July 13, 2024


The Intersection of Information and Insight

14 things first-home buyers wish they knew before buying their first property

7 min read

From saving a deposit and organising financing to finding a property and making an offer, buying a property for the first time can be a daunting task, especially in today’s hot property market where prices are rising and good housing stock moves fast.

With 13 interest rate rises over a 19-month period causing some panic for first-home buyers to get into the market at a time when headwinds are so fierce, it can be easy to make some mishaps or wrong moves along the way.

And some of these mistakes can be costly and time-consuming.

But by hearing some of the common experiences of first-home buyers, it’s possible to learn from their mistakes.

Here are 14 things that many first-home buyers wish they knew before buying their first property.

1. You need to focus on your finances first

From saving a deposit to understanding your expenses and working out how much you can borrow.

The first stage of buying a property for first-time buyers should always be to focus on your finances.

There is no point in going shopping for a property, falling in love with one and then trying to get your budget to match.

Work out how much you have or can save, get a good understanding of how much you spend outside of rent costs and calculate what you can borrow… and what price bracket the combination puts you in.

Get your finance pre-approval before you start your property search, so you can confidently make an offer.

2. You should use a broker rather than shop around for a lender.

It’s so important to get the right finance when buying your first home, and having a great mortgage broker can really help.

They will steer you through the maze of lenders and different products and as they are paid by the lender, they do not cost you any money.

If you decide to do it alone, make sure you shop around for the best lender to suit your needs rather than just settling on the first one you come across.

Interest rates and borrowing levels differ vastly, and many lenders have different rules and requirements they apply to their loans – make sure you understand what you’re getting approval for and how it compares to others in the market.

3. You need to decide a budget and stick to it

Once you’ve gone through the process above, sorted your finances and secured your pre-approval you’ll know what budget to stick to.

Many buyers, especially first-time ones, get over excited and let FOMO (fear of missing out) take over, sometimes putting in a bid or offer that is outside their budget.

4. You need to make sure you know your market

Research is the key to understanding the market you want to buy in, and therefore what you can expect to pay.

Don’t jump in with two feet blindly, make sure you’ve backed your decision with enough research to know you’re paying what a property is worth (or under it).

The problem is it takes years to get the right perspective to interpret the research.

That’s why more and more first-home buyers are turning to the home buyer’s agents at Metropole to help them in their property hunt.

Buyers Agent 2

5. Buyer’s agents aren’t just for the rich

Many first-time buyers mistakenly think that buyer’s agents are just for those with cash to splash and millions to spend.

But buyer’s agents can actually help no matter what your budget.

They’re an invaluable and surprisingly accessible resource for all buyers and can provide anything from an end-to-end service to just negotiation, bidding or closing the deal.

The fact that buyer’s agents also have in-depth knowledge of their local market also helps to put you at an advantage, as is the potential to access off-market and exclusive properties.

6. Never fall in love with a property

Buying a first home is different from buying an investment property, and it’s easy to fall head over heels.

But it’s a risky game when emotions get involved, and it could easily lead to you paying more than the property is really worth.

As important as it is to find the right property, it’s also important to ensure your head is making decisions, not your heart, and that you’re able to identify real value and walk away when it no longer aligns with what you want or need.

Because it’s easy to get caught up in superficial things and not look deeper, especially when a property is staged for sale to make it look attractive.

7. The perfect property doesn’t exist

When it comes to finding a property, there will always be some type of trade-off.

You might have your list of requirements and boxes to tick but the reality is you’re very unlikely to find a property that ticks every single one… AND is in your budget.

Understanding from the outset that there will be some sacrifices will help you down the track.

It would help to list your needs and wants in order of importance and focus on ticking the top most important ones off.

Anything else is then a bonus.

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