Buying your first family home is a significant milestone – here’s some tips on what to think about before you apply for a mortgage.

The best way to ensure your first-home buying experience is a happy one is to enter the home-buying market with the confidence that comes from knowledge based on careful research.

Things To Think About Before Buying Your First Home

Whether your home is for personal use or investment purposes will change the questions slightly – and your answers – but these basics are worth thinking about before you buy your first property:

There are so many things to think about and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Before you lock yourself in to the long-term commitment of a mortgage, it’s important to slow down and take the time to make sure you know the sort of property you really want/can afford. Making a mistake can be costly. Here are some to avoid.

Five Mistakes to Avoid Before Buying Your First Home 

1. Being unrealistic about renovation/repair costs

Unless you’re buying a brand new home, factoring ongoing maintenance, renovations and repairs to the cost of your home purchase is important. Yes, the sale price may fall into your home loan budget but if you can’t enjoy the home without a new toilet/extra bedroom/ updated kitchen – and you can’t afford to do the work – it’s a false economy and may not be the best buy for you.

Asbestos removal is something else to consider. It’s expensive. If asbestos is a problem in a first home you’re looking at, think carefully and be sure to cost the professional removal of it into your budget.

2. Ignoring the opportunity to do a home inspection

Home inspections are about more than deciding if you like the colour scheme and can imagine your bed against the back wall. Before you buy one of the most significant items of your lifetime, it’s important to get it checked by professionals who can explain all the potential issues. You wouldn’t buy a car without getting a mechanic to make sure it was running properly, so why consider investing in a home without understanding any potential problems?

3. Not researching the neighborhood

And we mean thorough research. Look at everything from crime statistics to local council development plans to find out if the neighborhood has all the ingredients you need to provide the positive environment you’ve been hoping for.

4. Overlooking the little details that annoy you

That lino on the lounge room floor – and everywhere else in the house – might be something you think you’re happy to overlook for now but if your budget is tight and there is no surplus to invest in new carpet, you might be stuck with that ugly lino for a long time to come. Can you really handle it? If the reality is that you’ve had to buy at this price because there is nothing else in your budget, then you’ve got to accept the reality of your situation and learn to smile. But if it’s going to make you so frustrated and mad, you need to have a focused strategy – and that could mean saving for a bit longer to find the house that ticks some more of those happy boxes.

5. Not understanding the length of your commute

Yes, the property is in your price range because it’s 47 kilometres from your CBD office. But is the savings really worth it if you’re doomed to spend multiple hours each week stuck in traffic (those petrol costs!) or public transport? Even if the house is closer to work, lots of people don’t properly explore their daily transport options and end up committed to properties they find unworkable.

If you can’t actually test drive the commute for a few days at different times and traffic conditions for yourself do your research on Google maps to make sure you know what you’re about to sign up for before you sign on the dotted line for your first home loan.

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

Barry and his team provide a highly knowledgeable, reliable and professional level of finance advisory and arrangement to both myself and my clients.

This service reflects particularly well on my property education business and the feedback from my clients is consistently positive after Barry and his team have been engaged.

I highly recommend Barry and his team to assist you or your clients with any finance needs.



Did you hear the one about the Melbourne landlord who installed a pay-per-flush toilet in his rental property? When the story hit the social media headlines, it attracted a lot of attention and, even though the story was rumoured to be a fake, the fact that it resonated with so many tenants across Australia highlighted the reality that many tenants do have difficult relationships with their landlords – and far too many people have stories about truly dodgy landlords.

On the flip-side, establishing a reputation as a great landlord is a much smarter way to go – especially because it leads to happier tenants that are more likely to be loyal and satisfied, which saves you money and stress in re-advertising to re-let your investment property and multiple weeks in lost rental income.

Fact? Better landlords attract better tenants.

