Home buying experts

Lynda Roberts

Licensed Real Estate Agent
Professionals MV Real Estate

Rebecca Bell

Marketing & Customer Relations
First National Real Estate

Sarah Megginson

Angus Raine

Executive Chairman
Raine & Horne

Rich Harvey

Buyers Agent & CEO
propertybuyer.com.au

Naomi Findlay

Renovation & Interior Design Expert
naomifindlay.com

Miriam Sandkuhler

CEO and Buyers Agent
Property Mavens

Julie O’Donohue

We asked them:

What tips do you have for people starting on their search?

Lynda Roberts

Start with the basics. What is your budget and don’t forget to add in the costs of buying (solicitors, stamp duty, B&P, finance application fees, etc)? Where do you want to be? What sort of home do you want (unit, townhouse, house)? Look at what you need and then add what you want.

Rebecca Bell

Establish where you can afford to buy by looking at the prices being asked for properties available for sale in different suburbs. This will quickly and efficiently provide you with a target list of suburbs to begin focusing on. The key is to get into the market, pay down your mortgage, and establish equity in your home as a basis for future financial options and flexibility. Once you have gained some equity, you’ll be able to think about upgrading to a suburb you would prefer to live in.

Sarah Megginson

Create a definite list of all of the things your property MUST have. Take this list with you when searching for homes. It’s easy to get swept away with features and renovations that you don’t really need.

Create a definite list of all of the things your property MUST have. Take this list with you when searching for homes. It’s easy to get swept away with features and renovations that you don’t really need.

Angus Raine

Location is one aspect where it definitely pays to be flexible. If you can’t afford your preferred suburb, consider a neighbouring postcode – it could be poised to benefit from the price growth of surrounding locations, and that can mean great buying opportunities. Where you start your real estate journey isn’t as important as where you end up.

Rich Harvey

Think about your commute to work, your social network and recreational activities and how close you want to be to these networks. Don’t just focus on the type of property, think carefully about the location. Then jump online and start searching and shortlisting some potential areas and properties.

Naomi Findlay

When searching for your first home, I recommend looking for properties that you have the ability to add value to - even if you don’t plan on renovating for a while. If you invest in a property that you can add value to in the future, you are setting yourself up to be better off financially.

Miriam Sandkuhler

Consider the property’s location – is it close to schools, shops, supermarkets and cafes? Transport – can you walk to a train station, tram or bus stop? Recreation – what leisure and recreation facilities are nearby? Medical – are you near a hospital or medical centres? Ensure that you investigate if there are new developments planned nearby such as road works, apartment blocks or shopping centres.

Julie O’Donohue

At school not many of us embraced research but now it is your best friend. Research all the suburbs your prefer, prices, liveability, schools, public transport, hospitals etc and all the types of houses you like. Then you are in a position to know what suits you and your budget. Use real estate forums to educate yourself. There is loads of information out there; just ask.

What are the most common mistakes that first-time home buyers make?

Lynda Roberts

They need to understand the terminology and process. Everyone has advice so it is important to find someone they can trust and who genuinely knows the process and the pitfalls.

Rebecca Bell

We’ve often been conditioned to purchase things we love or are drawn to rather than what makes sense. Take your time to do your research and calculate not only the expenses in initially purchasing the property but holding it as well can save headaches later.

Sarah Megginson

This probably won’t be your forever home, you’re not looking for perfect. You’re looking for your start. Find the best you can get for your budget and take action!

Angus Raine

Don’t let your property eyes grow wider than what your budget can stomach. To this end, your lender or a mortgage broker can arrange a loan ‘preapproval’. A loan preapproval means you have been approved by a lender for a category of mortgage up to a specific amount. Also, don’t fail to invest time in some family planning with your partner before buying a first home. The last thing you want is a three- bedroom house, if a brood of four is on your agenda.

