Tips for buying a home

Get an independent builder's report before you buy
The property you are interested in may look solid and sound, but looks can sometimes be deceptive. Quite often buyers will be swayed by the nice furnishings, ambient music, or the  impressive kitchen, but sometime the really important part of looking at a house is under the surface. Obviously a builder's report will cost you money, but can be money well spent and may even save you from buying a disaster.

Don’t believe everything you are told
99% of people are honest, but just in case the seller of the house you are interested in is in the 1%, don't believe everything you are told. This is where an independent report (see above) can be useful.

Know the property values in the area you are buying
Check out several homes in the same area so that you know whether the house you like is correctly priced or not. There are many websites now where you can simply type the post code in and get recent sales statistics for that area. If you think it is overpriced, then reduce your offer. If you think fairly priced, then give them the asking price.

What does your dream house look like?
One of the first things you should do is to compile a list of the features you are looking for in a house. Bigger kitchen? 4 bedrooms? en-suite?

Then hand this list to your real estate agent and ask him/her to let you know when a property with all of these features comes up in your specified area (see below).


Where do you want your dream house to be?
Is your dream home close to the facilities that you will need and use? schools? shops? public transport? your place of work?

You need to do a practical evaluation of the area, find out how far you will  have to travel to the facilities you will be using often. Total reliance on a car, or isolation, can prove difficult in times of crisis. Check out the facilities in the area and not just the house.

It would probably be worthwhile doing a few practise runs from your intended suburb to your place of work, just to make sure.


Don't go over your budget
Another very worthwhile exercise is to sit down at the start of your search and work out your top price... and no matter what, do not go over it. It's very easy to let you heart rule your head at times like this, but remember that repayments have to be made, and the last thing you want would be to scraping to get by because you over-stretched yourself.

And don't forget to include the other costs involved in purchasing a home; Stamp Duty, Real Estate Agents Fees; Removalists, new furniture etc etc.

Take your time
This may sound obvious, but this is one of the biggest decisions of your life, so don't rush into a purchase. If it doesn't feel right, then hold off until you find a property that does feel right... you'll get there eventually.

Source: Green Publishing