A Place to Call Your Own: Smart Strategies for Buying Your First Home
Renting is a reasonable option when you want the flexibility to move around between places but many of us like the idea of being able to put down roots and have somewhere that we can truly call home.
If you aspire to own your own home and get on the property ladder, there are some sensible strategies you can deploy in order to improve your odds of making that dream become a reality.
Here is a look at how to maximise your savings and reach your down payment target, plus tips on getting your mortgage finance sorted, together with a look at some ways to add value to your new home.
Better budgeting can put an end to renting
If you are tired of renting and want to get into home ownership as quickly as possible you are going to have to up your game and look at ways of getting your budgeting down to the last dollar.
It is all too easy to get into some regular spending habits that are damaging your chances of putting away as much spare cash as you can, meaning you won’t hit your savings target as quickly as you would like.
Budgeting might be boring, but it is the key to making the most of the money you earn. Write down a list of everything you spend each month and then work out ways to make sacrifices and savings.
Put the money you save from better budgeting away into a savings account and you will reach your monetary target quicker than you anticipated, allowing you to start looking for a property.
Working out your borrowing power
It makes sense to work out exactly how much you can borrow and what funds you have available to put down as a deposit and spend on renovations or improvements.
If you are contemplating buying a home you will need to have a clear budget in mind that takes account of all the expenses you will face just buying the property and then making it a home.
It can be a good idea to get conditional approval from your lender so that you know how much you can borrow and then start looking around for a property that you are confident you can afford.
It will also help your offer to be taken seriously when the seller or their agent are able to confirm that you have already been approved for mortgage finance.
Choosing a property
You probably have some plans and ambitions regarding the type of property you would like to own and what sort of features you would like to see in your home.
If you are planning on raising a family in your home you will obviously want enough bedrooms in the property to give you the space that you need. You might also want to find out more about the cost of improvements like adding a swimming pool, which would be a great feature to add and very popular with the kids too.
The building inspection will tell you more about your intended purchase and can help you to gauge what work might need doing when you take ownership, and you can also make some preliminary planning inquiries regarding the possibility of adding some new features or extending the property if that is what you have in mind.
The fundamental difference between renting and owning your own place is that you can make these plans and invest in improving the property, as it is now your home.
Lydia Harrison is an expat who works in the real estate industry in Australia. Having first-hand experience she is able to guide other ex-pats on the how’s and what’s of buying property down under.