Rich Harvey

I see many first home buyers have poor negotiation skills with agents. They over-pay at auctions and private treaties and get buyer’s remorse. Think of your home also like an investment. Avoid main roads if you can and think about who will buy the property after you. Buying in high demand areas, which means you can sell the property even when market is in a downturn.

I see many first home buyers have poor negotiation skills with agents. They over-pay at auctions and private treaties and get buyer’s remorse. Think of your home also like an investment.

Naomi Findlay

Borrowing too much - First-home buyers can make the mistake of borrowing to their limit. This can mean you are unable to make improvements to your property or worse, if the unexpected happens, it could mean having to sell your house before you have substantial equity in it.

Miriam Sandkuhler

Not engaging the right experts at the right time. A Buyers Agent provides independent support to source, assess for price and negotiate to buy property. A mortgage broker assists to help you source the best loan with the best terms and rate. A conveyancer checks contracts for errors before buying a property. A building and pest inspector will check for costly defects in the property before buying. An insurance broker will help you source the best insurance after you have bought the property. Buying property is a complex process. Buyers often come unstuck; not with what they know, but with what they don’t know.

Julie O’Donohue

We don’t buy a car without a ‘road worthy inspection’; so do the same for the house. This means getting a building or pest inspection done before you make an offer.

What are some possibly unexpected things that a first-time buyer should plan for?

Lynda Roberts

Some agents take advantage of first home buyers and pressure them into making offers and signing contracts that they don’t really understand. Be ready to stand your ground on price - don’t be pressured into a deal you don’t want and if in doubt ask your solicitor for confirmation.

Rebecca Bell

Previously if you rented a home you would have been able to call your Property Manager and it would be fixed on your behalf. It’s always good to have a separate account that you deposit money into each week to cover these unexpected costs. Depending on the age of your property will alter how frequently you might need to use this account.

Sarah Megginson

Bank fees, valuation fees, building and pest inspections and legal fees are all other costs of buying that you need to be prepared to pay. Work out your budget BEFORE you go shopping so there are no nasty financial surprises along the way.

Angus Raine

The golden rule of home buying is to thoroughly inspect the property, and that means visiting the home at different times, on different days. The bottom line is, the more you get to know a property before you buy, the less likely you are to discover unexpected surprises after you’ve moved in. Organising a pre-purchase pest and building report will give you the complete picture on the health of a home so that you don’t face unexpected repair bills later on.

The golden rule of home buying is to thoroughly inspect the property, and that means visiting the home at different times, on different days. The bottom line is, the more you get to know a property before you buy, the less likely you are to discover unexpected surprises after you’ve moved in.

Rich Harvey

Plan your budget and save for a healthy deposit. Make sure your finance approval is still valid before you go bidding at an auction. Before going to auction, make sure you have done your research and fully understand the local property market. You will need to have looked at several comparable sales to understand what each type of property is worth. Make sure you have a solicitor on standby, ready to review the contract and special conditions. Before settlement, make sure you have the property adequately insured as the bank will also require a certificate of currency to prove it is insured.

Naomi Findlay

Additional costs on top of the property itself. These can include insurance, moving costs, stamp duty and inspection reports. Not to mention, most older properties will require repairs and maintenance (sometimes immediately upon moving in).

Miriam Sandkuhler

Things to consider being flexible on include buying a smaller property in the same location or moving to a neighbouring cheaper suburb to buy the same property type or size. For some buyers it could mean reassessing their options and switching from a home buyer to a “rent vesting” strategy. It’s still possible to invest in the property market with as little as $300,000 so don’t lose hope if you can’t buy your own home. Once a property has been purchased, first time buyers should also plan for a potential settlement delay, either on their side or the vendor’s side. Banks can often cause these delays.

Julie O’Donohue

Everyone has a real estate story. Listen and learn from them. From renters not moving out in time: to services not being connected, to your finance being held up. It all adds to the story of life so embrace the experience. Listen to all the stories, know that something will probably go wrong and just be prepared.

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