The time to buy a property is not the time to be shy. To get real power in your purchasing ability you need to be asking lots and lots of questions and be fantastically clean on what you want well before you sign the contract on your new home.
Because there is so much to cover we've set this blog out across a few posts, so we can get into the facts you need. Keep an eye out for the follow-up posts, What To Ask When Buying A Home: Part Two, and The 5 Steps To Settling On A Home to get all the news you need to search out, secure, and finalise your home purchase with confidence and leave emotions at the door.
This is such an important message to get out there because so often buyers questions are drowned out in emotion.
There are plenty of emotions you can get caught up in when it comes to a purchase as big as a house or property to build on, including excitement and panic, and also of intimidation that other buyers and the real estate agents representing the home know what they are doing, which can lead to a crippling reaction to zip your lips and just follow orders. As the buyer, even an inexperienced one, you have a voice, and you must speak up, if not, important questions about the home or property can be overlooked, until you find that you have signed off on land you can't build on, caveats that prevent home extensions, or agreeing to pay far more than the property value.
To help keep both your feet firmly planted on the ground as you look over your potential new home, here are some questions you need to get clear answers on:
Why am I buying a property?
The very first question you need to be asking is an internal one. If you are buying because there are government incentives, your family thinks you should, or your partner wants to move forward in your relationship, it might be best to think things over.
Other questions to know the answers to is what type of property you need to fulfil your goals? Are you moving in or using it for investment?
If this is your own home you need to have a checklist for all the features you just can't live without. These items will be a high priority in combining your property shortlist. This will ensure you have a home that serves your lifestyle for years to come.
If you are looking for an investment property the highest priority becomes the price, to ensure you get a great return.
Can I afford it?
This question is not just a matter of can you get a loan and cover the down payment. This is a question of long-term financial commitment that includes being able to make your loan repayments with enough comfort to be able to cover your lifestyle and any emergencies that occur.
In your budget calculations do factor in possible interest rate increases.
Can you afford home and contents insurance, health insurance, can you get your car serviced? Life still needs to go on with your mortgage in place. Aside from the cost of the home itself, you need to factor in immediate costs of moving, possibly new furniture and getting yourself set up, ongoing council rates and any strata fees, something that many new home-owners fail to factor, having used up their savings on the deposit and any tax and fees that come with the property transfer.
Is this what I want?
If your search for a home takes longer than you expected, or you find the competition pretty fierce, it's important to stand your ground and stay with it as long as it takes. Most homebuyers regret when they buy outside of their required location, or they buy a property that doesn't check all their boxes because they just want to get anything and leave the buying process behind. If you can do away with the expectation that it 'should' take any set length of time, it gives you the freedom to wait for your ideal property. While you are looking, your savings are going to be increasing interest and you will be able to keep putting more money away, so it's not a loss to keep going. Ask yourself if this is the actual property you want or the location you need for a functional and happy living space or idea investment return and if not, keep going.
Buying a house is super exciting but can also be stressful and time-consuming that it can make buyers vulnerable to making mediocre choices.
"Spending weekends going to open inspections is challenging and after potentially missing out on a few houses, you might jump at the next one that comes along and find yourself hastily signing a contract," Miraglia warns.
"It's important to strongly consider your decision to sign a contract on a house and make sure that it is the right house for you, not the house that is right now!"