Owning your own home is a dream for many people. No longer do you need to shuffle from one rental property to the next – it’s yours and no one can rudely intrude upon your space or hike up your rent! You can design it how you want, with TVs in the shower, the Best vinyl comfort flooring and lights that switch off when you clap! The notion of owning your own home is firmly entrenched in our society, conjuring up notions of the insert-your-nationality-here Dream.
So what do you need to do before owning your very own home? Here are five steps to get your started.
Think about it carefully
Just take a step back and consider why you are looking to own your own home. Are you doing it simply because everyone else around you is? Or are you looking for a stable place to start a family or seeking to capitalise on some valuable property? If you’re looking to switch jobs in the near future, think twice about buying a home. It may cause a lot of heartache down the track when you want to sell but no one wants to buy!
Plan, plan, plan
It all begins with planning. Take a look at your current finances and see how much you can realistically afford to spend on a home. That includes assessing your income, assets, and current debt level. Do you have enough for a down payment? Also remember that buying a property means you will incur many other costs, not limited to solicitor’s fees, property taxes, and insurance. Talk to an accountant or financial planner – it may be pricey but it’s worth it to have a professional opinion before you fall in love with an unaffordable property.
Obtain a mortgage
Whether you’re looking at house and land packages in Cranbourne or a sweet little home in Arbourlea, chances are you’ll need to get a mortgage. Start by comparing mortgage rates online so you have some indication of average rates. Also take a lot at your local bank and credit union of course. Once you’ve narrowed your search down, you can apply for a pre-approved loan. This then gives you an indication of the maximum amount you can spend for your home. It also shows real estate agents that you mean business as you hunt for a house!
This is the fun part. Make a list of the things you are looking for in your home – proximity to public transport, at least two bathrooms, an open kitchen, a fireplace, a small garden, hardwood floors – list them all out! Now rank them from most to least important. Realistically speaking, you won’t be able to find a property that can meet all of your criteria. Once you have your list, you can assess properties with your priorities in mind rather than getting swayed by particular features that are wants but not needs!
Don’t get discouraged
And finally, don’t get discouraged if your saving seems slow or you can’t your loan approved or you just can’t seem to find the right property. Remember that slow and steady wins the race – many people would never dream to own a home in their lifetime! If you’ve got the right ingredients and the right drive, it might take some time, but there’s no need to despair. Owning your home may signal security by the world’s standards, but it’s surely not worth basing your life or identity on!
Amy Hopkins is a freelance writer who is interested in property and real estate. You’ll often find her flicking through the newspaper dreaming about owning her own home.