December 13th, 2016 5:07 AM by Jackie Graves, President
Buying a new home is one of the most daunting
experiences; yet it is one of the biggest milestones in life. It is easy to
feel overwhelmed by this huge life decision and substantial financial
investment. It is a significant commitment and requires careful planning and
cautious choices. Planning is vital to the process, and while
it will help you set your boundaries, it will also show you where you
need to be flexible as you wade through the market.
Once you have made up your mind about the
boxes that a potential property needs to tick, you can determine on which
matters you are willing to be more flexible, and narrow down your options. If
you do your homework, you can avoid the pitfalls and empower yourself for a
successful and prosperous purchase.
Your new property is going to have to fit into
your budget. This is probably the most important thing to consider when buying
a new home. How much are you willing and able to spend? What is your absolute
Don’t waste your time looking at properties
that you can’t afford because realistically you won’t be able to compete with
other buyers and will leave yourself short, considering all the other expenses
you need to cover including lawyers and realtors’ fees, repayments, rates,
strata, living expenses, bills, and ongoing costs. You need to take into
consideration if you will have funds leftover for possible renovations,
furnishings and other improvements.
You also need to factor in the cost of moving
including movers, packing, and cleaning, storage, redirecting mail and
rubbish removal. If you are borrowing from a lending institution, you need to
make sure you are covered if interest rates increase unexpectedly.
You need to decide where you want to live. It
sounds easy enough, but there are a number of things to consider. You may want
to ensure that you live close to where you work, where your children will go to
school, where your family and friends reside, and where you go for shopping and
You may not decide to live in the same suburb
as these needs, but then you should consider your travel and commuting to
places that your life revolves around. Location is extremely important, as it
will determine your quality of life for possibly years to come. You should
consider if the area is familiar to you or if you will embark on a whole new
lifestyle. When looking at properties in the area of your choice, consider the
neighborhood carefully. You may want to introduce yourself to the neighbors or
just observe the comings and goings of the street.
Think about the property’s proximity to main
roads and be aware of the flow of traffic. Take stock of the surrounding area
and the possibility of noise and activity. Are there stadiums or public arenas
nearby? Or perhaps busy pubs and clubs? Is public transport readily available
and is the town under any flight paths?
You may be looking for a vibrant and
fast-paced environment or a quiet and secluded lifestyle. Whatever your
preference, make sure that the dwellings you look at meet your needs.
When buying a new home, you need to think
about the size of the dwelling you require. How many bedrooms are you after? Do
you need a big kitchen and bathroom(s)? What about living areas? Are you the
kind of person who likes to entertain, or do you prefer to eat out?
Do you need a yard or balcony and are you
prepared to put in the maintenance required should you have a large outdoor
space? Are you considering a swimming pool or perhaps you require storage and a
garage? Is there room to renovate and do you need approval?
You may look for a dwelling that has the
potential for a granny flat, extra bedrooms or living areas and can you expand
the kitchen or bathrooms later on? These are all very important questions and
rely on you having the capacity to think a little bit ahead.
A new property needn’t have everything you
need immediately if you can see potential to invest in expanding it later on,
and the property can accommodate that. The size of a dwelling also largely
depends on how many people are going to reside there.
Are you single? A couple? Do you have children
or pets? Will you want to accommodate extended family or friends? Do you want
the potential to house boarders and earn an income? Do you need room for many
belongings or are you a minimalist?
4. Upsizing or downsizing
Buying a new home often means you are needing
more or less space. Whether you are moving in order to expand or to reduce your
living space, you need to consider if you have to get rid of things or buy
more. Both scenarios require planning and foresight in order to make the
transition as seamless and stress free as possible. Are you living with more
people, expanding your family, or will you need room for guests? Or are you
going it alone?
Timing is everything when you are buying a new
home. You need to figure out how much time you have to complete the process and
whether or not you are on a time restriction or not. You may be selling and
buying simultaneously or ending a lease, in which case you need to ensure that
exchanging the keys for both your old and new home happen around the same time.
Financially when you are buying and selling at
the same time, you need to consider whether or not you need a bridging loan,
which will cover you if you purchase a new dwelling and need more time to sell
the old property. It’s all a negotiation between yourself and the other parties
involved and communication is imperative. Reading the fine print of any
agreement or contract is also vital and it’s helpful to have excellent and
experienced legal representation to assist and advise you.
One of the most tiresome activities that you
must endure when buying a new home is going along to open houses to view
properties that are for sale. However it doesn’t have to be something you
suffer through. It can actually be pretty exciting and enjoyable. You have to narrow
down the properties that fit the majority of your requirements and remind
yourself that it is impossible to see everything.
If there are clashes with scheduled viewings
of properties that you are keen to see, you just need to prioritize and see the
most suitable first. Properties will often be open for viewing on more than one
occasion so it isn’t too difficult to see all the dwellings you are keen on.
You also have the option to arrange a private
viewing at a time that is more suitable to you, and most selling agents are
very accommodating. They want more people to see the property to increase
the likelihood of it selling at a good price. They want you there and are more
than happy to stay a little later or meet you at a different time.
If you are buying a property off the plan or
you plan on building, you need to be careful about what you imagine a property
will look like once it is finished and the reality. The positive side is
that you can carefully tailor a dwelling to your requirements and correct or
change things as you go.
The negative is that sometimes the end result
isn’t exactly as you envisaged and changes will incur further costs. It really
depends on you having a strong relationship with your architects and engineers,
particularly if the dwelling is free-standing.
You may have less control and input if the
place is a part of a larger complex, like in the case of a unit or town house.
You will need to ensure you or your legal representatives are in good
communication with the builders and developers.
The purpose of your purchase will determine
many of your decisions. Will you be an owner occupier? Are you flipping
it—buying something you will renovate and improve in order to sell it on for a
profit? Will you purchase the property and then lease it out? Whatever your
purpose, the type and condition of the dwelling you buy and how much work you
are prepared to do to improve it will only be successful if you keep your
intentions in mind and buy accordingly.
Is it a forever home or a transitional one? If
you are looking for a home you will commit to for years to come, the process
may take longer to find the perfect fit. After all, it is not a decision to be
taken lightly and you may have to face a few let downs and disappointments
until all your conditions are met. If it is a temporary arrangement or an
investment, you may have room for more flexibility and may be looking at
something that is good enough as opposed to perfect.
By Diane Koopman - To view the original
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