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Home Buying Checklist

Home buying checklist

Buying a home is one of the most significant decisions any individual or couple can make. Representing a huge financial commitment, it also comes with a lot of emotions from excitement to fear and everything in between. 

One way to reduce the overwhelm and ensure a smooth and successful home-buying experience is to have a comprehensive checklist that you can refer to. 

This guide aims to provide a detailed roadmap for prospective home buyers in Australia, covering every aspect from start to finish so you can feel ready to buy with confidence. 

 

Financial Preparation

Ensuring you are financially ready and in a position to buy is the first step towards becoming a homeowner. Far from simply having some savings set aside and an idea of a lender, there are a few things you should spend time on in this area. 

Establish a Budget

Determine how much you can afford to spend by assessing your current financial situation, including savings, income, and expenses. 

Be sure to factor in additional buying costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, and moving expenses.

When setting your budget, consider the type of property you hope to buy, the location you are hoping for, ideal property features and how negotiable you are on these things. This can help you set a realistic budget and avoid overspending. 

Review Your Financial Health 

Do you have a lot of outstanding debts due to personal loans, credit cards or similar? It is advisable to reduce these as much as possible before pursuing a home loan as these can influence your ability to gain approval. 

Likewise, it is a good idea to check your credit score. Your credit rating will need to be quite high for a lender to consider you for finance. If your score is unexpectedly low, you may need to spend some time repairing it before you can buy a home. 

Research Government Grants and Incentives

Explore available grants and incentives for first-home buyers offered by the Australian government in your state or territory. 

This may include cash towards buying or building your first home, as well as reduced or waived stamp duty. 

Designed to reduce the financial burden associated with purchasing a property, these schemes may also give you some additional wiggle room in your budget. 

Seek Finance Pre-approval

To avoid disappointment regarding how much you can borrow or whether a loan is likely to be approved, we recommend seeking pre-approval for a mortgage through a broker or your chosen lender. 

This will help you to understand your borrowing capacity, ensure you’re comfortable with the required repayments each month and facilitate a much smoother buying process.

While pre-approval is not a guarantee of a loan, it does give a good indication and can allow you to bid at auction or make an offer with confidence. 

 

Property Search & Selection

Once you have your finances sorted, the fun of finding your perfect property can begin. At this stage, you should: 

Define What You Want

Make a list of your must-have features and preferences in a property. This may include decisions about location, size, amenities, and proximity to essential services such as schools, transport, and healthcare facilities.

Determine if any of these are negotiable and be prepared to adjust your expectations if all of your preferences are not achievable within your available budget.  

Research The Market

Spend time thoroughly researching the property market in your desired area taking note of any trends, recent sale prices, and estimated property values in your desired area. 

Social platforms, forums, real estate websites, and professional advice from real estate agents in the area are great ways to gather relevant information.

Attend Open Inspections

It is a good idea to attend a variety of open inspections, even for properties you are not necessarily interested in. 

Doing so allows you to view properties firsthand and evaluate their condition, layout, and suitability. The ability to compare different property types and what they offer also gives good insights into pricing and what is good value. 

Understand The Specifics Of Your Property Type

If you are considering purchasing a strata-managed property such as an apartment or townhouse, obtain a strata report before making an offer.  

This will contain details of its strata regulations, fees, and by-laws governing the property and its common areas. It will also contain a history of repairs, whether there are any debts and how well its funds are managed.

Consider A Buyer’s Agent

Engaging a buyer’s agent to represent your interests, assist in the property search and negotiate on your behalf can be a great way to find the ideal property. 

A buyer’s agent can provide valuable insights and expertise, particularly for first-time buyers and may have access to view properties before they hit the market. 

They are highly adept at sourcing properties that meet your needs and can help to make you aware of suitable areas you had not previously considered.

Create checklists to compare house features

Legal and Administrative Considerations

Once you’ve found the right property and had an offer accepted, you’ll need to get started on the paperwork. This will involve: 

Engaging Conveyancing and Legal Assistance

You must engage a qualified conveyancer or solicitor to handle the legal aspects of the property purchase.

Specially trained to oversee the transfer of property and associated funds, your conveyancer will perform title searches, check for debts against the property, negotiate terms of sale, finalise settlement procedures and more. 

Reviewing The Contract of Sale

In collaboration with your conveyancer, you should carefully read through the contract of sale, ensuring clarity on terms, conditions, and any special clauses such as inclusions or exclusions. 

Your conveyancer can help you make sense of anything unusual or negotiate different terms where necessary. 

Agree On A Settlement Date

Together with the vendor and with the support of your respective solicitors or conveyancers, you’ll need to agree on a settlement date. 

This will ensure all parties involved are ready for the transfer of ownership and payment of funds and that the property is vacated on time. 

Arranging A Building And Pest Inspection

Before settlement, a comprehensive building and pest inspection by a qualified professional should be arranged. 

This step is essential to avoid potential issues and costly repairs post-purchase that may arise due to unknown problems related to the structural integrity of the property or a pest infestation. 

 

Finalising Finances 

Secure Mortgage Approval

As soon as your offer is accepted, you’ll need to make a formal loan application through the same lender that gave you pre-approval. 

While many of the documents provided for pre-approval are the same ones required for the loan application, there may be additional paperwork to organise. 

It is imperative to sort this step out as quickly as possible to avoid holding up the settlement. 

Review Loan Documents

Before signing anything, carefully review the loan documents provided by the lender, including the mortgage contract, terms, interest rates, repayment schedule and if there are any exit fees. 

Be sure to seek clarification on any details you don’t understand as once you’ve signed you’re locked in. 

Arrange Property Valuation

Your lender will likely require a property valuation to ensure the purchase price aligns with the property’s market value.

Your bank or lender most often arranges this on your behalf and costs are covered within your loan application fees. 

 

Settlement And Handover

Conduct Final Inspection

You should always conduct a final inspection of a property before settlement to ensure it’s in the same condition as when you made the offer. 

Any agreed-upon repairs should be done and inclusions in place. This is also a good time to make sure that all fixtures and appliances are working as expected. 

Organise Utilities & Services

Arrange for the set-up or transfer of utility services such as electricity, gas, water, and internet to your name effective from the settlement date.

This can help to avoid delays in connections or the provision of essential services while also avoiding mix-ups with billings. 

Settlement Date

Your solicitor or conveyancer will finalise the purchase of your home. This includes overseeing the transfer of funds to the seller’s account in collaboration with the relevant bank or lender and the updating of titles of ownership.  

Once settlement is confirmed as complete, you can then collect the keys to your new home from the selling agent. 

Celebrate & Move In

Now you can begin to move into your home and celebrate the successful completion of the home-buying process. 

As a last item on your checklist, be sure to update your address with all relevant parties such as your bank and government services should also be advised.

Home buying checklist

Buying Your First Home Is Easier With Stop Renting Perth

Buying a home in Australia can be a complex and at times, challenging experience. However, with a carefully planned approach, it can also be incredibly rewarding and exciting.  

If buying is something you are ready to dive into or you are yet to find the right home, building your dream home is also a great option. 

At Stop Renting Perth, we can support you in building a brand new home in your preferred area – skipping much of the stress that comes with buying an existing home.  

Choose from over 70 home designs and locations all over Perth, giving you the utmost control over the features of your home and ensuring you can take maximum advantage of all available government grants. 

To learn more about how building over buying can give you more choices and less stress, call our team today at 0402 513 446.

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We’re here to help, so let’s get started! it’s time to stop renting and start taking steps towards home ownership.