You’ve scrimped and saved up a healthy deposit for a home and you’re ready to take your first step on the property ladder. But before you do, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking the right steps.
Here are 8 common mistakes of first-time property buyers, and how you can avoid them.
1. Taking on too much debt
One of the biggest mistakes a first home buyer can make is taking on more debt than their budget can comfortably handle. While a lender will assess the home loan applicant(s) income, expenses and dependents, it is still up to the borrower to decide whether they’re comfortable taking on that much debt.
Generally, if your home loan repayments exceed 30 per cent of your income you’re considered to be in “mortgage stress”. Just because you can afford bigger repayments doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest path to take for your finances. If you’re no longer able to save and find yourself pinching every penny because of your home loan, you may have taken on too much debt.
2. Choosing a high rate mortgage
Another common trap first home buyers fall into is not doing their due diligence and accepting the first high rate mortgage offered to them. This is not uncommon with borrowers who stick with the same bank they’ve been with their whole lives.
First home buyers may end up paying thousands more in interest repayments by not researching what low rate options are out there. Reduce Home Loans has consistently been a leading low rate lender for first home buyers in Australia since its inception. With rates sitting under the 2 per cent mark, why not compare low rate first home buyer loans today.
3. Looking at costly suburbs
If your heart is set on buying your first property in your dream suburb, you may find yourself priced out of the market or taking on greater mortgage debt than you can handle. This is why it’s often recommended that first home buyers consider other “bridesmaid” suburbs around their dream suburb when buying their first property.
After all, it’s called a property ladder for a reason. You’re supposed to climb it until you can comfortably afford your dream home in your ideal, more-costly suburb.
4. Not looking around the neighbourhood
Even if you’re looking in other suburbs, another common mistake first home buyers can make is looking only at the house and not the neighbourhood itself.
What is the property’s distance to public transport? How easily can the household inhabitants easily reach their workplace? What are the property values of the neighbouring houses and are they on the rise or decline? If you have, or are planning on starting a family, is it close to good schools? What is the community like? What green spaces are there, such as parks, and how easily can you access them from the property?
There are a multitude of questions first time property buyers should be asking themselves about the neighbourhood before they commit to a home.
5. Overlooking professional inspections
Just because a current owner or real estate agent has paid for a professional inspection, doesn’t mean you don’t have to as well. This is a very common mistake that can cost first time buyers dearly in repairs.
First time buyers will want to contact an independent (and well-reviewed) professional to inspect their potential property – and one that has not been recommended by the real estate agent. A building inspector will be honest and give you a realistic breakdown of faults existing in the property.
Minor faults may be easily fixed, but major ones will influence the true cost of the property you purchase. If you’re sinking a few extra tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into the property because of major faults, you may want to look elsewhere. This is why professional, independent inspections are invaluable for first time buyers.
6. Heart over head
While you want to love the property you’re buying, you don’t want this emotion to completely drive the sale. First time buyers need to keep a level head throughout the whole home buying application.
If there are issues that arise with the property, you don’t want to overlook these just because of your emotions. Also, it’s still a deal after all, and if the real estate or owner suspects you feel this way then they ultimately will have more bargaining power in the sale itself.
7. Neglecting additional costs
It’s not just a deposit you need to save for to get your first property. You also need to factor in additional, upfront costs.
These may include:
- Stamp duty (depending on your state or territory)
- Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI)
- Solicitor costs
- Conveyancing costs
- Building and pest inspections
- Removalist costs (if living in a new property)
- Home and contents insurance
8. Advice from family and friends
It’s not uncommon to receive an inundation of advice from family and friends when buying your first property. But problems can arise when you only take the advice of family and friends.
There are a range of resources available for first home buyers to help them learn about not only the buying process but also the home loan process too. A mortgage broker can be a great help in the mortgage process, but they also have industry knowledge of the property market.
Home loan guides and calculators can also be a handy tool for first home buyers. Calculate how much you may be able to borrow on a home loan through a borrowing power calculator, and work out how big a mortgage your budget can handle through a mortgage repayment calculator.
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