For most people, buying a house is one of the most important decisions they will make in their lifetime. There’s so much to consider, and it’s crucial to make informed decisions at every step along the way. With a plethora of information peppered across the internet, it can be difficult to know what advice is worth listening to. At RE/MAX, our agents can help you through every step of the buying process, cutting through the confusion to provide you with clear advice backed by years of industry experience. As well as understanding the key stages of buying a house, RE/MAX also gives you a comprehensive list of things to consider, tailored to every type of buyer from well-versed investors to first-time home owners.
Steps to Buying a House
1. Understand Your Finances
The first crucial step to undergo in the process of buying a house is establishing a thorough understanding of your financial situation. This will help you know what you can afford to purchase and will help to streamline the rest of the process. RE/MAX agents can advise if any particular grants or government schemes may apply to your situation, such as the First Home Owners Grant, and provide advice on the application process if required.
This is the time to discuss your lending needs with a lender or mortgage broker. You may consider establishing pre-approval on a loan — especially if this is your first home purchase — to make the offer stage much easier and more streamline. Our RE/MAX agents can refer you to a local financial expert who can help you navigate the pre-approval process.
2. Property Search
Prior to heading out to a bunch of open homes, it’s important to sit down and make a list of your requirements. Take the time to think about the crucial elements you’re searching for, as well as other desirable factors that aren’t ‘must-haves’, but would be desirable. It’s imperative to make the distinction between these lists and flesh them out before you start looking. Your RE/MAX agent can help you with this. Your ‘crucial requirements’ list will include all the basics, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, parking, location, size of rooms and lot size. There are often additional ‘must-have’ factors such as capital growth potential and planned infrastructure in the area. Each buyer’s idea of crucial elements will look slightly different and establishing your unique list is key to a successful property search.
3. Placing an Offer
After you’ve found a house that ticks all your boxes, you’ll be required to place an offer on the property. This process varies dramatically from state to state within Australia and our RE/MAX consultants can give you more information about how to place an offer within your state. This step is often the most confusing part of buying a house, and you may find a lot of questions arise at this time. This is where RE/MAX comes in and can help to answer any queries you may have.
Once you’ve finalised your offer, this will then be presented to the seller for consideration. At this stage, further negotiation may be required to reach an agreement, or your first offer may be approved.
After your offer is accepted, there is an interim period between the formal acceptance and settlement. Settlement refers to the time where the legal ownership of the property is transferred to you. This process involves the release of mortgages from the seller’s bank and your bank placing a new mortgage on the property. A solicitor or conveyancer is likely to be involved in this step of the process.
Questions to ask before you buy
While your RE/MAX agent will be able to help you with the specifics of your must-have requirements for your unique property search, these questions are a great place to start.
- How far away from the city do I want to live? Is it important to live close to work or close to good schools?
- Which areas have a lot of infrastructure planned for the future?
- What are the current property trends for the areas where I’m looking at buying?
- Am I searching for a freestanding home, an apartment or a townhouse?
- Would I prefer an older property or a newly built one?
- Am I interested in doing any renovations after purchase?
- How much space do I need?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms does my ideal home have?
- What other features are key for me? A large backyard? A pool? Fencing for a dog?
What do first-time buyers need to know?
For first home buyers, the pre-approval process is widely recommended. Pre-approval, otherwise known as conditional approval, involves having a lender approve a set amount of money you can borrow before you’ve found a property. This helps you establish a comprehensive understanding of your budget and allows you to narrow your search to only properties you can afford. Our agents also recommend getting pre-approval as it’s a great indication to sellers that you’re a serious buyer.
With the advantage of global reach and local expertise, our experienced agents combine local know-how and market data to guide you through each step of the process and help you buy your dream home. Contact your local agent today!