Important tips for buying a home.

Buying a house is likely to be the biggest purchase you ever make, if you’re not buying an Amazon tiny home that is, and often people find that they only discover what questions they should have asked and what things they should have considered after they’ve signed on the dotted line.

Familiarize yourself with key home buying terms, you’ll probably end up talking to estate agents, solicitors, mortgage advisors etc. and all these people deal with home buying on a daily basis so they know the terminology inside and out. Save yourself some awkward conversations by reading up on some common terms beforehand.

If you’ve been searching for properties for more than a few minutes you’ll have seen the phrase “Chain Free” on the property listings, in basic terms this means the sellers aren’t waiting to buy another house whilst selling this one. The reason that being “Chain Free” is such a selling point is that you don’t always know how many people are in your chain and the more people in the chain, the higher the chance of delays.

As part of the mortgage process you’ll be required to have the property valued so the lender knows that the property is actually worth what you’re trying to pay for it, in addition to this most lenders require a property report to make sure the house is insurable and in good condition. Be aware that there are several different types of property reports and the more you pay the more information you’ll get in return. It costs a few hundred dollars more to have a full survey completed and it’s not necessary for the completion of the mortgage but it can stop nasty surprises in the future that may affect your ability to sell down the line. If you need a mortgage broker in Melbourne, Blutin Finance can help you.

When you start looking for a property, estate agents may ask if you have an Agreement in Principle, which is a document from a mortgage lender that states they would probably lend to you based on the minimal information you’ve provided, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll actually be approved for the mortgage though.

Having an AiP shows the estate agent that you’re serious about house hunting and not wasting their time, however you should know that an Agreement in Principle will most likely have an impact on your credit file. Some companies state that they only do ‘soft searches’ or they simply confirm the information you’ve given with the credit reference agency, however there are still some lenders that conduct ‘hard searches’ which have a bigger impact. So it’s best to avoid getting more than one, having an AiP with a company doesn’t tie you into getting a mortgage with them so don’t fret about having to choose your mortgage provider immediately.

Be mindful of all the costs involved in buying a house and keep an eye on them, you’ll need to budget for the valuation, broker fees if you use one, solicitors, moving vans as well as a bunch of others. Do your research and where possible get an itemized bill, solicitors can often make billing mistakes and if you notice after you’ve paid it can take a while to get a refund.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the sellers, there’s almost always room to negotiate on the price of a house, most estate agents can advise you on a good offer that won’t offend the seller. Be mindful that you don’t offer above the asking price just because you’ve fallen in love with the house. Chances are the seller has already inflated the asking price a little with future negotiations in mind. 

When you submit an offer to the seller do so under the proviso that they take the house off the market, many sellers will leave the house up until the contracts are signed just in case someone makes a higher bid. Avoid potential disappointment and stand firm on this issue.

Keep on top of your solicitors, most home buyers will tell you that solicitors aren’t always fast and efficient, don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re paying them for a service and if you feel that the service has been slow or subpar, tell them! If it’s been really slow consider asking for a discount on your final bill

Adam Hansen