Buying your first home is an exciting time in your life. It’s a crucial ‘grown up’ step that will define your life for years to come and, whilst it can be exhilarating, it can also be exhausting and confusing.
If you’re confused and in need of a little advice, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here is everything you need to know before you buy your first home.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that housing - especially in Australia - can be heinously expensive. Before you get ready to buy your first home the most important thing you’ll need to do is to get your finances in order. Realistically you’re not going to be able to save the entire price of the house but a good rule of thumb is to make sure you’ve got enough saved to pay for the deposit. How much will the deposit be? This varies depending on a wide variety of factors so make sure you do some research into what similar houses in similar areas have sold for or consult a professional in the industry.
Saving money can be challenging and tedious and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the process but, fear not, we’re here to help you out with the best tips for staying on track and meeting your savings goal.
The most important thing you can do is create a budget and stick to it! Start by calculating your monthly expenses and breaking down your spending into various categories: food, rent, bills, transportation, entertainment and miscellaneous. As soon as you’ve got an idea of how much you’re spending and what you’re spending your money on, you’ll be able to figure out how to cut back.
As much as it might seem like a bummer in the short term, you can save a significant amount of money by eating at home instead of in a restaurant, catching public transport rather than using rideshare apps or even selling some big ticket items you no longer use or need.
If you’re going to buy your first home, you’ll want it to be as perfect as is practically possible however, when you start to look at the various houses on the market, it can feel overwhelming. The most important thing to consider is why you’re moving to begin with. Is it to be closer to family, to be in a good school district, to accommodate your growing family, to get a little independence, to be in the heart of the action, to be closer to your work, closer to the beach? Once you’ve answered these questions you’ll be able to narrow down the suburb you want to live in. If you’re still not quite sure which suburb would best suit your needs, you might want to check out some suburb guides.
Jumping ahead a bit to after you’ve found your dream home and made an offer, we’re now going to talk you through the settlement process which, unfortunately, entails filling in a lot more paperwork and handing over a lot more money. What is the settlement process? Basically, the settlement period begins the day the property is transferred into your name and continues for 30says in which you have to pay stamp duty and organise your insurance. To read more about settlement, check out this government resource.
Speaking of insurance, what type of policy will you be considering? There’s so much to consider when choosing an insurance policy. For those new to the world of insurance the language can seem impenetrable but just remember to make sure you do the research to find your goldilocks policy, a policy that covers exactly what you need it to. First home buyers are typically drawn to a home insurance policy that covers damage done to permanent fixtures as well as the building itself. Ultimately this policy should give you peace of mind and help you out if your house is damaged by a natural event, theft, vandalism or even if you simply run into a bit of broken glass.
Remember every home is different and it’s important to do your research and consult a professional before making your choice.
Now you’ve found your dream home, signed on the dotted line, managed a mountain of paperwork and have actually moved into your very own house, you can get down to the crucially important step of making your house feel like home. How you do this is entirely up to you but, we suggest you fill it with love, laughter, friends, family and a lot of good food!