Thursday, June 12, 2014

Buying a House...

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!!)


  1. So in the end did the house you buy meet all of your criteria?
    We had to compromise to get into the suburb that we wanted, but apart from being on a fairly busy road (during peak hour), we are able to renovate the rest to meet our standards. Having looked for almost 1.5 years we decided in the end that the suburb that we lived in was the most important factor for us.

    1. Actually in the end it did. I compromised slightly on the location but ended up finding an area of the suburb I loved just as much as some other places.
      A main road was a no go for us as our apartment was right on one, never again.
      I would've liked a formal dining area as well, & the informal living could be bigger but to be honest we probably don't need it with just the 2 (3 with the pug) of us.
      It also had heaps of light (essential after a fairly dark apartment) & plantation shutters!! Yay!

    2. You are very lucky - especially in this tough housing market.

      Our house is on a street which is one of the main thoroughfares in our suburb to a main road... I sometimes wish it wasn't but so be it. We love our house and have not regretted buying it for even a second (ask me again when we start building our ensuite haha).

      Yes - natural light!!! This was on my must-have list. We were mainly looking at character homes and I found that a lot of them were extremely dark which eliminated many in our search. The house we ended up buying, although dating back to the late 1800s, has large windows hence enough light to fill the rooms through out the day. The back extension (although not my style) has floor to ceiling windows and is bathed in natural light from dusk til dawn.
      I wish my house had more storage though (So important!)... again this is something we can install ourselves eventually.