Getting down to finally buy a home is probably the biggest financial leap of faith you will ever take - immensely thrilling, but also particularly nerve-wracking given the range of options in real estate and a lack of directional focus on how to start identifying the right fit for your dreams, and budget.
Whether you are a nervous first-timer looking to buying your first house, or a family of four intending to move into a bigger space soon that doesn’t end up burning a hole in your pocket, here are a few critical questions you need to ask before you make the plunge:
1. Can I (we) afford it?
Understanding your financial position and budgetary limits are the prime considerations in the buying process. And while the process is as much emotional as commercial, you need to objectively assess your savings, your borrowing limit, bank interest rates, lender and registration fees, stamp duty, inflation and incidental legal costs before you move ahead with the transaction.
2. How much do I (we) know about the property?
That stunning beach-facing house pegged at a million dollars might seem like all the hype around it is worth your hard-earned money, but you need to investigate thoroughly before getting carried away. Asking your agent why they are selling the house is a good way to start and can even help you renegotiate the price once you learn of the motivation/urgency behind the sale. You can also look at recent sales report of other similar properties in the vicinity, enquire about how long the property has been on the market and/or whether it has been taken to auction and failed to sell, so you don’t end up overpaying for something that may be underwhelming.
3. Where is the house located?
No matter how impressed you are right now with your dream home and its frills, you will quickly come to loathe it if it lies in the midst of a shady neighbourhood, next to a noisy factory or is miles away from any reasonable mode of transportation. Consider your priorities and resources, and make sure you physically survey the area multiple times to get an idea of how best it will serve your needs.
4. Am I (are we) happy with the condition of the property?
A beautiful home in a less-than-perfect locale is a dream gone stale. Termite infestations, leaky roofs and dangerous wiring are just some of the issues properties can be plagued with, so it is essential you obtain appropriate inspections of the house before you commit to living in it. A solicitor or licensed conveyancer can assist you at this stage by arranging for a strata report and the requisite building and pest inspections, so you can be saved the hassle of running around to do it all yourself.
5. What is the legal checklist I (we) need to have in place?
This last step cannot be emphasized enough. Even within the Australian continent, the procedure for buying a house differs from one state to the other. Additionally, there are numerous other legalities involved in a transaction as this is a process only an expert (such as a conveyancer/ solicitor) can assist you with. Researching the title of the property to check for easements or outstanding tax obligations, obtaining necessary permits and investigating possible governmental interest in the land are some of the legal checks and balances you need to be aware of and prepared with so your ownership of the property is not affected later.
The steps it takes from dreaming of your perfect home to getting the keys, is a journey dotted with numerous questions and requirements, however all of which are attainable when you have a vision, a plan and clear steps to get you there.
Are you looking to turn your dream of buying your dream home into a reality? Be sure to download our ‘Easy Guide to Conveyancing’ ebook to guide you along the way.