Are you deciding to buy a home? Then there are many things you should think about regardless of whether you’re a first-home buyer or a veteran investor. Purchasing a property is a significant financial investment – and for most people, it's the most expensive purchase they'll ever make.
You must do your research, ensuring you're making an informed decision and not forgetting anything important. The following handy checklist outlines the things you need to consider before signing up to buy your first house in Australia.
Essential House Buying Checklist
● Check Your Finances
● Check the Location
● What is a Title Search?
● Insurance (Home and Contents)
● Building and Pest Inspection
● Swimming pool inspections
● Check the Home’s Appliances
So, in a nutshell, you need to consider the following:
Check Your Finances
The initial step to save for a deposit is clear; this is usually 20 per cent of the chosen home’s price. If you can come up with a higher deposit, your mortgage will be less, and you will pay less interest on your loan. A higher deposit also means you can buy a better or more expensive home as your borrowing capacity will also be higher. Shop around for your home loan, because the business of lending is competitive in Australia now, although, after the Banking Royal Commission, lenders have possibly tightened up on some loans. Saving for a deposit on a home can take time (between two to five years), depending on your income and circumstances, so start saving early. Additional upfront expenses also come with a home purchase, including:
● Adjustment of council rates
● Conveyancing or solicitor fees
● Home and contents insurance
● Title search
● Lender's application fee
● Mortgage insurance (if required)
● Pest and building inspections
● Possibly: changing the locks
● Removalist fees
● Power connection
● Stamp duty on transfer of title on mortgage
● Valuation fee
Check the Location
One must consider location, location, location! How far away from your new home are the schools? Are you close to public transport links or work (which means lower transport costs)? Do you have great views, sporting grounds and parks? If the answer is yes then consider these all pluses!
The neighbourhood you choose needs to be one you will be happy to live in. Check the proximity of shops, services, and schools, restaurants and hospitals. How far away is the bus stop or railway? Importantly, check with the local council to see if there are any significant developments planned in your chosen location. How noisy is the neighbourhood? You could find there's a good reason the house is inexpensive - there's a massive block of flats planned next door. Also consider if:
● Property prices are rising or falling in the area
● New road construction planned
● The house is close to factories, jails or sewerage works
What is a Title Search?
Title searches give you an official record of a property's history of ownership, making sure the seller has the legal right to sell the home and that there are no encumbrances or liens that could stop you from buying it. Your conveyancer or solicitor will handle this.
Insurance (Home and Contents)
Make sure you find out when you become responsible for insuring your new home. Talk to your agent or solicitor.
In most cases, you will become responsible for the property from 5 pm the next business day after the contract date—this is before settlement day.
You must decide for yourself whether or not to take out home insurance. However, not having home insurance is very risky. Home insurance will cover you for loss or damages to the building and its fixtures. You should also consider taking out contents insurance. If you have a mortgage, your lender can insist that you take out home insurance.
If you buy into a community titles scheme, you still need to insure your property and contents. The body corporate will usually have to take out insurance for any common property.
Building and Pest Inspection
The house needs to be thoroughly inspected by a professional who is licensed and insured for any structural problems, water damage, sagging or cracked walls, rising damp, faulty roofing, asbestos and other factors. This costs about $400 - 500 dollars, but it's well worth the money to make sure the building is safe, and you won't be hit with huge repair bills after you buy. A licensed, insured and qualified pest inspector will need to check for termites, borers etc. and any damage they might have caused.
Swimming Pool Inspections
If you have a swimming pool, you must arrange for a licensed inspector to check that it’s safe, is adequately fenced, and a current “Pool Safety Certificate” is provided prior to settlement. If the seller does not provide one, it will become your responsibility to have one done within 90 days of owning the home after settlement and this may require you to carry out some work in order to obtain one. They will make sure that it follows safety regulations, such as signs and fences, and that they meet construction standards. Inspections usually cost $170–$250 and inspectors must be licensed. If you do decide to buy, check out the swimming pool accessories at Risenn.
Check the Home’s Appliances
All the built-in appliances such as the stove, hot water system, air conditioning etc. should work properly. If the house has an alarm system, electric garage doors, ceiling fans, for instance, they should be functional before you buy the home.
So, in short, you need to consider:
1. Where you want to live
2. The proximity of important facilities
3. Number of rooms
4. A sound building and roof
5. Adequate natural light
6. Signs of termites
7. Planned developments nearby
8. A suitable garden
9. Parking space
10. Flood risk
11. Ongoing costs
12. Property boundaries
13. Need for renovations
At Risenn (rise-en), we are an Australian-owned and operated e-boutique, delivering an extensive range of quality designer furniture, electronics and homewares Australia-wide. We cover many categories including kids toys and commercial products.
Alex Morrison has been a SEO Expert in Melbourne for over 10 years. In this time he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, financial support and health care. As the owner of Integral Media he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.