So you're thinking about buying a place? Great! Before you jump the gun and sign your life away, take a moment to give some considered thought to how you'll go about it. People often spend more time planning their holidays than buying a house.
1. Think beyond the price tag
Spend a moment doing the very necessary task of putting together a few numbers about how much each repayment will be and add up the other costs of property - stamp duty, legal fees, rates, body corporate fees, utilities, repairs, gardening and perhaps land tax, property management, depreciation reports. Factor in a few interest rate rises - at the moment the sun is shining but give yourself room to breathe. Use a bright green pen or the kids' crayons if it makes you smile a little while doing this most dreary task. It'll be over soon and you know you should do it - get it over with straight up!
2. Buying the property first
By this I mean falling in love with the house itself. Step back and firstly consider your overall goals and how they align with the area, and narrow down to a shortlist of suburbs before choosing a particular house. Would you be happy living closer to the lake, or walking distance to your favourite cafe (or both)? It's important to get your desired characteristics written down now, as it helps enormously when it comes time to compare properties. Be clear about what you want and prioritise that list, whether that's leafy tree-lined streets or oodles of natural light otherwise you may find yourself sitting in a South-facing dark box berating yourself for forgetting that wish-list.
3. Verbal offers
I hate it when things turn into 'he said, she said'. Purchasing property boils down to a legal transaction at settlement day when all is said and done. Make sure you're covering yourself by putting things in writing. Present your offer in a considered manner and put pen to paper. Not only does it look far more professional but you have recourse if the agent refuses to present your offer (yes, it does happen) and a paper trail to refer back to if the proverbial hits the fan.
This one makes me despair more than any other. A property is a large financial transaction, for many the single biggest purchase you'll make. When you're shopping around and the budget starts to shift, you think what's another 40 grand in the scheme of things? What?! It's a lot of holidays, or school fees, or much needed funds for charity - whatever floats your boat. The point is, you can put that money to better use than mortgage repayments. For every dollar you borrow from the bank, you'll pay around $3 back in interest. So that cool 40k suddenly costs you more like $120,000.00 - and that's why compounding interest is the 8th wonder of the world. I have seen many sellers in strife as they paid far too much back when they bought it, only to find the market has been flat for the past few years and it they are looking down the barrel of suffering a big fat loss. Please, do your research and do it well. If you're not confident with the process or lack the time to do so, I'm always here to help.