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What Should You Look out for When Buying a House?

Follow this simple checklist so you don’t miss anything important when buying a house.

Buying your first house is not quite the simple process you may have hoped for. After all, this is probably the most expensive purchase you will make in your lifetime. It pays to be considered and well-researched, so your property dreams don’t quickly turn into a financial nightmare. Here’s all the important stuff you need to know before starting out.

Understand What You Can Realistically Afford

Before you begin your property search it’s important to know what you can borrow and ensure your repayments are affordable. Applying for a pre-approval, either through a mortgage broker or bank directly, will give you a good understanding of your budget. Remember that owning a house comes with a list of expenses including council rates, utility bills, and insurance that need to be considered in your overall monthly expenses. 

Research, Research, Research 

Now that you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for it’s time to start your search. Begin by making a list of all the property requirements you deem essential – these are the things you simply can’t live without. Consider factors such as location, access to amenities and public transport. Know the suburb and the local community, are there shops, cafes, parks and good schools? If you’re planning to live in the city, make sure the property has some proximity to facilities that are important to you. 

Decide What’s Right for You

Take a look at how the property is configured and whether or not this will suit your needs now and in the future. Are the bedrooms too close to the living room? Are there enough bathrooms and good storage? Does the house have internal laundry facilities? Another major thing to consider is the property’s aspect. Natural light can have a serious impact on your overall health and wellbeing at home. Try to find a home that faces north for optimum light and one that has ample windows and some outdoor space. If you’re purchasing a “fixer upper”, ascertain the approximate building costs before you purchase the property. Renovations tend to have a sneaky way of blowing out of budget. 

Do Your Due Diligence 

There are a few things to look out for during the property inspection. When it comes to buying a property, it pays to be thorough. Check the house is structurally sound and stay on top of building issues such as water stains and mould, large cracks along the walls, external roof lines and rust. Make sure there is adequate stormwater drainage and drain holes, so you don’t run into any future flooding problems. While things such as water pressure, power supply, air conditioning and the hot water system may seem insignificant they can make a big impact once you move in. You can arrange a building inspection, which will point out any faults in the house and how easily these can be repaired. It may cost you a few hundred dollars upfront but could save thousands of dollars in the long run. 

Submitting an Offer 

Success! You have found a house you love. Now that you’re ready to place an offer on a property the first step is to ask the agent for a contract of sale. This will then need to be reviewed by a conveyancer or solicitor to make sure there is no serious issues that would prevent you from purchasing the property. You are then able to make a verbal or written offer to the agent. If the offer is accepted, you will need to produce a deposit, which is generally 10 per cent of the agreed purchase price. After contracts have been exchanged you will have a settlement period, which can vary from anywhere between six weeks and three months. On settlement day, you will pay the remaining price of the property and the house is officially transferred to you  – congratulations! 

Be sure to check out our Property page for all the property tips and tricks you might need when buying a property!