To help you become a better landlord and protect your investment property, try these practical tips:

7 Ways to Make Your Tenants Feel Welcome

1. Settle them into the neighbourhood

Your tenant may be new to the neighbourhood, so making them feel at home can make a huge difference. A welcome pack with information about the local supermarket, milk bar, café, bakery and local park is a lovely way to introduce them to their new life in your investment property. Finding and printing a list of local traders from the online world is easy.

2. Write them a welcome note

A brief note to welcome them to the property, including details about any unique features, plus information about rubbish bin night, is an easy way to welcome them to your property. Let them know how happy you are that they are calling your house home for a while.

3. Leave some toilet paper in the bathroom

We’ve all been there – it’s the end of a stressful moving day, you’ve finally loaded the last box off the truck and you’re keen to settle in to your new house for the very first night and…there’s no toilet paper and the thought of a trip to the local shop seems too hard. Imagine how friendly supplying a small pack of toilet paper would seem…

4. Food at their fingertips (leave some take-away menus on the kitchen bench)

Not everybody orders from take-away restaurants regularly but on the first night in a new rental, before the pots and pans are even unpacked, imagine how nice it would be to find a pile of menus from local take-away/delivery places nearby.

5. Be responsive

Maintenance issues do occur and, if you stretch your mind back to your own life as someone else’s tenant, you’ll remember how awful it is to be stuck in limbo, while your real estate agent awaits approval to fix that broken cupboard door handle from your hard-to-reach landlord. Don’t be the landlord who’s always unavailable. By responding quickly to maintenance issues, you’ll show that you care about your property – and them – and that might make them care more too.

6. Follow the rules

You have professional responsibilities as a landlord, and there are things you should and should not do. The rules exist for a reason and, just like the way you want your tenant to abide by them, you need to follow them as well. If your property is being professionally-managed by a real estate agent (always recommended), they will make it clear to you about what you need to do – and what you need to let them handle. Your tenant is your customer, so all dealings with them should be professional. The last thing you want is to be the next viral social media sensation – for all the wrong reasons.

7. Be respectful

Yes, it’s your house (or apartment or unit) but it’s their home. Just because you have time to attend to something at a particular time, it might not suit them so remember to respect their time and tenancy – and be flexible for them, rather than rigidly demanding.

Remember – For your own peace of mind and record-keeping, make sure you keep electronic copies of all correspondence between yourself/tenant/real estate agent – your accountant will thank you for it and it will be there in case you need it, should any potential problems occur down the track. Being a great landlord doesn’t have to be tricky – put simply, it’s all about common courtesy, kindness and good manners. For more information on the legalities of being a great landlord, look online for the relevant regulatory body in your state – or ask your real estate agent for up-to-date information about your rights and responsibilities.

If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

So fabric wall details are out…but what’s in? Here’s a glimpse at the latest interior design trends to help you add value and style to your property.



Dark furniture.

Say bye-bye to the blonde-wood and think rich, warm tones for side tables, coffee tables and cabinets. Green is also a colour on the rise and the ideal complement to deep, dark wood tones. Dark green is king and helps create a look that is calm and luxurious.



Pots, tiles and other decorative items – it’s all about the terracotta. Green looks good here too so pair the hues of terracotta with some fresh greenery for a look that is very ‘now’. The effect is one of depth and warmth – a great way to turn a house into a home.   Kick the copper out to make way…



It’s stylish and retro chic – and it adds a warmth and texture that is easy and stylish. The added bonus? It’s great for absorbing noise and softening hard spaces – ideal for open plan living. 


Woven baskets

For the linen hamper or cool storage solutions, woven baskets are the big thing in the year ahead.


Upholstered bedheads

Timber bed-frames are so last year. What’s hot in 2017 is the luxe feel of upholstery on your bedhead – creating a hotel-like feel to your bedroom décor.

Neutral colours work well with any linen design or you can be bold with a colourful style, or rich velvet texture for added ‘wow’.

