Top tips for buying your first home

To help make your first home buying experience as stress-free as possible, here are 10 tips from property valuer and industry expert Gavin Hegney.

10 tips for buying your first home

1. Know your deal breakers

Whether it’s the location you want to buy in, the size or type of your property, or features you’re looking for, having a list of reasonable ‘must haves’ can help you narrow down your search.

2. Take advice but use it carefully

“Property is a very unique and a personal thing,” according to Gavin. While it’s important to listen to advice from your friends, family or real estate agents, you should think about your circumstances and goals when you make your decisions.

3. Think about property value

Your property isn’t just your home, it’s the land as well. The building itself goes down in value by around 2% each year, but land usually rises in value over time, so it’s good to know how much the land and building are worth separately.

4. Keep an eye on sales figures

Sales figures give you an idea of whether prices are moving up or down in the area you want to buy in. When figures go down, prices usually follow.

“If you see for sales signs staying up longer, then sales volumes are probably dropping. But if you see ‘sold’ and ‘under offer’ occurring quite quickly, then sales volumes are probably increasing.”

5. Try before you buy

Estimate your regular home loan repayments, insurance, property maintenance, council rates and other costs, and start putting that money aside to see if it impacts your lifestyle.

6. Beware of bargains

When it comes to property, most people want a bargain. But a cheap buy isn’t always a good buy – “it’s usually cheap for a reason.”

Holding out until you can afford a property in better condition could save you costs in the long run.

7. Buy for your future needs

Think about whether you’ll want space for kids, a dog or a pool in a few years’ time.

The costs of buying and selling property can make it expensive to move houses regularly, so finding one that will meet your needs now and in the future is the key.

8. Location, position, timing

Location is a big factor, but Gavin says the position of the property within a suburb is important too. “There might be a particular pocket within a suburb that’s nicer, if it has a park or nice street, that’s ideally what you’re looking for within the suburb.”

Think about the timing of the property cycle when you’re buying your home – it can impact the overall value of your property.

9. Get conditional approval

Before you find your perfect property, it’s a good idea to get conditional approval for your home loan.

That way, you'll know what your budget is and you'll be in a stronger position to negotiate with the sales agent.

10. Make your contract work for you

If you have any concerns about a property, make sure to put them in as a condition of your contract. For example, if you have concerns about the quality of old renovations, include a clause in the contract that it’s subject to a building inspection.

Watch the recap

Gavin Hegney: First Home Buyer event

To help make your first home buying experience less stressful, here are some top tips from property valuer and industry expert Gavin Hegney.

Video transcript (PDF)

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