If you’re in the process of looking for your first home, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Exhilarated and full of excited anticipation… but overwhelmed nonetheless.
Because let’s face it, buying your first home is not something you go into lightly. It’s a massive commitment and just a little bit pricey. I’m not here to outline the obvious though, since I’m sure you’re well aware that buying a house is a slightly bigger undertaking than say, a vintage bottle of wine… although they could both leave you with hearty regrets the day after if you’re not careful.
So here are some invaluable tips to consider when buying your first home that should make your experience a million times easier. Here’s how to do it right.
Sharing is caring
Do you have a trusted friend, sibling or partner in crime who might be interested in homeownership as well? Instead of settling for a property that you might not be so keen on (due to lack of funds), why not team up with an ally? With your powers combined, you could both pool your resources and get yourselves some seriously nice digs. No dodgy suburbs or questionable living quarters for you!
All you need is love
Speaking of partners in crime, if you’re already in a relationship – one that’s going well, that is – you’ve already found the perfect investment partner there is. If you and bae are meant for each other then why not take the plunge and buy yourselves a lovely little abode. That way you can play house all day, every day!
Obviously this isn’t a decision you should make at the drop of a hat, but if things are looking serious, then you might as well cut your single living expenses and share the economical load of owning and home and daily living expenses to boot. Honestly, is there anything sexier than saving money? Don’t answer that.
I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again because I personally believe it’s a highly underrated option for first homebuyers. Although it can be alluring to buy yourself a forever home, you might reconsider when you find out how much cheaper it will be to invest.
When you move into property investment territory, a large portion of associated housing costs that you would normally pay for in full become tax deductible. These include expenses like council rates, insurance fees, interest rates, and the list just goes on. This means that you could cut your costs by up to 40% just by purchasing an investment property instead of a forever home.
The other incentive to rentvesting is that you won’t have to compromise by moving into an area that’s completely dictated by your pay bracket. Instead, rentvesting will allow you more freedom to live where you want but also give you the added opportunity of securing a long term investment.
Think little before you think big
On the topic of investing, if you don’t have a huge sum of money to play around with, it might be worth looking at apartment blocks before you move on to a larger, more expensive property. This will give you the chance to start small, but in a big way. Apartments are becoming ever-more popular with professional singles and young couples who want to remain close to the city centre, so finding yourself a good one can make for an unbelievably good investment opportunity.
You’ll want to be careful when it comes to newly built apartment blocks since in recent years there have been numerous incidents of structural instability due to inadequate building standards. So always get yourself a pre-purchase building inspection to ensure you don’t make a huge mistake by buying a dud property from the get-go.
As a first homebuyer you will often be thought of as easy prey for a good many real estate agents who like to exploit the naivety of first timers. Essentially, you need to be very careful to ensure that you don’t get roped into buying something that you would otherwise never have considered had you known the true state of the property in question. So watch out for slick marketing, sweet-talking, and prices that seem too good to be true. Better yet, have a read of our previous article: 7 Sneaky Lies an Agent Might be Telling You, this way you’ll know exactly what to look out for.
Make sure you’re in it for the long haul
Buying a home is one of the longest financial commitments you could possibly go into, so you need to ensure that you’re thinking long-term, and by long-term I mean 5 years minimum. So let’s do some forward thinking. Are you happy to hold onto the property for the next 10-15 years, or are you simply hoping to make some quick cash by selling it off in the next 2-3 years? If you’re in the latter category, you’ll want to walk away now. Don’t be fooled into thinking that property investment is an easy way to get rich quick. If you’re patient however, then set your timer for a good 8 years and by that time you’ll likely see some return on that investment.
The perils of homebuyer FOMO
For those who don’t know, FOMO stands for “Fear Of Missing Out”, and when it comes to house hunting, FOMO can cause people to make rash decisions and regretful purchases. It’s important when searching for a home that you always keep your goals at the very front of your mind, and never give in to external pressures.
If something doesn’t feel right then stay calm and keep on hunting. Try not to succumb to the tension of a high stress auction by bidding more than you can afford. Don’t give in to a vendor who is trying to negotiate an unfair price for their home. And for goodness sake, take a hard-earned rest from hunting down that perfect property day and night or you’ll very quickly burn out. You need to be on your game when you’re buying your first home, so that means that you need to take care not to over do it.
The best things in life happen organically, so don’t try to force a house into your possession. When the time is right, all the cards will line up nicely and you’ll find what you’ve been looking for. Trust me.