7 steps to home ownership for first home buyers Getting a home loan to purchase a property can be a daunting step at any stage of life, but there is something unique about buying your first home that makes a safety-first attitude a good one. To help you take this momentous step, RAMS has put together a handy guide to see you through the process. So may we present... the seven steps to home ownership: 1. Deciding to buyMany Australians are eager to get into their own homes. Plus, the money that is spent repaying a home loan can even be re-accessed down the track if you decide to make use of the equity you have built up in your home. For others, though, preferring to rent (vs buy) is often a lifestyle choice. Either way, making the decision to get off the rental treadmill and into the property market is the first step to take. Then, it’s time to work out how much you can afford to spend. Using a budget planner can help take the guesswork out of the process. 2. Finding the right loanThis can be a crucial part of the buying process. With so many competing products out there, it can be difficult to know where to look. Talking to a home loan specialist is a great place to start. They can help you work out how much you will be able to borrow and find the right loan for your income, budget and circumstance. They can also advise on the practicalities of buying a house with family members or friends, how much you will need for a deposit (including the issue of lender’s mortgage insurance) and whether a deposit bond would work for you. Asking the right questions is crucial in working out which of the myriad home loans is right for you. 3. The real cost of buyingUnfortunately, the only cost involved in buying a house is not the one advertised in the real estate agent’s window. There are also likely to be home loan application fees (and other lender-related fees), plus, because you will need to engage a solicitor, legal fees. In addition, you may have to pay things like stamp duty. On the positive side, government assistance may still be available for FHBs in some States and Territories. Your home loan specialist will be able to advise you. 4. Searching for a new homeFor some, this is the best part of the process. For others, it is the worse. Some people find their dream home in a weekend. Others can spend months looking. Knowing what you are after from your first home can make the search process less painful and it is also not a bad idea to keep in mind that your home can also act as an investment and, hopefully, make you money down the track. 5. Making an offerThe most exciting part – and also the scariest! You’ve found your dream home and you’re desperate to move in. Which means it’s now time to ensure you have formal approval for your home loan and the various inspections carried out. Then, you make your offer. And whether you’re dealing with a private treaty, buying off the plan or bidding at an auction, RAMS has all the tips and advice you need to make the process go smoothly. 6. The buying processHopefully, your offer is accepted (and you don’t get gazumped), then you can get the legal formalities of conveyancor checks, contract exchange, cooling-off period and settlement date out of the way, and then you’re ready for... 7. Moving inThis is the moment you’re been dreaming about. You’ve booked the removalists (or enlisted the help of a small army of willing friends and family members!) and have the boxes packed and ready to go. RAMS even has a moving checklist to make sure you have things covered. Before you know it, you are in your very own first home.