5 Common Mistakes
Buying your first property should be one of the most exciting times of your life, however for many it can quickly become one of the most stressful.
On top of all the decisions to be made, you’ll be exposed to a heap of advice which may cause you to question yourself. We’re not saying to disregard all advice, but wanted to share with you some of the common mistakes that first home buyers experience.
Believing that your first home IS NOT an emotional purchase
We’ve all heard stories of disappointment, where people you know have become emotionally invested in a property, only to see it go to someone else. For some it might happen multiple times before finally settling into their home.
You can put on your armour and tell yourself to be hard-nosed and pragmatic about the process, but the reality is that you (or your partner) will fall in love with a property or two on the ride and not necessarily for the right reasons.
Our advice is to have a “real life” checklist and stick to it. In addition to your common essentials such as number of bedrooms, location etc… consider this:
- What stage of life are you at?
Just married and wanting kids in the next couple of years? Perhaps a unit in ‘the perfect’ location isn’t the best decision.
- Where is your work based?
Your dream home might be an hour’s drive away which doesn’t seem that far when you ‘looooveee’ the house. But how long can you really cope sitting in an air conditioned car, train or bus for two hours every working day?
- So it’s a ‘do-up’. But can you REALLY do-it-up yourself? Us Australian’s are a pretty capable bunch, but do you really have the time, know-how and resources to do it yourself?
- Where’s your support network?
How far away are you prepared to be from your family and friends? You may be able to live without them now, but if things were to change and you needed them in your life would the distance work?
- What are your other ‘wants’?
Do you have pets to consider? Are you an avid gardener? Do you need a garage to tinker in? If these things are important to you put them on your checklist and don’t compromise.
If you’ve found a house you love, chances are that someone else has fallen in love with it too. Who gets it will come down to speed, budget and the determination to make it happen. Don’t ponder. Get your finance sorted now, line up your dream team (see mistake #3) and be ready to act – fast.
Tip: you need to have a budget in mind and stick to it, but if you have room for a small buffer it could make all the difference.
Not having your ‘home dream team’ lined up
You need to know and trust everyone in your team, so that when it comes time to act they’re ready and willing to help make it happen for you. This includes your broker, lawyer, property valuer, agent and building inspector.
We also recommend you have a personal advisor as part of your team – a family member or friend whose opinion you trust. Listen to what they have to say and get them to take a look at your checklist.
Skimming over the contract
Be very clear about the sale conditions on the property, paying close attention to the chattels listed. If in doubt, put it in the contract.
We’ve heard of a case where a guy took all his light switch fittings with him when he sold!
Not knowing which market you’re in
There are three different types of markets and it pays to know which one you’re in:
A sellers market
Less properties for sale, houses getting snapped up fast, prices firm and rising, and all power sitting in the hands of the seller. If this is the market you’re in, be prepared to act fast and pay the asking price (and some).
A balanced market
The market is pretty active, with properties steadily coming on and selling in a realistic time frame. In this instance you might have a bit more time up your sleeve, but still need to be prepared to take action.
A buyers market
If you’re lucky enough to be buying in this market the power will be in your hands. There will be plenty of properties to choose from, less urgency and sellers will have a greater willingness to negotiate on price.
When you’re buying your first home it’s natural to feel a little anxious facing so many major decisions at once. We can take some of that stress (but not the excitement!) out of buying your first home.