Whether you are buying a home to live-in or as an investment, you need to approach the process in a methodical manner. Purchasing a property is an exciting time but it can also be a daunting task not knowing where to start. You will have lots of questions that you need answering. This simple guide takes you through the process from your initial research to moving in.
Step 1: Calculate Your Budget
Before getting serious with your property search, it's a good idea to work out how much you can afford to borrow and on what terms. This is to ensure that you are not pressured financially and can comfortably afford the mortgage repayments. This amount will also dictate your 'best' purchase price and budget limit when it comes to negotiations later.
These days property finance is available from a variety of sources, not just the big banks. It goes without saying that you should shop around carefully and look for the best deal to suit your specific needs. Once you have done your homework, the process of searching for your new home can begin!
Step 2: Research Your Preferred Areas
Research your preferred areas and get a feel for the market. Take your time to inspect every property for sale in your preferred areas, attend any auctions and study the internet and local newspaper for price guidance. Habjan & Cain are able to offer additional advice and also alert you to new listings before they reach the market place.
Step 3: Choose Your Solicitor
There is a lot of paperwork associated with buying a property, which a solicitor or conveyancing agent can assist you with. They also have a duty to protect your interests, so they will carry out 'searches' on the legal aspects of a property such as easements, boundaries and inclusions etc related to the sale. Most solicitors are happy to explain anything you do not understand, so if there is something that isn't quite clear, don't be afraid to ask. Your solicitor will also liaise with your lender and act on your behalf at settlement when the property ownership is finally transferred to you.
Step 4: Inspecting A Property
Now you have an idea of what you can afford and have a list of essential requirements it's time to find your ideal property. Be methodical and carefully consider the property features – does the home suit your needs? It's tempting to become attached to a home that looks good, but doesn't have the things you really want.
- How many bedrooms do you need?
- Are the living areas large enough?
- Is there enough storage space for you?
- Does the home need renovations or modernising?
- Is the location and aspect suitable – is traffic noise a problem?
- Do you need a school, park or public transport nearby?
- Is there enough covered car parking, or space for a boat?
- Consider security, fencing and air conditioning. Is there any?
- Has a Building & Pest Inspection be done recently?
- Is there a Body Corporate, if so what are my responsibilities?
Conduct as many inspections as you feel necessary to check every aspect of the property before making an offer to purchase. Be informed and do your homework.
Step 5: Making An Offer
Remember that the price the vendor is asking for is not necessarily the price they will finally accept. Your initial offer can be lower than the asking price, however if there has been a lot of interest in the property it would be wise to make an offer close to the asking price to avoid disappointment. Immediately after negotiations have been finalised, you will be required to sign a legally binding contract of sale and pay the agreed deposit amount. We also recommend that you take out sufficient insurance cover on the property to protect against any unforeseen occurrence prior to settlement.
Step 6: Booking a Building Inspection
A full building and pest inspection of the property by a reputable specialist will highlight it's current structural condition and make you aware of any potential problems eg, termites, white ants etc. It is better to spend a little money now and know what you are buying than face the heartache of expensive repair bills in the future. If problems are discovered, you are within your rights to either re-negotiate the contract or withdraw your offer and request a full refund of your deposit.
Step 7: Settlement Day
We're nearly there! So long as you are satisfied with the building and pest reports and given the financier has agreed to provide sufficient funds to complete the contract of sale, the contract of sale now becomes un-conditional. The sale is now legally binding and a settlement date is set. Just before settlement takes place we recommend a pre-settlement inspection is carried out. This is just to ensure the property is in the same condition as your last inspection and that any items included in the contract of sale remain in the property. On the settlement day agreed, both parties' solicitors sit down together and the mortgage funds are transferred from your solicitor to the sellers' solicitors. Congratulations, the property is now yours!
Step 8: Moving In!
Okay, so you've collected the keys and you're ready to move in. If you are planning an interior re-paint of the home or perhaps replacing old flooring it may be a good idea to finish this before moving in furniture and packing boxes. You should also contact the utilities companies such as Ergon, Telstra et al to make sure you have power and connections ready, and don't forget to ask the Post Office to redirect your mail. Your first mortgage payment should leave your designated bank account about a month after you move in. Enjoy your new home!