7 things you need to know when buying a house

Buying a home is probably the biggest purchase you'll ever make. Buying a house can be a complex and lengthy process, from viewing the house to moving in.

A house is a long-term investment so you want to make sure that you're happy and tick the right boxes along the way so that you don't have any unexpected issues.

Here's some things you need to know when buying a house.

1. Research

It's always important to start off researching the areas you'd like to buy in. Cost can come into this but it's also important to consider the future of the area.

If you're able to, it's always worth driving around the area to get a feel of the environment at different times of the day.

When researching, you can look at online reviews, forums and social media groups for people's personal experience.

Consider things like:

  • Transport options
  • School zones
  • Crime rates
  • Access to amenities
  • Future building plans
  • House prices

It really depends on your budget and personal preferences as to what is a higher priority for you in terms of considerations of the area.

2. Consider your budget and what you can afford long-term

The most obvious factor that determines whether or not you can buy a house is the cost. It's important not to get stuck on just the cost of the house but also any hidden costs, as well as long-term costs.

When you're buying a house, you might need to factor in things like:

  • Stamp duty
  • Lenders mortgage insurance
  • Loan fees
  • Interest rates
  • Conveyancing
  • Building inspections
  • Pest inspections

This is by far not an extensive list, but you can see that you need to assess all costs before figuring out your budget.

There's also the after purchase costs like:

  • Council rates
  • Water rates
  • Maintenance costs
  • Insurance costs

Before you even consider stepping out the door to look at houses, you should research and estimate your costs. This way, you can see how much you realistically can afford and have peace of mind when viewing houses within your price range.

3. Apply for home loan pre-approval

Once you've assessed all the costs and you have a bit of an idea of how much you want to borrow, you can apply for home loan pre-approval.

Home loan pre-approval is basically where a lender has agreed, in principle, to lend you a certain amount of money towards the purchase of your home. The full or final approval at this point has not yet been given but allows you to shop around with a better idea of what house you may be able to afford.

Sometimes different lenders use different terms so you might see pre-approval, conditional approval or approval-in-principle, but they ultimately are much the same.

Getting pre-approval can also help you work out your repayments towards your loan and get you on the right track with managing the ongoing costs of owning your own home.

4. Get the property inspected by pros

Hopefully you took our advice in point 2 and considered the costs with different inspections.

Before you even think about putting in a bid for a house you should consider getting it inspected by independent inspectors.

The building should be checked to make sure that it's structurally sound and will also help you identify any issues that need rectifying immediately or even those that might pop up after you move in.

It's also important to consider getting a pest inspector in to check as well. All of these checks will help make sure you don't end up with any nasty surprises that may cost you more in the long-run.

5. Hire a conveyancer

Once you're happy with everything, are ready to put in a bid and are ready to get the paperwork going, you'll likely need to hire a conveyancer.

A conveyancer helps you with the process of transferring the ownership of the property over to you. They can help make this process much smoother as they are professionals in this field.

They might do things like:

  • Review documentation
  • Act as liaison with the seller
  • Settle the property for you

As part of the documentation review process, they will likely check for things like easements, which is where other organisations or people might have legal access or rights to your land in some way, shape or form. They can also check for covenants, which might restrict your ability to do something as simple as change your fence type.

It may cost you to get a conveyancer, but it's worth the peace of mind knowing your best interests will be at heart in the process.

6. Negotiate

While a property can be advertised at a certain price, like most things in life, there is room to negotiate.

Continue doing your research throughout the process on the area and even property market to see what trends are happening. Supply and demand can change due to many circumstances, for example the pandemic. Consider this in your negotiations!

Your conveyancer may also uncover information that may help your negotiations even more.

Use all avenues of information to inform you and don't forget to always negotiate with confidence.

7. Don't rush

Looking for your forever home or investment property is overwhelming but also an exciting process. Don't let the excitement rush you into a decision though.

Remember to consider long-term and ask yourself:
Is the property right for me long-term?

  • Can I afford this?
  • Does it have the features I need?
  • Does the area work for me?

The list of questions could be endless. Take a step back and make sure you can decide on your next home with your head and heart.

Remember to do your research and work with the professionals when it comes to buying your next home. This could save you from any unexpected issues in future so that you can rest easy in your new home when the time comes.

You can also check out our range of home loans to see what sort of packages and benefits you may get if you bank with us for your next home.

Happy house hunting!