The most common home-buying mistakes (and how to avoid them)

TMAAT April 15, 2016

Don’t use the online search parameters

When searching online for a property, those online search parameters can mean you miss a property that you might love, and fits your requirements exactly. For instance, a home with street parking or packing in a rear lane will not have ‘car space’ listed in its parameters, because it’s not on the title. We also recommend not being too strict with suburb parameters, as often houses in the “next” suburb are only a block or two away from where you’d ideally like to live.

Inspect, inspect, inspect!

Beyond your own initial inspection, it’s important you visit a second time, obtain strata reports, building reports and have professionals perform pest and council inspections. These can be costly, but they are incredibly important and a lawyer assisting you in the purchase will insist on them. This is to ensure the property investment is viable. If you’re buying off the plan, negotiate a very specific contract that includes fixtures, finishes and inclusions to ensure you’re not left in the lurch.

Look beyond the styling

Homes are styled to show them off in their best light, and this can be great in helping you decide where and how furniture might fit into the space, but don’t let it distract you from the actual framework of the house itself. Look critically at the ceilings, kitchen and bathroom fit outs and ensure the entire structure is sturdy and in good condition. The very last thing you want to do is move into a house that is going to require thousands of dollars in renovations to fix something small.

Engage a lawyer

You wouldn’t go to court without a lawyer, so why would you sign away hundreds of thousands of dollars without having a professional look over it first? While it is absolutely imperative that you read the contract from start to finish on your own terms, legal jargon can be confusing (many people will tell you that’s the intention), so get a property lawyer to take a look over your contract to ensure you are completely aware of your obligations, the costs of your mortgage and any privileges you may have.

Shop around for home loans

Avoid jargon and sales pitches and look for the best home loan for your needs. Lenders sometimes design their mortgage rates to look good on paper, but suddenly you’re out of luck when it comes to every other privilege another home loan might offer you – privileges you might need. If you happen to know anyone who works in banking or finance, ask them what they think is important when taking out a loan – you may be surprised what they say when their sales brain is switched off!

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Going in to a property purchase knowing you are pre-approved for a mortgage makes the entire process that little bit easier. A pre-approval means you already know the finances are available to you when you find the perfect property to buy and can give you an edge against other buyers, who might not be so prepared.

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