Thought I would blog about what I learned during the process of buying our new home. We bought an apartment years ago, but as we were only on Mr TPS's income at the time that limited our options & made things easier!!
- Make a list of what you would like in your property. This should include needs & wants. Mine looked like this:
- Needs: double car garage, more than one toilet, internal garage access (I hate going out in the rain!), well away from a main road, backyard space for the pug
- Wants: 2 living areas, gas kitchen, ensuite, large wardrobe, at least 4 bedrooms, separate laundry
- Some people say that you should limit your search & only look at properties that fit all your criteria - I found the opposite.
- Over 6 months Mr TPS & I looked at a LOT of properties. I found that this gave us a really good idea about what we liked & didn't like. In fact I got so good at looking at what I didn't like, when we walked through the house we bought for the first time I had to look over again as I realised I didn't have any thoughts because there wasn't anything I didn't like!
- Get the inside info: Get all the agents to send you the lists for properties they have in the area. And to let you know when news ones come up. I had 2 agencies sending me the details of new homes as they were listed.
- Get in early: as soon as a home you like comes on the market, ask the agent to see the home before the first open. Houses sell quick & you don't want to miss out.
- Learn to read contracts: We looked at homes that we liked & then received contracts which put us off. Like the garage built over a water easement - all good for now, but what if the local services need to dig up the easement in the future? Bye bye garage.
- Get a conveyancer: When we sent our conveyancer the contract for the home we intended to bid on she got to work offering building inspections as well as negotiating with the vendor's solicitor a smaller deposit on auction day if we were successful, as well as having one of the initial exclusions, included again.
- Get your finance sorted in advance: we used a mortgage broker & pre-approval still took much longer than expected. My sister had a similar experience direct with the bank. It's disappointing looking at homes when you have no idea whether you will be approved or not, so wait until you do.
- Inspections: look at all the small details. Take a separate non-emotionally invested point of view. My parents were fabulous as they would look at things I didn't think of. Dad was great from a structural point of view, Mum would look over all the little things such as cracks in tiles in the bathroom.
- Auction: Try to remain calm. Have a pre-set limit (knowing your pre-approval helps). Discuss prior what your ideal price would be & what your absolute maximum is. Mr TPS & I had agreed to a maximum on the day, but when we first looked at the house I had said that it would probably go for a price that was $20k higher than what we had set. When the auction passed our maximum, he knew without us needing to discuss how high we could go. Also both be there. The guy we were bidding against had his partner on the phone. At one point she hung up on him as she thought the auction was over. It took him some time to get her back on the line & discuss. Luckily (for them, not us) the auctioneer waited.
(This post was written on nightshift - I apologise in advance if it makes no sense!!)