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:

  • How much can you afford to spend?
  • Which areas fit your criteria?
  • What size house do you want/need?
  • Is a backyard important?
  • How far from the city can your property be?
  • How important is public transport access?
  • Is proximity to state primary or high schools a critical factor?
  • Do you prefer to buy at auction or through private sale?

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.