House hunting definitely has its ups and downs. On one hand, it can be extremely exciting. On the other, it can be frustrating and laborious. In all likelihood, it will be a combination of both.
That’s why it’s best to simplify your approach. During the house hunting process, you’ll likely have hundreds of questions. But at this stage, some are more important than others.
To break it down, here are the six questions to ask yourself when hunting for your first home.
- Can I afford to buy a home?
It might sound obvious, but it’s one of the main questions to ask yourself. Buying a home is an expensive process, with many hidden and ongoing costs to think about. Before you start house hunting, it’s important to sit down and figure out what you can and can’t afford. If you can’t afford to buy a home in your ideal location, you may want to consider a good home-buyer strategy such as rentvesting - this way you can invest in your first home but live in your preferred suburb.
Deciding on your price point and buying power requires some planning and forethought. Among other factors, you need to consider how secure your job is, how much savings you have, what your credit history is like, if you can afford extra costs such as stamp duty, and what your home loan repayments are. To help you get on top of your finances, have a chat with your bank, a mortgage broker, financial advisor, or all of the above.
- Should I buy a new or established build?
The answer to this depends on many factors – both financial and personal. On one hand, there are certainly advantages to buying or building a new property. You can create the home you really want, not have to worry about high maintenance costs, and can often apply for a first home owners grant and other government incentives.
Buying an established home has its benefits too. You can ensure you’re paying the right market value, find a house in the location you really want to live in, renovate if need be, enjoy the historical charm of older designs, and often move in sooner. Whichever path you choose, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision.
- Am I missing something?
Even if you’ve found what looks like your dream home, it’s wise to double-check that you’re not missing anything drastic. Make sure you find out why the property is on the market, how long it has been on sale, and if there are any structural issues that haven’t been mentioned. Before making a decision – and for peace of mind – it’s worth obtaining a building report, strata report and pest inspection.
- What is the local area like?
Oftentimes a house is only as good as its surroundings. What are your neighbours like? Is it a noisy street with a lot of traffic? Are there decent primary schools and high schools in the area? What’s the public transport system like? Are there many public amenities nearby? How close are the police and fire stations? The point is – it’s important to look beyond the house, not just what’s in it, as this can make or break your decision.
- What is on my wishlist?
Buying your first home is a huge life event. Naturally, you want to make it count. Ask yourself what features you really want in a home. Maybe you’ve always wanted a backyard big enough for a pool. Perhaps you want a modern kitchen with all the frills? Maybe it’s as simple as having a house that’s close to a public park. Either way, it’s important to do some research and think about the things that will make you happy. Not only will this make the house hunting process easier, it will make it more enjoyable.
- What’s the future hold?
Finally, it’s always important to look ahead – even if you’re completely wrapped up in the excitement of house hunting. Buying property is an investment, so you’ll need to think about both the financial and lifestyle factors that will impact you in years to come. Are there enough rooms in the house to accommodate a family? Are you ready to settle down right now? Do you have plans to work overseas or travel long-term?
While it might sound obvious, you need to ask yourself the simple questions. House hunting is an adventure, and it’s better to be equipped and ready before setting off.