A Checklist For the First-Time Homebuyer

Eriks Draiska
Published on October 4, 2016

A Checklist For the First-Time Homebuyer

Like shopping for anything expensive, shopping for a home requires research and a game plan.

When you have a list of steps to take, the process will be far less perplexing and far more enjoyable.

You’ll also be more successful if you have a strategy, so let’s take a look at some of the initial steps to take to get you into that new home. Tick them off your Buyer Checklist as you complete them.

Get ready to buy a home – check your finances

Yes, working on your finances won’t be the most exciting part of the process, but it just may end up being the most rewarding.

Just as you wouldn’t go car shopping without knowing exactly how much you can afford to spend, neither should you step foot in even one home for sale without understanding where you stand financially.

A good place to start is with your credit report (also called credit score or credit profile. Did you know you have one? or if you haven’t checked it in a while, order your credit report at www.mycreditfile.com.au

Go through the reports and dispute any errors you find. Fixing even one error may significantly impact your credit rating.

Then, go over your budget (if you don’t have one, create one using the downloadable (Excel) template here). Tally up all of your debts and figure out how much money you have coming in every month.

Finally, determine where you can make cuts or how you can bring in more money to set aside for your deposit payment and settlement costs. Your deposit requirement will depend on which lender you use, although variable, typically run between 5 and 10 percent of the loan amount.

Shop for a mortgage

Meeting with a lender is the next important step in the game plan and need to be near the top of your Buyer Checklist. Based on the outcome of your first meeting with a loan officer, you can request a pre-approval letter, which puts you in a strong negotiating position with home sellers.

Lenders want stacks of paperwork, all proving that you can afford a home. Plan on supplying your lender with at least the following:

  • Tax returns, including Statements from your Accountant if you are self-employed
  • Payslips,
  • Bank statements (all pages, including the blank ones)
  • Identification, including your driver’s license

The self-employed and those pursuing low doc loans may be asked for additional documentation.

You may like to write out your Buyer Checklist on paper or add it to an iPad or tablet device.

Make a list of must-haves in your new home

Now that you know how much you can spend on a home, it’s time to make a shopping list, which can include items such as:

  • Location – proximity to public transportation, schools, shopping or whatever is important to you.
  • Neighbourhood must-haves – community pool, security gate, trails, clubhouse, etc. Do you want friendly neighbours or those that keep to themselves? A neighbourhood with or without kids?
  • Architectural style – if you have a particular style in mind, such as Bungalow, Colonial or Victorian, then list that, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need.
  • Interior features – If there is anything you absolutely must have, such as a formal dining room or a chef’s kitchen, make note of it.
  • Exterior – Do you need a large lot or just a small yard? Is a carport sufficient or do you require a garage? Don’t forget to list pool, spa, fencing and any other exterior features you want in your new home.

Finally, organize the list, placing the three most important items at the top. These are your priorities, and you should share them with your real estate agent.

Tip: To determine your priorities, think about what you find intolerable about your current living situation.

For instance, if barking dogs drive you crazy, vow to find a quiet neighbourhood. If you’re sick and tired of mowing the lawn when you’d rather be relaxing, seek a home with low-maintenance landscaping.

Ask a real estate agent

Since you’re now ready to look at homes, you can get help from real estate agent’s from here on as you inspect homes you like.

Remember, however, the agents work for the seller who pays their fee. They have a fiduciary relationship to work on their behalf to get the best price for the property

If you want the services of a dedicated buyer’s agent to work on your behalf, then you’ll have to pay them yourself.

It does not mean the selling agents won’t help you, you just need to remember who they work for.

Use you Buyer Checklist to simplify the process of buying your property.

You can find more ideas here.

Got questions? Email [email protected]

To find out more, you’re welcome to call 08 83961100 to arrange a chat with people that care.
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Thanks for reading
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Like most things in life, these are recommendations only. It is not legal advice, it may or may not suit your own circumstances and you may need to make your own additional enquiries.
Regards Eriks & Team 
Plaza Real Estate 

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