Ready to take the plunge and buy a new home? Work out which is the right house for you using this six-step checklist.
1. Work out your budget. It has to be in range you can service comfortably.
If you haven't already done one, you can do a budget really easily with this handy 50-30-20 budgeting tool. Don't forget to think about stamp duty, fees and insurances. Pepper's range of mortgage calculators are another useful resource to work out how much your loan repayments might be, or which suburbs you should be exploring based on your budget.
Talk to a broker, or a lending specialist from our team and find out if you can get pre-approval for a home loan. They can help you through all the paper work, so you're ready to go.
2. Work out your personal checklist and then rate each property to see what comes out on top:
To help you with this, we have created an easy-to-use homebuyer checklist that you can download and take with you to viewings to record your notes.
3. Go to Open Homes as early as possible - and go prepared
Try to go to Open Homes as soon as you can. That way, if you're really keen on a place, you've got time to see it again. Plus you've got more time to do your research (it’s called ‘due diligence’), like reading all the necessary reports, conducting inspections, arranging your finance and getting the legal paperwork sorted.
While you’re there, the agent will ask you lots of things but make sure you ask the agent all the stuff you need to know:
- How long has it been on the market?
- What have nearby properties sold for recently?
- How much are the strata or council fees (if applicable)?
- Was it owner occupied or rented out?
- What schools is it zoned for?
- Have there been any alterations done?
- Are all alterations permitted and certified?
- Which gear [chattels] will stay with the house?
- Where are the property boundaries?
- What is the current council valuation and what are the annual rates?
- Are they aware of any zoning restrictions?
- Are there any covenants or restrictions registered on the title?
- Are there any issues with property maintenance or damage that the agent knows about? (Such as collapsed drains or leaking)?
4. Take all the info away with you [yours and theirs] and go through it to make comparison lists of different places you look at.
When you've been through 10 Open Homes, it’s impossible to remember which one had the breakfast bar and which one had the ensuite. Salespeople normally have information for you take away from an open home. Make sure you take it.
Remember to take a pen so you can make your own notes about the property on your personal checklist – and about what the agent said in answer to your questions.
Then rank different places against your agreed checklist to make sure you’re thinking clearly and not getting carried away by a place that doesn’t have enough of what you need, or that is too much money.
Which one gets the biggest ticks?
5.When you like a place, you should still get a proper building inspection done on the:
- Building materials of the house
- Insulation and heating
- Roof, walls and ceilings
- Cracks or signs of erosion
- Electrical wiring
6. If it all looks good then work out what your range is to make an opening offer.
Don’t go over your budget. And don’t get disheartened if you miss out. There’s always another place out there for you.