The Do's & Dont's for First Home Buyers

The Do's & Dont's for First Home Buyers

You’d have thought given I spend a good portion of my life helping people buy and sell houses that, when I bought my first home, the process would have been pretty easy.  It wasn’t.

While I understood all the legal stuff that went with buying a house, I hadn’t counted on the emotional turmoil that would be involved.  The high of finding your perfect home, closely followed by the low of realising there were 5 other interested parties all with more money than you!    

It got me thinking.  If getting your foot onto the property ladder is stressful enough for someone who understands the in's and out's of buying and selling a property, what on earth must it be like for someone who is new to the process altogether?

So I thought I’d put together a list of 10 things that will help make the process a little less stressful:  

1.  Talk to your Mortgage Broker (early)
If you don’t know exactly how much you’ve got to spend, there’s no point looking.  It’s not a nice feeling being told that you can’t afford what you’ve already set your heart on.  The earlier you speak to your broker, the better.  They are a great source of financial information and advice.

2.  Look at KiwiSaver, First Home Grants and Gifts
As well as your own savings, you can use your KiwiSaver, a Housing New Zealand First Home Grant or a gift from family to put towards the deposit.

3.  Talk to someone who has done it before.
They will be a great source of tips and advice.  

4.  Get to know the Real Estate Agents
Go on, introduce yourself; they won’t bite!  If an agent knows what you’re looking for, they will be able to give you a heads up that a property matching your requirements is coming up for sale (meaning you can beat the crowds).

5.  Don’t sign anything until you have spoken to your lawyer
If you find a property that you like and you’re keen to make an offer, remember, DON’T SIGN AN AGREEMENT UNTIL YOUR LAWYER HAS CHECKED ITOnce you sign an agreement, depending on its terms, there are only limited circumstances in which you can get out of it.

6.  Don’t forget about the costs of buying a house.
Solicitors, valuers, builders, councils - they all charge fees for providing the services you need to buy your house.   Make sure you include these costs in your budget.

7.  Don’t forget about the costs of owning a house.
It costs more to own a house than it does to rent one.  Don’t forget about all the extra costs that accompany home ownership.   Council rates, insurance, ongoing maintenance etc.  will soon start adding up.  

8.  Don’t over stretch yourself.
If you cancel the Netflix subscription, sell one of the cars, eat beans on toast for a year, then yes, you might (just) be able to afford the mortgage repayments on the ‘dream home’ you’ve just seen.  But is it worth it?  There’s no point living in your dream home if you can’t afford to live.  

9.  Make a Will
It’s the last thing on your mind once you’ve moved in, but now you own the most expensive asset of your life, it’s something that you must think about.  

10.  And finally…
Don’t be too disheartened by the ones that get away and don’t let desperation trick you into buying something that you know isn’t right for you.  For every house you miss out on, there will be a bigger, better, even more, fantastic house waiting for you around the corner.  I promise.

This blog article was written with thanks to our guest blogger:  Richard Williams, Director, Billings (Lawyers)

At Stephanie Murray Mortgages we can look at your overall situation and find solutions for you. Even if that does mean staying with your existing bank. We are available at a time and place that suit you for a free no obligation chat.  Contact Us Today

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This information is general information only and must not be relied upon as legal advice.  A disclosure statement is available here.