Things to Look for When Buying Your First Home
Buying your first home is one of life’s greatest milestones, but it is also a challenge that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are a few of the key points to consider if you hope to find a place that fits you and your needs perfectly.
The right home for you needs to be in the right location, in particular somewhere that will be easy for you to get to and from work. If you drive to work, think about how long your commute will be, or if you catch public transport make sure your new place is on or near a convenient route. If you are bothered by noise, look for a location that has a lower population density, and always do some research to find out if the area is safe.
Your perfect first home needs to be one that you can actually afford, so the best approach is to work out your budget before you even start looking at potential places. Talk to you bank, your accountant and your financial planner to determine what you can afford and don’t even consider any place that is outside of your budget. If you plan on borrowing money, only borrow what you will be capable of repaying, because unless you can keep up your repayments you may lose your new place before you have had a chance to enjoy it.
Everyone has different priorities when it comes to amenities they’d like to have close by, so make a list of which ones are important to you and look for a place that ticks all the right boxes. If you have kids or are thinking about starting a family, make sure that there is a school, park and medical services nearby, and if you have a favourite way to stay fit and active, be sure you will have an easy way to do so locally. When making your list be clear on which amenities are vital and which ones you could live without, as this will make it a lot easier when you are contemplating potential homes.
It is not always easy to spot the flaws in a house or apartment, so make sure you enlist the help of someone that knows what they are looking for. If you have a friend in the building industry have them come with you to check out homes you are considering, as they can help point out problems you may not have otherwise noticed. Regardless, don’t buy anything until you have had it thoroughly checked out by a professional building inspector.
Even if you think you have found the perfect new home, before you buy anything, first consider whether your wants and needs may change over the coming years. Regardless of whether you might be planning a family, to start a home based business or buy a second car, make sure that any potential new home will be able to accommodate your changing needs. If you think you may want to do any renovations down the track, find out if the local council will allow it, as this may determine whether or not a potential property will prove suitable.
Reading the Market
The housing market is in a constant state of flux, but if you do your research, get advice and know what to look for, you will have a far better chance of recognising a good time to buy. Start out by learning the basics, such as how interest rates work as well as which areas are popular and why. Get to know your local real estate agent and spend some time each week reading about the latest trends and analysis of the market. It can also help to attend local auctions as a spectator to get a sense of housing prices and the level of competition. Only once you have a solid grasp on how the market works should you even consider looking for a place of your own, and even then you should always seek out professional advice.
New vs. Needing Renovations
One of the biggest decisions you will face as a first home buyer is whether to buy a home that requires renovations or not. You can often save a considerable amount of money if you are willing to put in some time and effort renovating; however, unless you know what you are doing and have the skills to do so, it can end up costing you more in the long run. It can often be worth paying a little extra money for a place that has been renovated already, as this way you can start enjoying it as soon as you move in.
Even though you may plan on living in your first new home for many years, it is wise to consider the investment potential of any property you are thinking about purchasing. Look into whether local property values are going up or down, consider how attractive it may be to potential renters and think ahead to what the future may hold for the area. Regardless of if you ever plan to sell, buying a home is a significant investment and it is always good for such a large asset to be increasing rather than decreasing in value.
Buying your first home is extremely exciting and if you take a careful approach you may find a place that you will live in for the rest of your life. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a purchase, follow your instincts and enjoy the search!