12 August 2016 Buying your first home - a checklist Congratulations on purchasing your first property and entering the exciting world of home ownership! Whether you made a direct offer to the owner’s agent or bravely bought the property at auction, the hard work isn’t over just yet. With everything from the settlement statement to council and water rates to take into consideration, there are few things to tick off your to-do list before the property is all yours. 1. See if you’re eligible for the First Home Owners Grant in your state or territory One of the perks of being a first time buyer is you may be eligible for some extra help from the Government, depending on the property you’re buying and the state or territory where your new home is located. If you’re eligible, ask your home loan provider to organise the First Home Owners Grant paperwork for you, alongside the home loan. 2. Exchange contracts After your solicitor or conveyancer has gone through the contract with you, made any amendments agreed with the vendor, and you’re happy with going ahead, all you have to do is sign the contract and generally pay a deposit. Keep in mind, once the contracts have been exchanged there is usually a cooling off period. If you bought the property at auction, you will have to pay a 10% deposit on the day of the auction; however this amount is negotiable prior to the auction. 3. Recheck the property on settlement Once you have exchanged contracts and the cooling off period (if there is one) comes to an end, make sure you take the time to visit the property again on the morning of settlement to ensure it is in good nick and nothing has changed to the property since you placed an offer. Before settlement takes place, your solicitor should provide you with a settlement statement with the date of settlement, as well as the funds required. 4. Set up your utilities Home ownership brings with it council rates and other bills such as water rates, which you will have to pay from settlement. So, before you move into your dream home, make sure you contact your utility providers to advise them that you’re the new owner of the property and to set up the services. 5. Ask for a certified copy of owners’ corporation insurance If you’re purchasing an apartment or townhouse, once settlement has taken place and the property is all yours, you will have to start paying strata levies on a quarterly basis. Your home loan provider may require proof that the building is insured, so you should ask the Owners’ Corporation for a certified copy of their insurance. 6. Pay your conveyancer or solicitor Make sure you budget for the conveyancer or solicitor fees that usually sit around the $2,000 mark depending on the property you’re purchasing and the work required. 7. Get the keys to your first home Once the settlement has taken place, your home loan provider will register your deeds with the Land Titles Office. You will then be able to pick up the keys to your first home from the real estate agent and the journey of home ownership truly begins!