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It’s been a long time coming, but, finally, a change has come to the housing market and it’s good news for first-time buyers.

New rules limiting lending to property investors at a time when the market has seen a surge in new apartments, has had a cooling effect and given a boost to those looking to take their first step on the housing ladder.

So if you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge to acquire your first home, now is a really good time to buy. Here’s a little advice to get you off on the right foot:

Be realistic

Compromise is the word that first comes to mind. It’s a very romantic notion, buying your first home and people can get carried away with the ‘dream’ and find themselves coming down to earth with a significant bump when they realise what they can actually afford.

But look at this as exactly what it is – that all-important first step on the property ladder.

Location and lifestyle are key words when purchasing a home, but they must be flexible enough to bend to your budget. Set your sights at what you can afford from the beginning of your search, and you’ll not be disappointed.

Your property will increase in value, you can add value to it with improvements and additions and soon enough you will be ready to trade up to something closer to your dream home.

Do the maths

There are lots of hidden costs to consider as you become a homeowner. On top of your mortgage repayments, you need to think about all the extra bills you’ll face now that you’re not renting (or living with family).

Things like rates, utilities, insurance, maintenance costs, apartments, higher transport costs, fluctuations in the mortgage rate. All of these things will have a negative impact on your finances, and must be factored into the affordability of your desired property.

If you’re buying an apartment on a strata title, it’s imperative that you look into your rights and responsibilities, especially financially.

Do your due diligence

Pest and building reports are expensive. The average house-hunter checks out five different buildings before making a purchase, so the costs can quickly mount up, but don’t be tempted to skimp when a few hundred dollars spent on thoroughly vetting a property before an auction, could save you tears and tens of thousands of dollars in costly repairs down the line.

If you’re buying an apartment on a strata title, it’s imperative that you look into your rights and responsibilities, especially financially. A good conveyancer is worth their weight in gold, checking out complicated strata arrangements, previous or ongoing disputes, issues with the strata fund etc.

Trust the experts

Of course your friends and family will have some valuable advice, but do trust the experts. Do your homework and find professional advisers who will be able to guide you at every step of your property-purchasing journey, from finance through to settlement.

Quiz them on their credentials, get second opinions, ask for client testimonials and references – don’t be afraid to shop around until you’re 100% happy with your choice. A good adviser will have the expertise to help you on your property journey throughout your lifetime.

By surrounding yourself with a team of trusted industry professionals, you can be confident your first bricks-and-mortar investment is built upon a solid foundation.


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