When you’re going through the process of buying your first property, you start to realise just how many things you need to consider – some you’ve been warned of, others come out of the blue. If only there was quick checklist to make sure we were prepared for everything. These are the checklists I wish I had:
Ask yourself, have I;
1. Budgeted for the following:
- Mortgage insurance – if you need it (try to avoid it by having a 20% deposit)
- Stamp duty
- Ongoing loan repayments
- Electricity, water, council & internet bills
- Insurance (e.g: contents, building and potentially landlord if you’re investing – yep the bills just keep coming!)
- Strata fees (if you’re buying an apartment).
Plus don’t forget these come as part of the hunting process:
- Building and pest inspections costs
- legal costs to review contracts – if you’re interested in placing an offer, you’ll need to get the contract reviewed.
- admin and registration fees
- Strata record inspections (if buying an apartment)
2. Looked for these things at the property inspections
Being aware of the below can help you avoid future costs and better understand the value of your property. It’s helpful to have someone who has been through the process before with as they are often aware of these things and can help you ask the right questions:
- Cracks on the walls;
- The way the property is facing – will the property get the morning or afternoon sun?
- Signs of mould dampness on the walls – s there natural light?
- That the taps and toilets are working properly and water pressure
- The title of the property
- The age and condition of heating and cooling units, hot water service and building
- Roof integrity if you’re buying a house
- What appliances come with the property i,e dishwasher.
Make sure you are aware of the external features that will impact the value and interest in your property down the track, like
- Is public transport nearby?
- How far are you from the closest shopping centre?
- Are there good schools nearby?
- Are there cafes & parks close by?
- Is it a safe area for families?
- What are the neighbours like…if you really like a place, it pays to go to a few inspections and get a sense for the neighbours.
3. Got loan pre-approval
Whilst you’re attending property inspections, reach out to a lender and apply for a loan pre-approval so you’re in a position to put down an offer when you find a place. Be aware that loan pre-approval comes down to the financial institutions’ assessment of your ability to pay back the loan by considering;
- Employment history
- Credit card rating
- Living expenses,
- Size of your deposit and loan you’re requesting.
Keep in mind that your financial options differ if you’re applying for an owner-occupier loan or investor loan.
4. Completed the following before making an offer:
As the buyer it’s your responsibility to make sure that you know what you’re paying for……
- Had a qualified professional complete a building inspection to ensure the property is structurally sound
- Had a lawyer review the contract
- Reviewed the stara records and the sinking fund (apartment only) to ensure there is a healthy amount sitting there.
5. Got my emotions in check to make an offer
- Be clear on your absolute maximum you can afford when making an offer. Remove your emotions before making an offer.
6. Educated myself on the steps involved post having your offer accepted
- Signing the contract and other fun legal paperwork.
- Cooling off period – The ‘Cooling off period’ is: a set number of days after you make a purchase in which you can say, “Thanks, but no thanks. I want to cancel my transaction.” If you take the option to cancel your legal agreement, you may have to pay the seller a termination fee, but in some circumstances, it can be worth paying the price. Key to note, the cooling-off period is not available everywhere or under every circumstance. Domain has more on it here.
- Settlement – this is a period you can negotiate to allow you enough time to conduct the required searches and reviews if they aren’t already complete. Check out Domain’s article here on the settlement period.
- Moving in or leasing the property out
- Taking out insurances