First home buying hacks you need to know

Buying your first home is usually one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. From saving your deposit to cinching the deal – here’s what you need to do.

Young woman laying on couch with her doggy.

#1 Ditch the FOMO

We know it’s easier said than done, but ditching your Fear of Missing Out can save you thousands each year. Ask yourself these questions before you make a purchase Do you really need that? Why are you paying to go? It’s time to stop wasting money. Every dollar you save brings you closer to moving out on your own  (or finally being free of those pesky monthly rental inspections!).

#2 Be that boring person

It’s time to be the sensible one who doesn’t splurge $30 on Uber Eats for Friday lunch. You’ll say no to after work drinks (unless they’re free of course) and you certainly won’t be hitting up Vogue Online Shopping Night. It won’t be the most exciting time, but you’ll love watching that house deposit grow. BUT you don’t want to totally deprive yourself so it's OK to let loose once in a while! 

#3 Study up

It sounds tedious, but you need to do some research so you can know when to spot a good opportunity. Look at what past homes have sold for and what current homes are receiving in rental income. Drive around potential neighbourhoods and look at factors like lighting, safety, transport, schools and shops. The trick is to do this on different days and times to get a true feel of the neighbourhood. Is parking on Saturday mornings a nightmare? Find out before you buy.

#4 Don’t be charmed by a pretty reno

The saying “ buy the worse home on the best street” still has value. There can still be value in a renovators dream and if you’re buying for the long-term you can do it up over time. But beware of real money pits - it’s always a good idea to get that house inspection before you buy (see tip 5 below!).

#5 Get the help you need from the professionals

Once you’re serious about a place, it’s not a time to be cheap. Spend the money to get a registered builder to inspect the place and give you honest advice. Don’t forget to check for the usual suspects like termites, structural issues and leaky roofs. A few dollars now could save you expensive repairs in the future.

#6 Know your legal stuff

Understand the process of putting in an offer and the legalities that go along with it. Aside from price negotiations, there’s also other terms to consider for example deposit required, special conditions such as work to be done on the property and settlement dates (that’s how long until you can move in). Some contracts are even subject to finance conditions. 

#7 Don’t believe everything the agent says

Finally, while a good real estate agent is worth their weight in gold, ultimately they’re there for one reason: to sell the property. Be friendly but don’t believe everything they say. 

From 1 July 2017 new rules allow eligible first home buyers to start saving a house deposit inside super.  Read more