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The Five Most Costly First Home Buyer Mistakes

By Laura Anderson

Like speaking your first words, graduating university or even retirement, buying your first home is a defining moment of your life and the start of a new and exciting adventure.

Make sure your first steps into the great unknown are in the right direction by avoiding the following costly mistakes.

Overextending Your Finances

Over the final three months of 2016, the average house price in Australia rose by $25,400 to $656,800. This is great news for those who are already scaling the property ladder, but for those left on the ground it makes getting into the market just a little more difficult.

Buyers are borrowing more as a result, First Home Buyers Australia reports. During 2016, the average home loan size in Australia increased by 0.6 per cent – but the state by state changes are more alarming:

  • The average size of NSW first home buyer loans grew by 4 per cent to $365,900,VIC
  • VIC decreased by 1.7 per cent to$315,100,QLD grew by 2.6 per cent to $305,500,
  • QLD grew by 2.6 per cent to $305,500,WA grey by 1.1
  • WA grey by 1.1 per cent to $321,100.Tasmania plummeted by 15.8 per cent to $216,900; and
  • Tasmania plummeted by 15.8 per cent to $216,900; and
  • The ACT average first home loan size decreased by 4.5 per cent.

Skipping The Inspections 

Building inspections and pest inspections are an essential part of this process.
When buying property you should never be naive or adopt a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. The magnitude of this decision necessitates that you don’t take any risks at all, and cover all your bases when it comes time to make a decision.

A building inspection will give you an expert view on the property, alerting you to any issues before you buy. A pest inspection report on the other hand, will let you know if the property has any costly pest problems to resolve. They’re indispensable tools for any property buyer.

These reports could cost around $300 to $1,000 a pop, but if they alert you to issues with the property they could save you 100 times that.

Not Shopping Around

By choosing the first property you like you could miss out on the next one that you absolutely love.
Finding the first property that fits your needs is an incredibly exciting moment. You might imagine yourself walking through the halls, sleeping in the bedroom, or watching TV in the lounge. But it’s important that you don’t let your emotions take over and make a decision before considering all your options.

Use resources like Pricefinder and Residex to find neighbourhoods that might fit your price range, and talk to a local real estate agent you trust to further guide your search.

By choosing the first property you like you could miss out on the next one that you absolutely love.

Going It Alone

The most helpful services available are mortgage brokers and real estate agents.
Young Australians are a self sufficient bunch. At a young age they move out from mum and dad’s and make their way in the world, quickly developing a fierce independence. When it comes to buying a home, however, it’s important to put this aside and get the help that you need.

You wouldn’t go it alone when it comes to your health or your education, so why should you when it comes to your finances and the roof over your head? A First Home Buyers Australia survey found that the most helpful services available are mortgage brokers and real estate agents, with 38 per cent and 25 per cent of votes respectively.

Following far behind were conveyancers and building inspectors. Get the help you need and you can be sure your decision is the right one.

Forgetting About Grants

Free money sounds too good to be true. State first home owners grants are one rare occasion where it’s not. However, for inexplicable reasons first home buyers often buy without the help of home buyer grants, instead relying on their own savings. Don’t make that mistake.

The following are the grant amounts in each state, contact your local authority to begin your application:

  • NSW: new builds only, up to $10,000.
  • VIC: new builds only, between $10,000 and $20,000.
  • QLD: new builds only, up to $20,000 until June 31 and $15,000 afterwards.
  • WA: new builds and substantially renovated homes, up to $10,000.
  • SA: new builds only, up to $15,000.
  • TAS: new builds only, up to $20,000 until June 31 and $10,000 afterwards.

Make the most of the grant in your state and apply early to ensure that you can.

If you manage to avoid the above mistakes and seek the right help, there’s absolutely no reason why your first home can’t be the a step towards something great.

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