New homeowner’s guide to purchasing

Checklist for buying a new home


Buying your first home – or any home after that – can be an exciting time in anyone’s life. It can also be quite stressful and nerve wrecking too. You make such a big purchase decision based on only a handful of viewings. So how to make the most of the few times to do view somewhere to ensure you’re making the most informed decision you can? We’ve put together a little guide to get you started:

  1. Make sure owning a house is the right move for you, right now. So many people will tell you renting is throwing away money. However, if the time isn’t right for you to own your own place, wait until it is.
  2. Speak to a mortgage broker and get a written pre-approval arranged. This will give you a solid idea of how much you can afford. It will also help to show how serious of a buyer you are when the time comes for you to make an offer.
  3. Become a neighbourhood stalker. That’s right, you need to be sure that the area you’re buying in is definitely the area you want to live in. Now, it’s up to you how far you take it but remember a great stake-out involves lots of doughnuts.
  4. Budget like you’ve never budgeted before. Then do it all over again – You need to be completely on top of how much you can afford, every step of the way.
  5. Research like a NASA scientist and start it early. Read websites, newspapers, and magazines with a real estate listing. Note down the homes you’re interested in. See how long they took to sell, how much they sold for, and any changes of asking price in between.
  6. Find the right Real Estate Agent – look for their knowledge of the process, negotiating skills, and how well they know the area. Don’t be afraid to shop around.
  7. If you’re going for a new build, make sure you research the builder. Do they have a good reputation? What’s their after-purchase care like? What warranties to they offer? If you can, it’s a good idea to see if you can talk to people already living in a property that they’ve built.
  8. Shop around and make an offer when you find one you like. Make sure you keep a list (as you’ll be visiting a lot of houses), so you can keep track of your thoughts.
  9. Turn on all the taps – you don’t have to go as far as a bath or shower but you need to know the plumbing is working. Also look at how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water.
  10. Test all the switches – turn everything electrical on and off.
  11. Open all the doors and windows to check that they work properly.
  12. Make sure you look at all of the neighbouring houses as well. You don’t want to be living next to someone who was featured in the last series of ‘Hoarders”.
  13. Get a home inspection – Check for signs of structural damage or things that need fixing. This is something your Real Estate Agent can help you to arrange.
  14. Check for termites but don’t go it alone – call in the professionals to do it.
  15. Check with the council to see whether there’s any planned development nearby. You don’t want to be woken up by the builders next door at 7am for the next year.
  16. Speak to a conveyancer – buying a house can be a minefield of legal documents. A conveyancer can help you through the whole process, ensuring you complete the right paperwork, on time.
  17. Don’t get caught in floodwaters. Check the local council maps to see if it’s on a floodplain.
  18. Get any planned renovations costed, before you buy. It might seem like a dream to buy a fixer-upper but if you budget incorrectly, it could turn into a nightmare.
  19. Pick out curtains…and all the other exciting things that will make any house, your home.
  20. Get a good solicitor who can review the contract and safeguard you.