First-time Property Buyer? 7 Essential Things You Need to Know

Financial turmoil has abated, but high prices and a less than ideal economic climate still make it hard for people to gain a foothold in the real estate market. The chill of austerity lingers in the air and complexities of purchasing a property dissuade many would-be owners.

So, are you making your baby steps in the intimidating world of homeownership? Well, this is no cakewalk, but you shouldn’t worry:  many have been to there and enabled others to employ tried and tested tactics and strategies.

See for yourself

Inspection is the key to getting the most bang for your buck. It’s the only way to see what you are really buying and uncover potential red flags and deal breakers. Note that you have to see everything yourself. Yes, in this day and age, we have a slew of computer-generated images and virtual tours. However, I wouldn’t trust them too much. I mean, you cannot be sure whether the windows leak air or if the paint conceals wall cracks just judging by a photo.

Call professionals to your aid

Relying on seasoned professionals is the key to navigating the treacherous waters of first-time property buying. This rule applies to home inspection, but also other stages of deal-making. I am glad to see that buyers in Australia rarely miss a chance to call a trusted pro, such as this local plumber from Sydney. You should also work with an attorney to stay on top of legal requirements that can be hard to grasp.  A real estate agent can also be of great help when it comes to getting a fair price.

A reality check

One of the most common mistakes of first-time homebuyers is biting off more than they can chew. To steer clear of financial woes, you need to separate wants from needs. Make sure the place is not too big or overpriced, with features you don’t really need. Come up with a realistic budget. Factor in expenses such as repairs, deposits, broker fees, decorating, maintenance, utilities. Once you have the total cost, make your call.

The labyrinth of negotiations

Having a negotiating tactic can really give you the upper hand. Try not to give the game away by acting overly excited and eager to purchase. Know that your first offer is likely to be rejected, but don’t fret. Show resolve without making the seller dig in his heels. When presented with a counteroffer, take your time and seek advice. Try to assess how bad a seller wants to close the deal and exploit this to your advantage.  

Financing the purchase

This brings us to another point. Without a financial leg-up from parents, most first-time buyers struggle to make it happen. And in case you can’t rely on that or your savings, a mortgage presents itself as a suitable option.  Just tread carefully here and figure out a way to deal with the mortgage as soon as possible, before a big chunk of your budget is melted. Do the math and keep in mind that if the interest rate goes up slightly, your finances could be impacted significantly.

Looking at the big picture

Apart from the interior and exterior of the home, you have to take a broader look at the surroundings. The location of the home and its neighborhood play a vital role, and for more than one reason too. Don’t hesitate to knock on the doors of neighbors and ask them about their life there. Cruise around and assess the parking and traffic situation. Check if the amenities you are going to need, such as schools, shops and parks are in the vicinity.

The long haul

Set your eyes on the horizon. You might not even have the keys to your first home yet, but it pays off to think in terms of how long you want to stay there and what the resale value could be. Pay close attention to development and infrastructural projects that may raise the price of properties in the area. Recognize the potential of home improvements to boost the value and appeal of your home. There are many examples of homes going from down-market to highly desirable.

Dreams and realities

A stream of first-time property buyers is entering the market, but venturing out on your own is always daunting. In fact, there are many pitfalls to avoid, so do your homework before taking the plunge.

Follow the aforementioned steps to get on the property ladder and enjoy the benefits of homeownership.  

Written by Will Sandford

Will Sandford is a Sydney based entrepreneur with interest in renewable energy sources and more recently became an investor in real estate market. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter.

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