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 ceiling?
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 leisure.
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.
Featured photo credit: Jennifer C. via flickr.com