13 June 2016 Tips for first home buyers to guarantee value for money Purchasing property involves doing your homework and making informed decisions. Arguably, it’s even more critical when it comes to your first home and getting your foot onto the property ladder to set up your future financial and property journey. As a first home buyer it is always advisable to seek expert advice and assistance, but there are some simple steps you can take to ensure you are getting value for money when buying your first home. Assess the potential for future capital growth Location, amenities and space will always underpin the long term potential of a property regardless of its current condition. For example, is there space to add extra bedrooms, what is the proximity to transport, shops, parks and schools? It is also important to do your research and due diligence. Find out whether there are any planned developments within the immediate vicinity that could affect your property value in the long term. Organise a building inspection before purchase to avoid costly repairs Given that, as a first time buyer you may be purchasing older properties in lower price ranges, it is important to realise that costly property repairs may exist as these properties start to show the effects of age. Although a property may present well on the surface, expensive repairs can be uncovered during the inspection period. This is the time though to find out, rather than after you have already purchased the property. Potential expensive repairs include electrical rewiring works, especially necessary to handle modern appliances or heating/cooling upgrades, as well as water pressure and the condition of existing plumbing. These are both compliance based issues around certified safety standards and are non-negotiable. Flooring can also reveal conditions affected by moisture and lack of ventilation which may require extensive work such as re-stumping or replacement of flooring. Other trouble spots could be roofing and building foundations – look for cracks and gaps in the walls as tell-tale signs. Negotiate for extra assistance as a first home buyer Ask for help! Explain your circumstances as a first home buyer and that you seek assistance from the vendor to support the transaction by extending the settlement period, say from 60 days to 90, 120 or even 150 days. This extension will give you time to save more before settlement as well as give you extra time to make arrangements to move in to your new home. It is also important to negotiate at the time of sale for access to the property during the settlement period. If the property needs some rectification, you can arrange for tradespeople to visit and quote on any work required so they will be ready to commence work as soon as you have the keys. It may also be worth considering having someone do the negotiating on your behalf, either a buyer’s advocate or at the least, an experienced friend or relative.