30 August 2016 6 home buying tips for first time buyers With the frenzy of the spring property season upon us and as agents open the doors to new properties every week, it’s easy for first time buyers to get caught up in the excitement and make a purchase that’s more costly than it should be. These tips are designed to help you secure your first home purchase: 1. Research the local area to see if there are any development, construction or re-zoning projects and how these may impact the future value of the property It is important to know what you are buying and have an informed sense of market values and the property itself, but also consider the bigger picture. Is there any development, construction or re-zoning going on within the immediate area and how will this affect the comfort and value of your home? 2. Have your pre-approved finance ready Working out your budget and sticking to it is important. Make sure you have pre-approved finance in writing and a 10% deposit ready so that so you can make an offer or bid at auction. Your budget should be based on your own affordability and analysis of the property market. Auctions are binding on buyers, so ensure that your finance is ready-to-go. 3. Show them the money! Present the agent with an offer in writing to the seller on a contract of sale and accompany it with a cheque to show you are serious. Remember that if your offer is going to be subject to a building inspection or obtaining finance, then this may not be as desirable to the seller as an unconditional offer from another buyer. 4. Add value to your offer through terms of settlement that appeal to the seller When the home buying market is competitive there are other ways to increase the fire-power of your offer. Apart from the sale price, the ‘value’ of your offer can also be enhanced through the terms, such as the proposed settlement period (e.g. 30, 60, 90 or even 180 days). If the property is vacant, chances are the seller will want a shorter settlement period. If the seller has not found their next home, then a longer settlement will probably be more desirable to them. If you are bidding at auction, you should discuss any variations on the stated settlement terms in advance with the agent. 5. Have someone else bid on your behalf so your emotions don’t get in the way Buying your home can be an emotional experience so it is important not to overbid on property in the heat of the moment. This is where getting someone else to negotiate on your behalf can make all the difference, such as a professional or an experienced family member or friend. This is especially important when there is a lot of competition in the market as home buyers who are emotionally attached to a property can end up bidding over and above what they had planned to. 6. Keep an open mind and consider alternative property options The excitement of searching for and buying a home can quickly turn to frustration when your dream home doesn’t present itself or when someone else buys the property you wanted. It’s essential that you keep an open mind and consider other alternatives. Is it worth settling for a smaller and more affordable property such as a unit or apartment instead of a house? Is it worth moving your search a bit further away from the city where you will face less competition? Getting your foot on to the property ladder is an important first step towards home ownership and you can always upgrade to a different property later on in life.