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A Comprehensive Checklist for Home Buyers

October 25, 2023

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When it comes to purchasing a property, there is a multitude of factors to consider. It's crucial to take the time to ensure you've covered all the necessary aspects of the process. To assist you, we've compiled a home buying checklist, emphasizing the essential steps to take before making the big decision. Whether you're sorting out your finances or arranging property inspections, these guidelines will serve as your roadmap.

Selecting the Ideal Location

The first step in your home buying journey is pinpointing the perfect location. This decision can streamline your property search and save you valuable time. Here are some key factors :

  • Proximity to schools, shops, parks, cafes, restaurants, and community amenities.
  • Your preference for urban, suburban, or remote areas.
  • Accessibility to public transport, including bus stops and train stations.
  • Parking options, especially if you own a car.
  • Considerations regarding safety, crime rates, noise levels, and neighborhood demographics.
  • Your personal preference for the atmosphere and vibe of the suburb.
  • Affordability - can you realistically purchase a home in this location?
  • Awareness of any planned developments in the vicinity.
  • Understanding the property values in the area, particularly if you're considering it as an investment.
  • If you're not familiar with the neighborhood, spend time there at different times of the day to get a feel for the area. This will help you determine if it feels like 'home' or if you should explore other options.

    House or Apartment?

    Your choice between a house or an apartment largely depends on your specific circumstances. Here are some considerations:

  • If you have a family and pets, a house with a backyard might be ideal.
  • For individuals or couples, an apartment might be a more maintenance-friendly choice.
  • Property investment goals and performance should influence your decision.
  • Consider the potential resale value of the property if you don't plan to hold it long term.
  • Property Features and Requirements

    Don't be swayed solely by the appearance of a property. Ensure it meets your specific requirements, including:

  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need.
  • Whether the property's layout suits your preferences.
  • Availability of a garage or parking space.
  • The condition and size of the garden or yard.
  • Consideration of ongoing expenses such as council rates and energy bills.
  • Build or Buy

    Deciding between purchasing an established home or building a new one is another important choice. Each option has its pros and cons. Buying an existing home is typically quicker and less stressful, while building allows for customization. However, building might limit your location options and can be costlier.

    Financing Your Home

    Most likely, you'll need a home loan to purchase your property. Before you start, it's essential to:

  • Understand the home buying process.
  • Research various home loans.
  • Save for a deposit and account for stamp duty.
  • Review your financial situation, including credit score, debts, and assets.
  • Consult with a mortgage broker or lender to assess your borrowing capacity.
  • For detailed information on becoming the 'ideal' borrower, refer to our guide.

    Consider Investment Returns

    If you're buying a property as an investment, research the performance of rental properties in the area. Key factors to examine include vacancy rates, rental yields, and property price trends. Keep in mind that while property is generally a stable investment, various factors can influence rental income and capital gains over time.

    Property investors may also be eligible for tax benefits, so understanding the tax implications is essential.

    Secure Home Loan Pre-Approval

    Although not mandatory, home loan pre-approval can simplify your property search. It provides a clear budget, making offers more confident. Additionally, some sellers may favor buyers with pre-approval as it suggests a faster settlement process. Pre-approval typically lasts for 90 days and can often be extended if needed.

    Arrange Building and Pest Inspections

    To avoid unexpected issues after purchase, engage a qualified building inspector. Common issues to check for include cracks in walls, mold, functional aspects like taps and doors, and structural concerns. Hidden problems such as roofing issues or water damage can also be uncovered by an inspector. Don't forget to have a pest inspection done to catch potential pest-related problems.

    Budget for Repairs or Renovations

    If you're considering a property that needs improvement, allocate a budget accordingly. It's essential to consider the cost of repairs or renovations, especially if they are necessary for you to move in. While a fixer-upper can be exciting, a move-in-ready home might better suit your needs.

    Negotiate the Price

    Negotiating with the seller can save you money. If the seller is open to offers, having home loan pre-approval can expedite the process. You can also use identified faults or needed repairs as negotiation leverage.

    Perform a Title Search

    Conduct a title search to ensure the property's legality. Check for liens or encumbrances on the property that could impede your purchase. The process may vary by location, but a conveyancer can assist with this step.

    Engage a Conveyancer

    Given the complexity of buying a home, having a conveyancer is highly recommended. They'll handle property ownership transfer, review the contract of sale, and offer legal guidance throughout the process.

    Secure Home and Contents Insurance

    After purchasing your home, obtaining insurance should be a top priority. It's advisable to research insurance premiums for your specific property type before making the purchase. Different locations and property types may require varying levels of coverage.

    Always review the insurance terms and conditions listed in the product disclosure statement for a clear understanding of your coverage.

    In conclusion, purchasing a home is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. The Everest Home Loans team is here to assist you at every step of your home buying journey. We aim to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Contact us today to get started on your path to homeownership.