Your complete guide to buying a home

The property market and housing affordability is tricky to navigate for first home buyers or any home buyer no matter how many times you’ve done it. Keep reading for helpful tips that will make buying a home a smooth and easy process.

The home buying process

It all starts with savings your very first step is to open a savings account with a good interest rate that will reward you for saving. This will not be an everyday account. Consider one that withholds interest if you make a withdrawal to help avoid the spending temptation. A Reward Saver account is a great example.

What to buy

House and land packages are popular with first home buyers and home buyers in general, but you can also buy houses and apartments off the plan. Of course, you can always purchase an established home and renovate it to suit your needs.

Looking around

If you haven’t already, jump online and see what is available. Chat to real estate agents at open houses to gain property market insights. Family and other experienced property buyers can also give you advice on what type of purchase makes sense for you. Keep a record of the open houses you visited to remember what you liked and didn’t like about each one. Keep in mind you can buy a home listed with a real estate agent, but some home owners prefer to sell privately and save on agency fees.

Home loans – what you need to know

There are many different types of home loans available, however your best bet is to compare current mortgage rates and use a home loan repayment calculator to work out how much you can afford to borrow. Speaking to a lender about your different options is a good start to get a grasp on how much you need for a deposit, plus any loan establishment fees. Some financial institutions require a 20% deposit to avoid lender's mortgage insurance. If saving 20% seems daunting, speak to one of our lenders to explore your options. You may consider sharing ownership of the property with a family member, friend or partner. Another key element of the home buying process is finding a good solicitor who will explain the contract of sale. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as it will make buying a home easier in the future.

Do your research on government grants

Depending on eligibility criteria, you could be looking at receiving the First Home Owners grant which is $10,000 towards the cost of your home. There are criteria you need to meet to apply for the grant. Learn more about the NSW first home buyers grant and the criteria here.

Documentation required

You can imagine that if you were to lend a large amount of money to someone, you’d want to know they have the ability to repay the loan, that’s why when you apply for a loan, the lender will ask you for a list of your assets and liabilities. In other words what you own that is of some worth (example a car), your savings and any other loans, store cards, credit cards. They’ll also ask you about your rent, if you have dependents and what your income is. To help with the application process, have your latest bank statements, payslips and be ready to answer the questions above. Being prepared with this information will speed up the process.

Go home shopping with your loan pre-approved

At this point you’ll know how much you can afford to borrow so you can go home shopping confident of your maximum limit and ready to put an offer in. This ensures your dream home won’t slip through your fingers.  

Legal representation

You’ll need a solicitor to go through the terms of the contract and represent you in the sale. The solicitor will also assist in providing the deposit, settling the property and Government fees.

Home Insurance

After you’ve purchased a home and got the keys you’ll need to organise home and contents insurance. The best place to start is with the building. If you're going to undergo renovations, estimate how much it would cost to remove debris and rebuild your home. If you’ve built your home, the cost of the build should be in your building contract, so you’ve got a good idea of how much to insure your home for. The next step is to estimate how much your contents is worth. Figuratively going through each room will help. 

Looking for more home buying advice? Speak to a Horizon Bank lending specialist and let us help you on your journey.

Horizon Bank has a branch network spanning the NSW South Coast and Illawarra. Horizon Bank branch locations: Albion Park, Bega, Bermagui, Berry, Merimbula, Moruya, Nowra, Thirroul, Ulladulla & Wollongong.

The content in this article has been prepared by Horizon Bank for general information only and it is not intended to be professional advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should seek your own legal, accounting, financial or other professional advice where appropriate, and consider the relevant General Terms and Conditions before deciding whether to acquire any products or services offered by Horizon Bank and/or its affiliated partners. We do not recommend any third party products or services referred to in this article unless otherwise stated and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information and we do not endorse any content on those sites. Horizon Credit Union Ltd ABN 66 087 650 173 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 240573 trading as Horizon Bank.