A guide to buying your first home

By Kirsten Friedli

Buying your first home is a big step, but also an exciting one! There is quite a bit to consider before buying your first home. To make things easier, we’ve put together a list of items to review before purchasing.

A good place to start is to draw up a budget of what you can realistically afford, factoring-in any additional expenses to home ownership (covered below under Additional Costs). Once you’ve drafted a personal budget, the next step is to talk to a mortgage broker about the best home loan on the market for you. Pre-approval makes the lending process a lot easier when it comes time to formally apply for a home loan.

It’s vital to do your due diligence before buying a home. This means inspecting the property in person, and ensuring the proper building and pest inspections are carried out. Building and pest inspections do incur a cost, however they ensure there is no structural damage or serious damage from pests, such as termites, which can potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.

Doing your due diligence is essential no matter the method of sale, however, if the home you are interested in is being sold via auction, you will need to carry out and incur the costs of building and pest inspections before the auction – even though you may not be the successful bidder.

This is because sales by auction are not subject to the usual conditions of sale – they have no “cooling off” period, and the sale at the auction event is final.

In New South Wales, there are a couple of government purchase incentives for first home buyers. There is the First Home Owner’s Grant Scheme, that is $10,000.00 towards buying the property (for eligible purchasers), and aFirst Home Buyers Assistance Scheme, which is exemption or a reduction on stamp duty costs. For more information go to the NSW Government’s Revenue Office website at www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/grants-schemes/

Apart from a home deposit and the ongoing cost of mortgage repayments, there are other costs you should be aware of before buying your first home:

Stamp duty. Stamp duty can be a considerable cost to factor-in when buying your first home. The amount of stamp duty you’ll pay is dependent on the state you’re buying the property in. Some states also have first home buyer concessions or exemptions on stamp duty. Stamp duty can also be borrowed as part of your home loan.

Lawyers/conveyancing fees. It is a good idea to have a solicitor or conveyancer look over the contract of sale and mortgage documents before signing a sale agreement. Fees can vary.

Building and pest inspections costs. As mentioned, it’s definitely worth investing in a one-off building and pest inspection before signing a contract, or as part of a condition of sale to ensure your potential home is structurally sound and pest free.

Home and contents insurance. Remember that home insurance is
an essential part of the home-buying process. Insuring your home is something that needs to be organised and ready to take effect as soon as you settle on your property, not necessarily the date you move in. So, make sure you have looked at your options and have chosen the premium that best suits your needs and budget.

At Harcourts The Property People we have many properties for sale suited to first home buyers. Visit www.propertypeople.net.au, or contact our office on 4628 7444 for more information.