Making the leap from renting to owning a home can seem daunting if you're not sure what it entails. Here's a quick overview of steps you can take to familiarise yourself with the process of buying property in Melbourne, and what you can do to become a first-time homeowner.
Get your savings in order
Buying a home requires saving up for a down payment, which requires a disciplined approach. If you have a rough idea of where you'd like to live and how much the homes you're interested in cost, you can create a general savings target. Setting up an automatic savings transfer each week or month is a great way to build up the money for a deposit without much fuss.
Set a realistic budget
Your home buying budget may not look exactly like your rental budget. There are other costs to cover, from stamp duty and other fees at closing time to unexpected repairs once you're the property owner. Plus, as nearly any prospective homeowner will discover, your dream home and the property that fits your budget might not be the same. Establish a budget you can stick to before you get too far along in the process.
Consider your financing options
There is a lot to learn about home loans, from getting pre-approved to understanding the fine print. Educating yourself on how mortgages work, and getting your questions answered by the professionals can help demystify the process of financing a home. You can also look into grants, incentives and other government-subsidised schemes that are designed to help first-time homebuyers get a foot in the door.
Explore different residential areas
Whether you're looking for a home in the city centre, a Melbourne suburb with a bustling neighbourhood or a quiet, secluded spot, it's important to visit potential locations. You can get a feel for the area, see how close it is to other places of interest and consider how it aligns with your lifestyle needs.
Do the suburbs in your shortlist align with your lifestyle needs?
Put together your wish list
Buying property in Melbourne is a big investment, so you'll want the home you choose to meet certain criteria. Think about how many bedrooms and bathrooms you can afford for your budget. Then, make note of any features that are primary and secondary priorities.
Partner with an experienced real estate agent
You don't have to do it all alone! A real estate agent with experience in the Melbourne market can help you navigate your options and find the perfect property. Share what you've concluded about your ideal location and home features with your agent so they can begin sending you online listings that look like close matches.
Visit properties you're interested in
Your agent will share detailed property listings with you that meet your criteria, but there's nothing like taking in-person tours of places that interest you. Let your agent know which properties you want to see and when. While you're there, pay attention to everything from your immediate impressions down to the details of the home itself. Try to look past existing furnishings and other cosmetic details and consider how you see yourself living in each space.
Start making offers when you're ready
Once you find a property that fits your budget and ticks as many of your wish-list items as possible, work with your real estate agent to create a competitive offer. Just keep in mind that the real estate landscape is always shifting, and you may end up making several offers before one is accepted. But you shouldn't let this detract from your exciting journey toward property ownership!