Remember – whatever trend may be named as ‘hot’ by interior design experts in the know, it’s vital that you still love it for yourself, regardless of what is popular. Nothing dates more than design trends that aren’t really suited to your style. To make your home a place you really love, choose the things that work with your tastes – and your lifestyle. For many, the best way to nod to design trends is in small touches that can be added to our existing décor to add fresh visual appeal in the comfortable home that we’ve come to love.



Homes with nooks and places to retrieve will become more popular as humans react to our increasingly technological lives.

“With an ever-increasing amount of time spent in front of a computer or smartphone screen during the day…there will be a greater desire to create spaces in our lives devoid of digital distraction,” says the team at Nathan + Jac.

“This may not mean listing the 65 inch flat screen on Gumtree, but we will seek to create havens of calm and tranquillity, whether it’s a bedroom or a nook we can escape to, even if it is to lazily scroll our Instagram feeds in peace.”

Relaxed furniture and materials will follow suit, from deep sofas with linen slip covers, to oversized love seats, day beds, Icelandic sheepskins, chunky knit wool rugs and floor cushions.


Jewel tones

While pastel shades of pink and blue are currently having their day in the sun, they will soon be overtaken by jewel tones inspired by metals, space, stars, clouds and the cosmos.

“Metallics, metals, raw-cut quartz, Lucite and opal will add a dash of sparkle and interest,” says the Nathan + Jac team.

“X-ray materials, transparent fabrics, floaty silks and sheers will create a lightness and soft romantic element to this trend, which embodies an optimism for where we have come from and where we are headed.”




Our experts almost unanimously agree that copper and rose gold will be out by 2017.

“As a material, copper is BEAUTIFUL and will always be in style in some way or another,” says the Nathan + Jac team.

“However, the oversaturation of cheap and shiny imitation copper just ends up looking like you’ve tried too hard, and by doing so, you’ve already missed the boat.”

In its place, a more industrial aesthetic is anticipated.

“Warm metals like copper, brass and rose gold will continue to be on trend for autumn/winter 2016, but as we move into summer 2017 you’ll see a shift away from this super polished look,” says Diane Cocksey, Senior Interior Decorator at Freedom.

“I expect you’ll see a more industrial aesthetic, with black steel and burnished metals taking over the home.”



With marble homewares all the rage in the mass-produced homewares market, we can soon expect a sharp decline in interest.

“Marble has had a good run, but it’s time for a change,” Cocksey says.

“Look forward to raw, earthy textures like timber, clay and wicker.”


Quote artworks

After years of popularity, consumers will predictably move away from quote artworks.

“[They’re] so cliché,” says the Zwei interiors team.

“We have all seen the ‘Keep calm and …’ posters and they have had their day,” Macer says.


Fiddle leaf figs

Once a feature of every magazine spread, the fiddle leaf fig will soon be substituted for a new statement indoor plant.

Not only are consumers arguably tired of the fiddle leaf fig’s look (and increasingly frustrated by the high prices and wait periods) it’s also proven difficult to keep alive in southern Australian climates given it’s native to parts of western Africa.

“The staple indoor plant needs to have an update. Move over fiddle leaf figs, the olive tree is coming,” Blomfield says.

Open plan living

Defined living spaces are returning to modern homes as consumers seek more private home layouts.

“As people have now lived with the open plan living areas incorporating kitchen, living, dining and even study areas, they have found problems with acoustics and cooking smells through the space,” Macer says.

“The living, kitchen and dining areas could be located around central courtyard, breaking up the large open space.”


Subway tiles

Modern bathrooms and kitchen commonly feature the humble subway tile due to the affordable price point and its versatile look. However, the proliferation of this look will see its popularity decline.

“We have seen them at our local cafe and basically they’re everywhere,” Macer says.

“A BEAUTIFUL option for a kitchen splashback is a “finger” or “kit-kat” tile. Long and thin, they look great laid in vertical or horizontal rows.”


If you need advice for a home loanbusiness or commercial loanself-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.