Owning a home is as much a part of the culture of Australia as long hot summers, the beach, or the cricket.
But for first home buyers, the process can be a daunting one, with financial, legal and personal hurdles to overcome.
This is why we have put together a simple, no-nonsense guide for you to follow when you to decide take the exciting step of buying your first home.
We have all heard the clichés about the importance of research, but perhaps the most relatable is the example of your local supermarket. If you wander in without a list, you are far more likely to pay too much for a basket of things you did not necessarily need.
The same is true of home ownership.
Before you begin going to inspections, take the time to sit down and work out some key things. These include the price range you can afford, and the characteristics you want from your area (public transport, lifestyle, schools). Once you have done this you can find the suburbs that will meet those needs.
Portals like Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au contain a wealth of suburb information, as does the census data provided by the Australian government.
A Helping Hand
Governments across the nation are ready and willing to help first home buyers. Make sure you check which grants are available to you in your state or territory, as well as the conditions attached to receiving them.
There might be no such thing as a free lunch, but there is certainly some help on the table for first home buyers.
The range varies, but generally, you will need between 5% and 20% of the total value of the loan as a deposit to secure a mortgage. Also, be aware that if you have a deposit of less than 20% of the total cost, your lender will require you to take out mortgage insurance.
This insurance amount is added to the total value of your mortgage, to be repaid later. Other details and terms specific to your lender will be explained to you at your mortgage application interview.
Unless you are an engineer or builder, a building inspection is an absolute must. You would not buy a car without a roadworthy certificate, and the same principles apply to buying a home for your family.
Conveyancing is the name for the legal process of exchanging documents that results in the transfer of the legal title of a property. The contract of sale between you and the seller is the central piece of this process.
Conveyancing lawyers can also offer a range of other services for a fee. Once the cooling off period is complete, your lender can then settle the loan and you will be the proud owner of your new home.
While the list above is not meant to be exhaustive, it provides a resource for you to bookmark and refer back to when you are going through the immensely rewarding process that will result in becoming a home owner.