approving a loan. Each lender’s requirements may be similar, but specific conditions vary. For example, some lenders require proof of a more extended savings history than others.

It is worth remembering that you might not want to choose the lender that to approves the loan the most easily. Ask your family and friends about their experiences with lenders and use websites that help you compare interest rates. Make sure you shop around!

We have an in-house broker who can guide you through this process and find you the loan with the most favourable interest rates, loan terms and fees.

And whatever you do, don’t rush into bidding or making an offer on a home without getting pre-approval for your loan or you may be up for the whole deposit amount if you are unable to move ahead.

2. Know the benefits for first home buyers

The government offers a range of benefits to support first home buyers. These include grants and tax exemptions. First home buyers grants and stamp duty exemptions are the most common forms of these.

To understand current policies, you’ll need to do your research. Have a look at the Housing and Property section of the Australian Federal Government website and the Buying a Home section of MoneySmart.

3. Don’t skimp on professional advice

Professional advice is invaluable for all property buyers. While it may be tempting to avoid the extra cost of seeking professional help, the investment is worth it when you think about the amount of money you are putting on the line.

Do your due diligence and source a strata report, building inspection and pest inspection before you finalise anything. You don’t want any nasty (and expensive) surprises down the track.

When it comes to the final stages, make sure a solicitor with property expertise or a qualified conveyancer reviews your contract before you sign. They can also advise you about all aspects of the process of transferring the legal title of the property to you.

4. Other sources of information about the property

On top of professional advice, you can also do your research to source information about the property you’re interested in. Look for environmental hazards that could place the property at risk and drive up insurance costs, like bushfire and flood zones. Check with the government and local council for zoning regulations and proposed developments that could impact on the property.

If the home you’re interested in is part of a complex, read the strata by-laws that apply to it to check that the complex is the right fit for you. Try to visit the area at different times of the day and on weekends to check things like neighbourhood noise levels.

Remember, you can never do too much preparation! Putting the time into carefully working through these tips will help ensure your first home buying experience is a positive one.  As always, get in touch if you would like some help and advice.

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