How to tell if you’re ready to buy a home

Are you ready to buy a home? Besides giving up smashed avocado for open houses of a weekend, there are a few ways to tell if you’re serious or just browsing. Read below for some things you’ll realistically address before you take the plunge into home ownership.

Finances really are at the top of this list, as all else including land size, number of bedrooms and location will be guided by this. If your expectations don’t realistically match your budget, don’t become disheartened, but you will need a serious discussion with yourself regarding priorities. Some people choose to remain in their chosen location but buy smaller, while others move further away from their ideal location to acquire more space. Whatever your approach, you will save a lot of time if you can target areas that you can realistically afford AND will actually want to live. (However, it’s fun to sneak in a few dream home inspections here and there to inspire your future home décor, monocles are optional.)

To organise yourself, a number of banks will grant pre-approval if you go through a preliminary process with them or you could enlist the services of a broker. This should be done as a way to assess your current expenses in relation to future repayments if you were to go ahead with a mortgage. Get the figures on what repayments would be now with current interest rates, a few points above, and a larger jump to be on the safe side. If the largest of these figures is utterly unmanageable for you, consider borrowing less or earmark specific expenses you can reduce to cover additional repayments.

You could be the best home builder in Melbourne, but if you aren’t actually visiting sites and checking their zoning, planning and heritage overlays, most likely you’ve placed building or renovating your own home as a ‘someday’ item on your to do list. Similarly, if you come across cheap land for sale in Geelong or another outer Victoria area, look into why it’s cheap – is it zoned for housing or is subdivision impossible due to green wedge restrictions? Therefore, if you have a vague dream of buying a large plot somewhere with the hopes of subdividing one day, you will need to specifically look into the local regulations for each council you are considering purchasing in. A good hint is when an aerial photograph is overlaid with measurements on the Domain or Realestate.com advertisement. Sadly, this will also mean you will probably face off against some deep pocketed developers or investors.

Don’t worry too much if you realise you’re still in the preliminary stages of house buying. For many of us, it’s a lengthy process to undertake, part of which is spent refining your needs vs wants. If you become one of the lucky ones and win an auction on your first try, congratulations! You’ve saved yourself from an overload of open for inspections that feature suspiciously similar rental furniture and strategically placed Aesop bathroom products!

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