Buying a home, especially your first home, can be a world full of unknowns and overwhelming emotions. While the market may have cooled a little in recent months, buying a property is no less scary and good quality homes are still selling for a premium. That makes it more important than ever to know the local property market and have a buying plan in place.
The right buying strategy is all you need to get a sale right. Simply follow the process outlined below and anyone (first home or not) can achieve buying success.
Before you get started, before you even look at a real estate site, make sure you have fully covered what you want and what your plan will be to get there.
Top Strategies for Buying a Home
- Timing is everything
It’s important to make a decision to buy when it is right for you. Take your personal needs and circumstances into account, not just the current property trends. Look at making a long-term plan for where you want to be in five or seven years time to know if buying right now is in your best interest, and what property type is going to fit those needs.
- Must haves
While there are many nice to have elements in your new home, that’s all they are, nice things. It can be easy to be taken in by these when you are inspecting a property, and miss the more essential points. Cosy extras are usually easy to install yourself down the track, so right now they are not important. The best way to avoid getting starry eyed over luxury extras is to write a list of the things you cannot live without.
These are your not negotiable items that you literally won’t buy unless you have. They might be features of the house itself, like number of bedrooms or space outside or they might be lifestyle related, like proximity to parks, ease of getting to work, or public transport within walking distance. Every person will have a different list so make sure yours is right for you and your lifestyle (keep that 5-7 year life plan on hand).
- Understand your budget
Sit with a mortgage broker to get a solid understanding of what your available funds will be. Armed with these figures you can hone in on the suburbs, property types and land sizes that are within your budget. Make sure you find a match between your budget and your must haves.
- Do your own research
Knowing the current local market is essential. It’s vital that you do your own research for the potential suburbs rather than go off what is published from one source. Cross-reference data and dig up as much evidence as you can and talk to property experts, they have access to a lot of information you can benefit from.
While there is no sure way to know how your investment will pan out over time, there are some key elements you can look at to help you make a solid choice.
- Supply and demand in the area
- Past 12 months of sales for the type of dwelling you are looking for (be specific with the dwelling type including condition, layout, location and land size as this will provide you with a clearer picture on values)
- Local infrastructure and amenities (current & future)
- Ongoing employment opportunities
- Crime rates
And don’t just read about it, get out there and walk the streets, talk to locals and check out the facilities in person.
- Be okay with a practice home
Many people look to buy their forever home straight away, so their expectations are high, sometimes too much so.
In reality, most people will buy more than once in their lifetime so getting it right the very first time isn’t essential or viable. Buying an apartment or smaller home when you are starting out is a realistic and great option. They are more affordable, better suited to a younger lifestyle and make great assets when you go to upgrade to something more family-minded down the track.
Holding out for the ‘perfect’ home might see you missing out, overspending, or creating a lot more stress than required. Use your ‘Must Have’ list as a realistic anchor and not a dream list and you’ll get what you need within your budget. That way you can watch the market in coming years and gather intelligence for your next move down the line.
When you know what you need with certainty before you start looking for properties it gives you the ability to search with clarity and focus. This will take the emotion out of buying a home, speed up your search and cut back on overwhelm, and help you make a decision you will be happy with for years to come.