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Buying your first home is an important milestone, but is also a very big decision that requires time, patience, research and, of course, money.

Here are some things to do and consider before you make the leap:

Research Grants

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme was introduced in July 2000 to offset the effects of the GST on home ownership. It’s a one-off government-funded payment designed to assist first home buyers, dependent on eligibility. There are other grants available in Australia, such as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and Family Home Guarantee.

Before buying your first home, it would be a good idea to research the available grants in your state and whether or not you are eligible as grant size and eligibility criteria change across different state legislation.

Click here for PRD’s guide for First Home Buyers.

Get Pre-Approval

A home loan pre-approval is when a financial institution gives you an estimate of how much you may be eligible to borrow, provided you meet certain conditions based on your circumstances. The process of getting a pre-approval typically involves applying to your selected lender, who will assess whether you’ll be able to repay a loan.

Gaining pre-approval will be useful while you’re searching for your perfect home, as you’ll understand where you stand with lenders. It may also make you a more appealing buyer as you’ll look ready to proceed with a purchase. Having that pre-approval allows you to shop with confidence and focus on properties you can afford!

Look Before You’re Ready

We get it, shopping for a home can feel very daunting. Even if you’ve got pre-approval and you know what grants you’re going for, you might not feel ready… and that’s ok! Window-shop for properties in areas you’d like to live in, keep an eye on internet listings, and attend auctions and open homes to get a feel for the process. At the end of the day, you don’t want to feel rushed into your first property purchase, so keep to a timeline you’re comfortable with.

We can set you up with customised email alerts so we can let you know every time a new property that suits your requirements has just been listed to the PRD Northern Rivers website.

Consider the Hidden Costs

Extra costs can sneak up on you when you think you’ve thought of everything, so it’s best to understand them beforehand! Things like council rates, stamp duty, additional insurance, conveyancing, loan fees, building and pest inspections, and lenders mortgage insurance are all costs you should look into and be prepared for so there are no surprises along the way.

Stay Open-Minded

Finding the perfect home can be hard, so it’s important to be able to look at a property and distinguish what’s fixable and what’s not. Weigh up what you’re willing to compromise on and what you absolutely need. If the home is in your dream location and you can afford it, don’t let physical imperfections turn you away. At the same time, if you’re going to buy a house that will take some effort to turn into a home, be realistic about what renovations you can afford or do yourself.

Get to Know Your Neighbours

Don’t just focus on the property; look at the surrounding neighbourhood to make sure you aren’t met with some unpleasant surprises down the road. What kind of development plans are in the works for the neighbourhood? What does your street look like at rush hour? What are the zoning laws in the area? Have property values in the neighbourhood been rising or falling?

If you still have questions about buying your first home, or if you’re ready to start hunting for your dream property, give our team of experienced agents a call on 6923 3555.